The Bay Transformers films suck. They suck hard, like, would form a seal around something hard, or pull you through a small opening hard. Managing to be worse each time, the nadir for me was the complete botching of Grimlock. I haven’t even attempted to watch the fifth film. A total clusterfuck of cobbled together, nonsensical stories, and characters you couldn’t give a toss about, the series is not worth your time.
Well thank the AllSpark, because Bumblebee shows us exactly how good a Transformers film can be when it’s treated correctly. Full of emotion and heart, it’s so much better than anything before that I hope the previous films are ignored entirely and a new series kicks off from here.
The 1980’s permeates every facet of the film, from the designs, to the story itself. It feels very much in the vein of E.T. or Flight of the Navigator. Kids meet aliens, bonds are formed, and militaries are dumb. Bumblebee mixes 80’s storytelling with up to date technology in entertaining fashion.
Hayley Steinfeld is beautifully bullish and charming as someone trying to find her place in the world. The real surprise, which isn’t really when you think about it, is John Cena, perfectly cast as government agent. But the biggest positive is the G1 feel of the bots. From the initial battle on Cybertron – essentially an old TF fans wet dream – to their earth based designs, the characters finally look as they should. Each is easily recognisable, carrying far more of their original design. This has to be the design style moving forward; keeping the mechanical intricacy but giving them recognisable shapes and silhouettes.
Bumblebee doesn’t break any new ground, but it’s finally the film this franchise deserves. Action that can actually be followed is second to relationships. Rather than pummel you into numbness, it actually makes you feel.
There’s hope for Grimlock yet.