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Bumblebee

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

China, United States

2018

1h 54m

Director Travis Knight

Starring Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Jason Ian Drucker

Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction

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On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small California beach town. Charlie, on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary yellow VW bug.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

80

Empire by James Dyer

An impassioned ode to both the toys and their era, this, at last, is the Transformers movie we’ve been waiting for.
70

Los Angeles Times by Justin Chang

The ending packs a lovely surprise, not because you don’t see it coming, but because for once you’re not simply grateful that it’s arrived.
70

The Hollywood Reporter by Justin Lowe

The selection of Oscar-nominated animated feature film director Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) to helm the prequel turns out to be spot-on, as he exhibits an instinctual sense for the film’s requisite action quotient while attentively crafting the central characters’ emotional arcs.
80

Total Film by Kevin Harley

Despite the odd awkward tonal gear shift, Knight’s origin story makes refreshingly light work of its uphill climb, fuelled by wit and warmth. And – crucially – with better songs on the retro-tape deck.
83

IndieWire by Liz Shannon Miller

What Bumblebee does best is remember that this is a franchise for the young, and embrace that fact without any shame while also still delivering on the action. There’s no self-importance, no grafting of ultra-patriotism and too-dense mythology onto what should be a simple narrative.
70

Screen Daily by Tim Grierson

Director Travis Knight does his best to balance clattering spectacle with a modest girl-and-her-robot tale. He’s assisted mightily by Hailee Steinfeld, who infuses this uneven action film with significant soul.
81

TheWrap by William Bibbiani

Bumblebee is, again and easily, the best “Transformers” movie. Heck, it’s probably the only genuinely good “Transformers” movie, with nary a caveat to be found. But it’s also a lively and earnest 1980s nostalgia trip, made with affection for the era and its characters and its soundtracks and its storytelling styles and, yes, even its toys.

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