An impassioned ode to both the toys and their era, this, at last, is the Transformers movie we’ve been waiting for.
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The Transformers franchise gets a much needed tuneup in Bumblebee.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bumblebee is a total delight.
As a toy-advert movie full of artistry and heart, it’s as slyly progressive as it is shamelessly nostalgic.
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.
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.