Main cast: Hailee Steinfeld (Charlie Watson), Dylan O’Brien (B-127/Bumblebee), John Cena (Colonel Jack Burns), Jorge Lendeborg Jr (Memo), Angela Bassett (Shatter), Justin Theroux (Dropkick), John Ortiz (Dr Powell), Jason Drucker (Otis Watson), Pamela Adlon (Sally Watson), Stephen Schneider (Ron), Rory Markham (Agent Jake Adams), and Len Cariou (Hank)
Director: Travis Knight
After the disastrous colon purge known as Transformers: The Last Knight, the people behind the franchise stumbled upon a nice way to course correct by pushing out Bumblee from their collective poopers. This is a prequel – it’s actually the chronologically first ever Transformers movie, which means nobody has to revisit the previous movie ever again, thank goodness.
Basically, the Autobots, being the losers that they are, need to leave Cybertron ASAP, as they are being trounced by the Decepticons. B-127 is sent on a desperate mission to Earth all on his own to set up a base for the other Autobots to arrive, but alas, he crashes right into the site of a training exercise of Sector 7, the secret agency of icky humans whose job is to make sure that there is no extraterrestrial hanky-panky on Earth. Wait, isn’t that the job of the Men in Black? Oh right, that’s a different crappy franchise, my bad. Continuing the theme that military and secret service humans are always morons, Colonel Jack Burns assumes that the robots are coming to destroy everyone and hence, it’s time to attack!
Because B-127 has been told by Optimus Prime that humans are precious and the Earth must be protected at all costs – why, I have no idea, since in these movies, the humans always turn on the Autobots – he is a wimp against the humans and then gets his voice box torn out by the bad Decepticons that have come to take him down. Oh, and he loses his memory too. So yay.
Now, because this is a Transformers movie, it then stops being about the robot and focuses instead on the pointless and pathetic angst of some stupid teenager because, remember, the robots are here to serve as props for an otherwise mediocre Lifetime original movie. We have Charlie Watson, who is eek-eek-eek inside because her daddy died and her mother married another bloke. Who cares about robot wars, the audience is expected instead to share the vapid Charlie’s angst as she stumbles upon B-127, whom she calls Bumblebee – still a better way to get a nickname than how Han Solo got his – and she naturally has an uncle who runs a place that has all the spare parts to fix up Bumblebee.
Meanwhile, Shatter and Dropkick, the bad robots, convince Burns and his moron buddies that they are peacekeepers searching for the evil terrorist B-127, and of course the humans believe these two and so once again, the humans are the bad guys in a movie which has Optimus Prime waxing lyrical about how they must protect humans at all costs. God, no wonder these Autobots are nearly extinct. Their leader is a colossal idiot who cares more about idiots that don’t appreciate the Autobots at all than he does about the very scrap metals that he is supposed to lead.
Anyway, will Bumblebee succeed in helping the Autobots land on Earth? Of course he does, oh please – this is a prequel to movies that were already made, duh.
Bumblebee is a very formulaic movie in this series, to the degree that it is basically the same story all over again, rehashed with cosmetic changes here and there to justify having a new movie poster and some more new toys made in third-world sweatshops and sold at first world prices. The teenage girl, the underdog Autobot, the moron humans, the daddy issues… the only noticeable thing that is missing here is gratuitous cleavage, but that’s likely because Travis Knight is in the director’s seat instead of Michael Bay. Even the fight scenes feel familiar, although this time around I can actually follow which scrap metal is flinging which scrap metal around, so that’s good… I suppose.
In this end, this is a decent movie, at least if I compared it to the turd that is the previous movie in this franchise, but still, I’ve seen everything here already. I suppose it is okay as a course correction movie, but it’s not something that I particularly care about. I’ve watched it, it’s okay, and like Ariana Grande would say, thank you – next.