Bumblebee

Old blue eyes worked his magic on his human co-star
Verdict: 
7/10 - Cheesy, funny and with a banging soundtrack, Bumblebee is an enjoyable way to spend some downtime this festive season.
Release Date: 
Monday, December 24, 2018
Written by: 

This origins story explains how and why the Transformers chose Earth as their home.

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Opening with a mighty showdown on Cybertron, we see Autobots hero Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) battle to save the resistance against the evil Decepticons by sending Bumblebee (Dylan O'Brien) to earth to hide out while war rages on at home.

Flash forward and we meet music-loving loner Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) as she approaches her 18th birthday. Still mourning the death of her dad, the sad teen, who lives with her cash-strapped mum Sally (Pamela Adlon), annoying brother Otis (Jason Drucker) and her mum's boyfriend Ron (Stephen Schneider), has little to celebrate. Stuck in a dead-end summer job with no friends, Charlie lives for a car project she started with her dad, and puts all of her efforts into repairing the motor so she can finally have her own set of wheels.

Scavenging around at a local scrap yard, run by a bristly yet kindly old man, for cheap car parts, Charlie discovers an abandoned yellow VW Beetle that she manages to get up and running with her impressive mechanic skills.

Chuffed with the clapped-out old banger, the teenager takes the car home to clean up, but soon discovers there's more than meets the eye with her sweet new ride.

Transforming into the mute Bumblebee, a name Charlie gives the metal beast, the pair form an unlikely kinship which gives them something they both desperately need - Charlie a friend and Bumblebee an ally on this strange new planet he now inhabits.

As their friendship blossoms, trouble is brewing elsewhere in America with the arrival of Decepticon baddies Shatter (Angela Bassett) and Dropkick (Justin Theroux), who manage to sweet talk gullible government agent Powell (John Ortiz), against the better judgement of hardened Agent Burns (John Cena), into using U.S. technology so they can track down 'enemy' Bumblebee.

It's left to Charlie, her neighbour Memo (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) and Bumblebee, a trio who have literally just met, to save the planet against total destruction. Can they do it? Well, if you've seen the other Transformers films you'll know - but that doesn't ruin the fun!

At no point during the 113-minute runtime does it feel like director Travis Knight, taking over from Transformers stalwart Michael Bay, is trying to milk the franchise for everything it's worth - in fact, Bumblebee is a breath of fresh air and a welcome addition to the film series.

While cheesy in places (a lot of places), Bumblebee is also really funny, and is an enjoyable ride for both adults and children. Oscar-nominated Steinfeld is great as our heroine, and is a much-needed change from the pin-up actresses previously cast in the films.

The '80s setting is also a joy, with Knight playfully hammering home the era to cinemagoers with the inclusions of a framed photo of then-President Ronald Reagan, a laugh out loud Breakfast Club scene and a soundtrack which features Duran Duran, The Smiths (another LOL moment) and Steve Winwood's 1986 summer anthem Higher Love.

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