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Movie Review: 'Bumblebee' Buzzes to Tune of Redemption

by Todd A. Smith

 

(Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures)

 

 

Sweet Redemption 

 

1/2


“Transformers,” you have found redemption in “Bumblebee.”


The iconic franchise slipped a little bit with last year’s lackluster, “Transformers: The Last Knight.”


However, “Bumblebee” combines heart with humor to produce an awesome movie that even those who do not consider themselves “Transformers” zealots will truly enjoy.


In “Bumblebee,” the planet Cybetron has totally fallen.


The Decepticons have decimated the Autobots, and Optimus Prime has instructed his follower Bumblebee (Dylan O’Brien) to retreat to Earth to find out if the planet is suitable for the Autobots to set up shop and regroup.


Optimus Prime wants to fight and not give up.


But he knows that in order to survive, the Autobots have to reassess their resistance before moving forward.


Once on Earth and once the planet is deemed safe, Bumblebee is to inform Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots when they should migrate to their new planet without tipping off the evil Decepticons.


However, once Bumblebee finally reaches Earth he finds it just as dangerous as Cybetron in many respects.


Once he survives his initial initiation into life on Earth, Bumblebee hides in plain site knowing that the Decepticons are hot on his trail and the resistance is relying on him for his survival and success.


Unfortunately, Bumblebee’s introduction to life on Earth causes him to lose his memory, making it virtually impossible for him to communicate with Optimus Prime and the rest of his Autobot brethren.


Just like Bumblebee initially finds it difficult to find his way on Earth, awkward teenager Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) is also struggling to find her way in life as well.


Charlie does not fit in with the cool crowd at school.


She does not socialize with people her own age.


The teenager, who is closing in on her 18th birthday, even feels like an outsider in her own home.


Charlie is a tomboy who likes tinkering around with old cars.


She desperately wants a car for her 18th birthday or at least $500 so that she can fix the car that she is working on.


However, her mother and stepfather are strapped for cash so her birthday gifts leave much to be desired.


Her mother gives the teenager, who constantly sulks around the house, a helmet so that she can ride her moped safely throughout the streets of Brighton Falls, Calif.


And her stepfather gives her a book on the importance of smiling, hoping to change Charlie’s constant negative attitude.


However, the only thing that could possibly change Charlie’s attitude is having a working automobile.


While many of her peers spend time hanging out at the beach and cruising in their luxury vehicles, Charlie spends her time at a pick-a-part and in her own garage under the hood of an automobile.


She is a genius with cars, even knowing more than those that work at the salvage yards.


So on her 18th birthday, the owner of the salvage yard Uncle Hank (Len Cariou) gives her an old yellow Volkswagen Beetle.


The only problem is that the Beetle, which Charlie nicknames Bumblebee, is no ordinary car.


Actually, Bumblebee is really not a car at all.


The “car” is actually a transformer, a creature that Earth had never heard of in 1987 when the movie “Bumblebee” takes place.


When Charlie finds out how special her birthday gift actually is she forms a friendship with it that fills a void that has eaten at her for years.


Charlie lost her father at an early age.


The two shared a special bond with each other, both loving music and working on cars.


The last day that Charlie ever saw her father alive was at one of her diving competitions.


While Charlie won many awards for diving, thinking about the sport brings up too many memories of her father.


Therefore, she abandons the sport and anything that reminds her of the sport.


While her mother and brother have adjusted to life without her father, Charlie has never gotten over her loss until she befriends Bumblebee.


Charlie’s attitude immediately changes when she befriends Bumblebee.


She becomes vibrant and a much happier person.


However, that upbeat attitude changes to fear when Charlie realizes Bumblebee has some secrets that he is hiding.

 

The Decepticons are out for war, and they will not stop until seeing blood from their foes, the Autobots.


Even if the Decepticons have to destroy Earth and all of its humanity just to destroy the Autobots, they will.


Therefore, it is eventually up to Bumblebee and his new human best friend to save the world from utter destruction.


Although the name of the latest film in the “Transformers” franchise is entitled “Bumblebee,” the film could easily be renamed “Charlie” or “Otis.”


Steinfeld and Jason Drucker, who plays Charlie’s baby brother Otis, give the film its personality and charisma.


The siblings also give the film its humor, behaving like the stereotypical brother and sister duo that sometimes gets along and sometimes does not get along.


But the true emotion of “Bumblebee” comes from Charlie and her new car/friend.


The team both find what each other is looking for in a companion and they provide it for each other.


And fans of 1980s music and television will also find what they are looking for in “Bumblebee.”


The film, which takes place in 1987, will have 80s babies bouncing in their seats as they hear songs like “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood and “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” by LL Cool J.


Children who came of age in the 1980s will also get a kick out of the scenes involving the popular sitcom, “Alf.”


Do not worry, “Bumblebee” has music for Baby Boomers too with classics from artists like Sam Cooke included in the playlist.


Therefore, “Bumblebee” has to find its way into everyone’s movie playlist this holiday season.


December 2018 will go down as a redemption period for several established Hollywood brands.


DC Comics continues to rebuild its reputation with superhero movie fans with the successful “Aquaman.”

 

Likewise, “Transformers” fans will rejoice that total redemption is realized in the form of a bright yellow Volkswagen Beetle.



REGAL RATINGS

FOUR CROWNS=EXCELLENT

THREE CROWNS=GOOD

TWO CROWNS=AVERAGE

ONE CROWN=POOR

This article was published on Friday 21 December, 2018.
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