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Movie Review: “Bumblebee”


Runtime: 114 mins

Release Date: December 21, 2018

Directed By: Travis Knight

Starring: Hailee Steinfeld

               John Cena

               Jorge Lendeborg Jr.

               Pamela Adlon

“Bumblebee” is a movie I have seen a hundred times before. It is a movie you have seen a hundred times before. Anyone who has seen “E.T” or “The Iron Giant” has seen “Bumblebee.” The story of a child who comes across some kind of supernatural creature, keeps it as a pet, hides it from their parents, later has some kind of government force looking to take away the creature, which leads to the inevitable parting of ways is among the most overused and stale plots in children’s and family films.

“Bumblebee” does little to set itself apart in this regard. It also does not help that the entire concept of Transformers as alien robots somehow made up of parts manufactured on Earth, although it made for an extremely creative line of toys, is inherently nonsensical. I just do not have the nostalgia for Transformers, which would make that a charming recreation of a childhood passion rather than incredibly distracting.

However, director Travis Knight (“Kubo and the Two Strings”) does have those nostalgic feelings for the Transformers franchise and the character of Bumblebee in particular. His passion is clear and this automatically makes the film leagues better than any of the incomprehensible cash-grabs in the mainline Transformers series, directed by Michael Bay.

This is partly because the characters in “Bumblebee” (as simplistic as they are) feel more real and likable than any character from the previous films in the series. At least, you can easily understand their motivations.

Far and away the best aspect of this movie is the character animations for Bumblebee. Knight utilizes his background in animation to create a robot that feels more human than any of the actual humans in this movie. This is done almost exclusively through his eyes, as the character loses the ability to speak in the opening scene of the film.

Though I did not enjoy this movie very much at all, I have a feeling that fans of the Transformers franchise let down by the previous entries in the series will leave the theater satisfied.

Drew Eckhart is a sophomore history and pre-law major from Edmond, OK. He has loved movies for as long as he can remember but thinks his passion really began when he watched “The Dark Knight” for the first time in theaters. His favorite type of movie blends comedy and drama seamlessly, and he loves great action films. In Drew’s free time, he enjoys reading and playing video games, as well as watching TV and movies. His favorite TV show is “BoJack Horseman” and his favorite movie is “Whiplash.”

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