Film Review: Bumblebee

by Julia DeKorte | 31 Aug 2023

Book Reviews

Bumblebee (2018), the spinoff prequel to Transformers (2007) was directed by Travis Knight and written by Christina Hodson. Starring Dylan O’Brien as Bumblebee, Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie, and John Cena as colonel Jack Burns, the sci-fi action film explores themes of family, friendship, and grief, all while maintaining a captivating, humorous story. Bumblenee is sent by Optimus Prime to Earth from Cybertron, where the Autobots are fighting a losing battle to the Decepticons. Unfortunately, Bumblebee’s arrival is witnessed by Colonel Jack Burns and is immediately under attack. After being damaged by Burns’ crew, he turns into a VW Beetle, the form in which he is discovered in a junkyard by Charlie, years later.


Charlie gets Bumblebee’s engine up and running, accidentally letting the Decepticons know of his location. While Charlie and Bumblebee form an unlikely friendship, the Decepticons are hunting him down, this time with the help of Jack Burns and his crew, who are lead to believe that Bumblebee is the bad guy.


Charlie is overcome with grief over her father, who passed away not too long ago. She feels disconnected from her family, doesn’t have any friends, and quit the dive team, where she used to excel in competitions. Meanwhile, young, sweet, loyal Bumblebee’s memory is not what it used to be, his voice box is destroyed, and he has no idea where the rest of the Autobots are, or if they’re okay. The two come to depend on one another, coaxing one another through their individual challenges and protecting one another from different enemies.


In a fierce battle with many different characters involved, it’s unknown who will come out on top, and if Charlie and Bumblebee will be able to stop the Decepticons from calling their army to Earth to destroy the human race before it’s too late.


Bumblebee was very well received by fans, with many applauding Steinfeld’s performance as one of the best things about the film. Variety called the film a “quieter, more character-driven Transformers origin story” and explained that “Bumblebee is basically the movie that fans of the 1980s animated series wanted all along.” Entertainment Weekly agreed, praising Knight for creating a film that “feels both familiar and somehow fresh.”


Overall, Bumblebee was a heartwarming, entertaining, and action-packed movie that touched on some very real emotions. And yet, through the adventure, epic fight scenes, and well-timed comedic lines, those real emotions seemed possible to work through, making Bumblebee a successful escapist film. For fans of Transformers or simply action movie fans, Bumblebee is the perfect watch for anyone.

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