Since the trailers for Bumblebee last year, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this movie’s release at the cinema. One, because I love the Transformer movies and two because Bumblebee has been my main man bot from the start and now they’ve made a movie about him! Yay!
Can I say yay at 48?
The Autobots and Decepticons have been around since the 1980s, so most of us have heard of them, but for those who have been living under rocks for the last 32 years here’s some info..
Transformers came into being in 1984 as an American/Japanese transforming toy with the good guys (Autobots) against the bad guys (Decepticons). Later the franchise expanded to include comics, animation, video games and movies – of which Bumblebee is the sixth (and best) installment.
Transformers the movie was more successful for its fantastic effects than the acting, but subsequent movies haven’t been able to equal or better the original – until now.
Bumblebee – The Plot (ish)
On Cybertron, the Autobot resistence, led by magnificent Optimus Prime, are having their bots kicked by the Decepticons in the civil war. As Optimus and Co prepare to leave the planet, a Decepticon force led by Soundwave, Shockwave and Starscream, intercept them leaving Optimus no choice but to send B-127 (aka Bumblebee) alone to Earth in order to find a base where the Autobots can regroup.
B-127 crash lands in California where he unfortunately disrupts a training exercise by Sector 27 who believe him to be hostile and so they attack – driving him into a forest where Decepticon, Blitzwing, gives him a bot-whooping when he refuses to reveal Optimus Prime’s location. Things look bad for B-127 and seconds before his circuits fizzle out, he scans a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle and transforms accordingly – ending up in a scrap-yard.
The scrap-yard belongs to 18 year old Charlie Watson’s uncle who gives her the car as a birthday present and she takes the battered old Beetle back home and goes to work on fixing him, but not before she unknowingly activates a homing signal (oops) that is then detected by Decepticons, Shatter and Dropkick, who head to Earth and dupe highly intelligent Sector 27 into helping them find and capture B-127 who they claim is a fugitive. Sector 27 decide that the Decepticons (clue is in the name) are to be trusted? Needless to say that, once again, Earth is in danger.
Female protagonist, Charlie, is a tomboy who spends her spare time lying under cars. She’s moody. She hates her family and her shit job. She’s a teenager, innit? Tinkering with cars and playing music keeps her sane as she struggles to find her way in a world without her beloved father in it. I can identify with Charlie, except that I lost my dad when I was 26. Then again, I’m 30 years older than Charlie and I can’t change my own tyre, let alone fix cars. But I do love The Smiths.
B-127 (aka Bumblebee)
When it comes to Bumblebee, where do I start? I’ve had a crush on that bot since the original Transformers movie and the last time I felt genuine feelings like this was for Shredder from the Mutant Ninja Turtles movie in the 80s. Yes, it’s a little weird, but I know I’m not alone as a lot of autistic people connect better with animations etc than humans. Note: I am not one of those people who get off on car exhausts or want to marry lamp-posts. That’s a whole different level of weird. But just to put things into perspective – Charlie (human) has feelings for Bumblebee (Autonomous Robotic Organism)
You get me?
Bumblebee communicates through music, so he’s definitely my kind of bot. He’s cute. He’s lovable. And he’s fookin’ badass when his battle helmet flips down and he flames the living shit out of everything! Also, he’s yellow so he’s less likely to be nicked. Not that Bumblebee would remain nicked for long – him being a transforming arse-kicking robot, right?
Bumblebee has definitely saved the Transformers floundering franchise and maybe that’s something to do with new director, Travis Knight, breathing some fresh air into the story? But for me, it’s because all the elements work. The likable (and identifiable) protagonist. The most lovable Autobot of them all. The mind-blowing special effects in surround sound. I mean, DAMN!! And shit loads of nostalgia – especially if you like The Smiths. What’s not to love? I can’t see them being able to better this film, unless they want to write a storyline about a slightly deranged middle-aged autistic housewife and her transforming Toyota Yaris?
Charlie Watson: Is the Beetle for sale?
Uncle Hank: It’s yours kid. Happy Birthday.