Bumblebee Movie Review: Regurgitating a tiresome franchise
This Travis Knight-version may come as a relief after the overpowering bluster of Bay's six editions, but neither is it satisfying enough nor does it deliver a craving for more
Dir: Travis Knight
Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Stephen Schneider, Jason Drucker
While the Transformers series, that came before this, targeted a mixed demographic, Bumblebee, the first live-action Transformers movie to be directed by somebody other than Michael Bay, is consciously targeted at the YA generation looking to get high on tech dominion married to big-ticket action. This Travis Knight-version may come as a relief after the overpowering bluster of Bay's six editions, but neither is it satisfying enough nor does it deliver a craving for more.
It's 1987, and Bumblebee, the Autobot escapee from Cybertron planet, seeks refuge in a junk-yard in a small California beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the brink of turning 18, having the usual problems with family and sociability, soon discovers the battle-scarred and broken Bumblebee. Charlie and Bumblebee become fast friends, while her concerned mother Sally (Pamela Adlon), wannabe step-dad Ron (Stephen Schneider), and infuriating younger brother Otis (Jason Drucker) play out their anointed concerns.
Bumblebee's troubles are compounded by new Decepticon arrivals, Dropkick (Justin Theroux) and Commander Shatter (Angela Bassett, in the series' first female Transformer role), and their forged partnership with leaders of Sector 7 and a suspicious Jack Burns (John Cena), who was witness to B-127's unlawful entry into Earth.
The film begins with an overly long-drawn re-tread of the animated Transformers: The Movie, and then plunges into establishing Charlie's circumstance without generating much effect. Familiarity, they say, breeds contempt, and that's what generally happens here with much of the action and drama feeling far too familiar, and therefore, boring. Though the narrative lasts around 113 minutes, it feels too lengthy, and other than in its climactic moments, there's hardly any adrenaline rush to be had here.
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