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Film / Bumblebee

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"This is how we stop them. You've got me, and I'm not going anywhere."
"Let me tell you somethin': a driver don't pick the car, nuh-uh... the car picks the driver. It's a mystical bond between man and machine."
Bobby Bolivia, Transformers

Bumblebee is a 2018 film based on the Transformers franchise. Written by Christina Hodson (Shut In, Unforgettable (2017), and Birds of Prey (2020)) and directed by Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) in his live-action directorial debut, it is the first Transformers live-action film not to be directed by Michael Bay; instead, he serves as executive producer. Peter Cullen and Grey Griffin reprise their roles as Autobots Optimus Prime and Arcee respectively from Bay's film series.

The story takes place in 1987, where Bumblebee (voiced briefly by Dylan O'Brien) takes refuge in a small California beach town junkyard, where a teenage girl named Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) befriends him. They are soon hunted by a government agency known as Sector Seven, led by Agent Burns (John Cena). As they run from society, Bee and Charlie learn that Bee isn't the only Transformer on Earth and that the others might not be as friendly.

The film was released on December 21st, 2018. Its TFwiki page tries to catalog new information as it is revealed. An Optimus Prime-centered spinoff is now in the works.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer 1, International Trailer.

Originally a prequel film in the Transformers Film Series, the future of the series came into question after the box office underperformance of Transformers: The Last Knight. However, despite a significantly lower budget, Bumblebee ended up being a critical and commercial success, so much so that at Toy Fair 2019, Hasbro officially declared the movie the start of a "new storytelling universe", confirming its status as a Continuity Reboot, severing its ties to the earlier films. One such film, a sequel entitled Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, is set for a 2023 release, serving as a crossover with Beast Wars.

Bumblebee contains examples of:

  • The '80s: The film is set in 1987 and as such features near-constant references to '80s music, movies, fashion, the style of cars, VHS tapes and walkie-talkies. In the universe of Bumblebee, Stan Bush's "You Got the Touch" which originated from the 1980s Transformers cartoon, is a commercially recognized song.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adults Are Useless: Played with and ultimately averted. Charlie's mother and stepfather are utterly oblivious to her grief over the loss of her father, and are in the dark of Bee's true nature. Ron DOES help Charlie escape the military convoy after her with some badass driving skills near the end of the film. Burns is a competent military man who is willing to listen to Bumblebee early in the movie when he says he doesn't want to hurt anyone, and he immediately doesn't trust the Decepticons by dint of their name alone. He doesn't trust Bee either since Bee didn't have time to explain anything before Blitzwing showed up and blew everyone to hell, so he doesn't know that there are two factions at war until it's almost too late.
  • Advertised Extra: A lot of trailers featured Blitzwing prominently. While he does play a critical part in the film, as he's the one who rips out Bumblebee's voice box and damages him enough to transform and enter stasis so Charlie can find him, he ultimately plays a very small part in the film's opening scenes where Bumblebee destroys him.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Played straight as usual with Transformers, which doesn't even bother with a Hand Wave justification like in the 2007 filmnote . When Sector Seven establishes First Contact with Shatter and Dropkick, the fact that they speak perfect English is never questioned nor addressed. Charlie also completely understands Bumblebee's transmission from Optimus Prime.
  • Alpha Bitch: Tina, who mocks Charlie about her car, her job, and her dead father. Charlie does get her back though, with Memo and Bumblebee's help.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The purple Seeker beheaded by Bumblebee in the Cybertron scene is Hotlink, while the orange one knocked out by his severed head is Sunstorm.
    • Memo's full name is Guillermo Gutierrez, he's 16-years-old and new to the neighborhood, and Tina's last name is Lark.
  • All There in the Script: Shatter, Dropkick, and Blitzwing's names are never spoken in the film. They're only named in the credits.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us:
    • The Decepticon army successfully invades and infiltrates the primary Autobot base of operations on Cybertron, forcing them to retreat to elsewhere in the galaxy. This leads to Bumblebee taking refuge on Earth, where he is tasked by Optimus to keep the planet safe so that other Autobots may arrive. The movie's epilogue shows that Optimus and Bumblebee have taken sanctuary in a forest on the West Coast of the United States with more Autobots on the way in comets.
    • Sector Seven takes over the Watson family's house after detecting Bumblebee's signal there and place the entire family under house arrest.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Charlie's parents, Sally and Ron, have their moments, especially the latter. The best showcase is when they each give Charlie her present for her 18th birthday: respectively, an adorable floral helmet he insists Charlie ride her moped with, and a self-help book about smiling (which even Sally mildly cringes at).
  • Amnesia Danger: As a result of Blitzwing's attack, Bumblebee can't remember why he's on Earth or any details about the war from before. He accidentally flips down his battle mask at several points without knowing what it even is, and when Shatter and Dropkick find him, Bumblebee doesn't even remember enough about them or himself to know to fight back.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Bumblebee himself spends most of the movie without his memory.
  • Anachronistic Soundtrack: Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two" features diegetically in the film despite being released in 1988, one year after the film's setting of 1987. Hailee Steinfeld's "Back to Life (80s Remix)" also soundtracks the final scene and the credits, though it can be passed off due to being a Retraux-style track made for the film.
  • Anti-Villain: Agent Burns, played by John Cena, is a soldier who just wants to protect his country. Unfortunately, he and the rest of the military have been tricked by Shatter and Dropkick into thinking that Bumblebee is a dangerous escaped criminal. On the other hand, he is also unwilling to trust the Decepticons.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Cliffjumper got his arm ripped off by Dropkick before bisection.
  • Armies Are Evil: The U.S. Army isn't portrayed in such a heroic light in this film. They immediately attack Bumblebee the moment they see him, and side with the Decepticons immediately with blind trust assuming that the Decepticons can help them turn the tide against the Soviet Union to end (and win) the Cold War.
  • Artistic License – History: The Decepticons are depicted as inventing the internet in 1987 (or at least, inadvertently giving humans the idea for it), except that ARPANET, the internet's predecessor, had been online since 1969, and its direct descendent NSFNet had been online since 1985.
  • Asshole Victim: Roy, the hick who gets liquidated by Dropkick. He apparently attempted (and failed) to cheat on his wife Amber with her sister, spends his wife's money on a muscle car instead of a house like she wanted, and cares more about his car than he does the lives of anyone around him. His death is even played for a little bit of dark humor.
  • Badass Adorable: Bumblebee, a shy friendly robot capable of taking a helicopter to the chest.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Charlie gets thrown around by explosions a lot, yet she only gets a few bruises on her face. Compare to Agent Burns, who gets a scar early on and ends the movie with his face all dirty. On the other hand, Charlie dives into water at the end, which completely wrecks her makeup. She's somehow fixed it by the time she says bye to 'Bee.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate:
    • Shatter and Dropkick, a pair Decepticon hunters who track down and execute Autobot stragglers, are the main villains of the film, though Shatter is the more dominant of the pair.
    • On a broader scale, with Megatron's absence, Soundwave and Shockwave seem to be the ones calling the shots among the Decepticon forces on Cybertron, if the opening scene (where they're the ones giving orders) is anything to go by.
  • Big "NO!": Blitzwing's last words as he hurriedly tries pulling out his own missile that Bumblebee stuck right into his chest before Bumblebee shoots it, blowing him up.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: How does Charlie ultimately learn of Bumblebee's true nature? Because she looked underneath and saw a giant robot face sticking out, a quirk more than a few Transformers toys tend to have in vehicle mode.
  • Birthday Episode: The movie begins the day before Charlie's 18th birthday. Her parents don't make much money, so they only get her a bicycle helmet and a book, but Bumblebee is given to her as a gift by her uncle Hank (who did not know that the Volkswagen Beetle he was giving Charlie was actually a sentient robot).
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Decepticons conquer Cybertron and drive out all the Autobots, and in addition at least a small number of Autobots have perished in the war including Cliffjumper, but Optimus and Bumblebee plus some incoming newcomers are able to rendezvous on Earth in a forest in the States' West Coast to continue the fight and someday reclaim their home, and Bumblebee successfully defended Earth from an incoming Decepticon attack (for the time being). On a personal level, Bee and Charlie have become the best of friends, but Bumblebee needs to meet up with the other Autobots and Charlie needs to reconcile with her family.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Dropkick shoots Roy and Dr. Powell at point-blank range, but their bodies simply turn into colourless goo.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: When the Decepticons have no more use for him, Dropkick blasts Bumblebee at point-blank range with a shot that is suggested would have been fatal in other circumstances, so this is somewhat justified, but both he and Shatter leave without confirming Bumblebee is dead for good and Dropkick did kill an Autobot earlier in a way that was permanent. Charlie manages to revive Bumblebee using Sector Seven's shock guns and when he turns up to confront them at the climax, Shatter angrily admonishes her partner for not being so thorough in his execution.
    Shatter: Handle him! And finish the job this time!
  • A Boy and His X: A Girl and Her Car: The Movie. The bulk of the movie is playing this trope between Charlie and Bumblebee, in a big Genre Throwback to 80s classics that followed this trope.
  • Breaking the Bonds: Averted with Dropkick. Bumblebee shreds him apart before he can pull off the feat.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Upon discovering Bee's tape deck, Charlie tries to get him to play a "brand new" tape of The Smiths. He ejects it with extreme prejudice. Before the final battle, when Bee puts Charlie in the dumpster to keep her safe, he tunes into the same Smiths song to express his feelings, much to her delight.
    • Bumblebee is seen watching the movie The Breakfast Club and even mirroring Judd Nelson's fist pump at the very end of the movie. When he says goodbye to Charlie, he plays "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds, the main theme from The Breakfast Club. The fist pump also comes back a bit earlier, when after their Enemy Mine situation, Burns demonstrates his respect for Bumblebee by calling after the robot and Charlie, referring to the former as 'Soldier' and giving him a military salute. 'Bee's response is to do the fist-pump, as the closest gesture he has to respond with.
  • Broad Strokes: Takes this approach to the films' canon, keeping things like Bumblebee's disability, Sector 7, and some design attributes, but providing a completely new backstory for the Transformers' history on Earth.
  • The Bully: Tina and her (unnamed) friends, who we see make life difficult for Charlie multiple times. Notably, while Charlie is normally a Deadpan Snarker unafraid to talk back to her mom, Ron, or even Agent Burns, when Tina is around Charlie becomes quiet, shy, and visibly sullen, making it clear that Tina's been bullying Charlie long enough she's had an effect on her.
  • Burger Fool: Charlie is a hostess for Hot Dog on a Stick, and she's implied to be a pretty awful one too, accidentally spilling a whole tray of corn dogs and lemonades on a customer she could've seen by not being distracted.
  • But Now I Must Go: By the end, Bumblebee must leave Charlie to rejoin Optimus Prime and assist in the Autobot Resistance.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Bumblebee himself, as he takes a lot of beatings from both the U.S. Army and Decepticons.
    • One of the Decepticon seekers that tried to fight Optimus Prime noticeably takes on more punishment than the rest. The fact that it may have been Starscream, the G1 cartoon's residential butt monkey, makes it even funnier.
    • Charlie and Memo both get a lot at their expense. Besides getting knocked around whenever they're inside Bee as he's being actiony, they're both sent flying by several explosions and get various minor injuries as they're knocked about, plus they're both clearly not particularly popular at school and get picked on regularly by Tina and her friends, and work dead-end jobs in the local amusement park. Individually, Charlie also gets her house trashed by Bumblebee, and when the action kicks off, she's tasered alongside Bumblebee, gets manhandled a lot by Burns, gets placed in a dumpster by Bumblebee to protect her, and has said dumpster get hit by a missile shortly after. Memo by comparison gets far less, but his Non-Action Guy status does get a few jokes at his expense as the military completely ignores him when chasing Charlie and 'Bee, he arrives too late for the big finale, and in the end Charlie (playfully) spurs his attempt at holding her hand.
  • The Cameo:
    • On the Autobot side, Cliffjumper, Brawn, Ironhide, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Arcee, even Optimus Prime only make cameos.
    • On the Decepticon side, there is Soundwave, Ravage, Shockwave, Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp, and Thrust.
    • A young Agent Simmons at Sector Seven informs Agent Burns of the Decepticons' arrival.
  • Call-Forward: The first trailer features the speech Bobby Bolivia (Bernie Mac) gives Sam just before Sam meets Bumblebee in the original film.
    Bobby Bolivia: Let me tell you somethin': a driver don't pick the car, nuh-uh... the car picks the driver. It's a mystical bond between man and machine.
    • In the movie itself, one of the scenarios Burns suggests while trying to talk his superiors out of working with the Decepticons is an invasion of Chicago.
    • When Optimus is cornered by the Decepticons on Cybertron, he pulls a stance very similar to the stance he pulled when he arrived in Mission City in the first film.
  • Casting Gag: In the Japanese dub, this is not the first time we hear Aoi Yūki (Shatter) voicing a robot.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Bumblebee at one point plays "The Touch", by Stan Bush, to cheer Charlie on. While the timeline of release lines up, The Touch was first heard... on the soundtrack of the original Transformers movie.
  • Chain Pain: Bumblebee kills Dropkick by tangling the latter's rotor in helicopter form. Dropkick attempts to transform into robot mode, but the chains still tangle him and by doing so he rips himself apart.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Charlie is noted to be a very talented diver with promises of even joining the Olympics. A portion of the movie revolves around her trying to move past the memories of her father that are associated with her diving accomplishments, which she finally does at the end when she dives off a 100 foot tower to save Bumbleebee.
  • Color Motif: The color yellow is used strongly throughout the film: Cybertron is awash in a yellow glow. Charlie's Walk-Man is yellow. Her work uniform prominently features a yellow stripe, her boss wears yellow, the work phone is yellow, she's seen making lemonade which is yellow... Heck, even the wire she cuts to remove a part from a boat at the scrapyard is yellow. Expect something yellow to be in frame in Charlie's world whenever Bumblebee is not on screen. Notably, all scenes focusing on the army are devoid of yellow, except for the final shot of Burns, when he is bathed in the yellow glow of the shipyard while saluting Bumblebee for saving the planet.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Bumblebee is smaller than every Decepticon he fights, forcing him to make use of objects around him and unorthodox tactics and fighting moves to even the odds.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The film had a comic book miniseries intended to serve as a prequel to the movie, which ironically is incompatible with the film's continuity due to being based on an earlier draft of the script from before it was decided that Bumblebee would have no experience on Earth prior to his arrival.
  • Composite Character: Blitzwing has the name of the Generation One triple-changer, but this version of the character has been reimagined as a Seeker, with a colour scheme very similar to that of Starscream's G1 design. He also takes on the role previously held by Megatron in being the one responsible for the loss of Bumblebee's voice.
  • Continuity Reboot: It was confirmed at Toy Fair 2019 that the movie is a reboot of the Transformers film franchise.
  • Cool Old Guy: Uncle Hank. He lets Charlie have an old beetle (Bumblebee) for her birthday, even after she offers to pay him back by working at his garage. Of course, he didn't actually pay for it.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Subverted. Charlie walks into an attractive guy and spills drinks on his shirt early in the movie. Said guy is completely irrelevant to the plot.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: Bumblebee screwing around with the power outlets in Charlie's house is what gave his location away to the Decepticons and Sector Seven.
  • Cute Machines: Bumblebee's a giant robot, but his round design, expressive face, and nervous demeanor are clearly designed to be adorable. Even when he's wearing his battle-mask, which is supposed to be scarier-looking since it's visually stylized after a wasp's face, he's still cute. This is in contrast to Shatter and Dropkick's faces, who still look quite fearsome.
  • Cute Mute: Bee spends most of the movie trying to find a way to non-verbally communicate with Charlie in the most adorable fashion. He finally masters communicating via his radio by the end of the film.
  • David vs. Goliath: Bumblebee may be more than twice the height of any human, but he's a small fry compared to any of the Decepticons he faces. Fortunately, he's a scrappy Pint-Sized Powerhouse.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Bumblebee has always been one of the main characters, but now he has his own film. Though Charlie still seems to be more of the main protagonist of the movie named after Bumblebee, getting more screen time and attention than the titular character.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: The main Decepticons in the movie all explode on death. Justifiable for Blitzwing given how Bumblebee kills him, not so much for the other two.
  • Disappeared Dad: An instance where we know exactly how he left: a simple heart attack that killed him so suddenly Charlie never got to say goodbye.
  • Disney Death: After Shatter and Dropkick have extracted all the information they need from Bumblebee, they put him out of his misery. Charlie and Memo find him dead, and try to revive him with Sector Seven's shock guns. It takes a while, but not only does Bee come back, he also reboots and recovers his lost memory.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The end credits theme, "Back to Life", is sung by Hailee Steinfeld herself.
  • Dragon Ascendant: In Megatron's absence, Soundwave and Shockwave have assumed command of the Decepticons. Starscream to a lesser extent appears to be leading the Seeker squadron.
  • Droste Image: A variation; our first time in Charlie's garage, the camera starts on a picture of her and her dad on the wall, then pulls back to show below that on shelf is a small, Matchbox-sized old-style Corvette. Below that on a bench is a larger-scale model of the same Corvette. Then the camera pulls back fully and we see Charlie is working on a real Corvette of the same make, and in the same colors, as the model and Matchbox.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Both Tina and Charlie are seen eyeing Tripp when he's taken his shirt off, though in Charlie's case it might just be Tina's car she's eyeing. However on her date with Memo, she does seem to enjoy looking at him when she got him to take his shirt off.
  • Egging: Bumblebee gives Tina's car an egg bath.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Our Anti-Villain Burns is introduced capturing his buddy in a wargame and then repeatedly shooting him with a paintball gun as the man yowls in pain, establishing Burns as a skilled soldier who is nonetheless not a very nice guy — yet charming enough and with a solid camaraderie with the soldier he's shooting to show that he's not all bad, either.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: Shatter and Dropkick invented ARPANet.
  • Evil Is Bigger: All of the Decepticons Bumblebee faces are taller and bulkier than he is, but this also seems to apply to the Decepticons as a whole in this film as well. The only Autobot shown to match or exceed the Decepticons in height and bulk is Optimus Prime himself. The only Decepticon explicitly smaller than the rest of the Autobots featured in the film is Ravage.
  • Eviler than Thou: Sector 7, while more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist sort of evil, intend to backstab Shatter and Dropkick once they've gotten what they want from them. Shatter and Dropkick beat them to the punch and would've destroyed humanity then and there had Bumblebee and Charlie not stopped them. Granted, Burns makes it exceedingly clear to his superiors that he sees right through the Decepticons' charade and doesn't trust them as far as he can throw them, and Bee is unintentionally caught up in it since humanity isn't aware of the nature of Cybertronian factions at this period in time.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Shatter mocks Bumblebee for missing when he tries to shoot her. She's not so confident when she realises he breached the gate to the drydock they were fighting in, resulting in the bay flooding and Bee taking her out by introducing her to the business end of a barge.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Burns points this out when trying to warn everyone.
    Burns: They literally call themselves Decepticons! That doesn't set off any red flags?!
  • Exact Words: When Bumblebee refuses to give up information on Prime and the Autobot Resistance, he shouts in defiance, "I will never talk!" Blitzwing taunts back with, "Let's make it official," and rips out Bee's vocal synthesizer.
  • Expressive Ears: Bumblebee once again has them, but they are used much more effectively here, as he doesn't have his versatility with the radio at the beginning.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Cliffjumper dies having refused to give up any information to Shatter and Dropkick. He instead does the Autobot equivalent of giving his name, rank, and serial number.
    • Upon realizing that Shatter and Dropkick played him for a fool and have no more use for him, Powell calmly pulls out his radio and tells Burns that the robots are dangerous - however he doesn't have the time to explain the Autobots are good guys, so they still shoot at Bumblebee.
    • Though he survives the encounter, Bumblebee himself does this early on when Blitzwing has him cornered. 'B-127' refuses to give Optimus' location and insists he'll never talk, which is what prompts Blitzwing to rip out his vocal processor. Even with that injury he shows no fear, and instead attempts a Taking You with Me that he fortunately survives himself.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Despite the film being much Lighter and Softer than previous live-action Transformers films, it surprisingly doesn't hold back on showing brutal on-screen robot destruction.
    • Cliffjumper gets vertically bisected by Shatter and Dropkick.
    • Blitzwing gets blown to pieces after Bumblebee embeds one of his own missiles into his chest before shooting it.
    • Dropkick gets wrapped up in a chain by Bumblebee before being torn apart by it.
    • Shatter is crushed between a ship and a harbour wall.
  • Fanservice:
  • Fembot: Arcee and Shatter, although it's far more pronounced with the former, the latter's most obvious feminine trait simply being her voice.
  • First Contact: Having run into Cybertronians before (Bumblebee and Blitzwing), a more prepared US Military intercepts Shatter and Dropkick to both establish first official contact with an alien species, and blow them to hell if said alien species doesn't cooperate. Agent Burns is all for the latter, while Doctor Powell is adamant about the former.
  • Forever War: For the first time since Dark of the Moon, we get flashbacks to the Great War of Cybertron.
  • Foreshadowing: Early in the film, Uncle Hank complains about the new transmission tower near the junkyard wreaking havoc with his television reception. Shatter and Dropkick later use the tower to transmit a message to Cybertron to summon reinforcements.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Played for Laughs when Charlie and Bumblebee are practicing what the latter should do when other people are nearby. Charlie hides behind a large rock and when she looks over, she discovers that Bumblebee tried to conceal himself behind a small pile of sand rather than transforming into his vehicle mode. Happens again when Bumblebee wrecks Tina's car, Charlie tells 'Bee to hide to which he (ineffectually) tries to do by turning over car wreckage and crouching behind it to which prompts Charlie to tell him to turn into his car form so that they can get away.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Memo is shown first coming out of his house he can be seen carrying the first issue of GoBots Magazine.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Charlie's family is tight on money, yet they live in a multi-bedroom house with an ocean view in California. This is probably the result of becoming a one-income family after the death of Charlie's father.
  • Genre Savvy: While eager to work with the Decepticons (if only to keep them from going to the Soviet Union), Sector Seven is acutely aware that they're likely up to no good, and makes plans to get rid of both Shatter and Dropkick as soon as they kill Bumblebee.
  • Genre Shift: The previous movies were more Alien Invasion Disaster Movie films with hints of A Boy and His X that's overshadowed by the more prominent The Chosen One and Ancient Conspiracy aspect, and lots of focus on positively showcasing the US military. Bumblebee however is purely focused on the A Boy and His X with a Coming of Age feel, has essentially no disaster movie aspect at all (in fact, there are almost zero non-combatants killed in the movie, unlike the prior casual Inferred Holocaust), completely leaves out the above-mentioned Chosen One Ancient Conspiracy stuff, and while the Autobot/Decepticon war is featured, it's more of a backdrop. The Darker and Edgier vs Lighter and Softer shift can best be seen in the designs of the Autobots and Decepticons in the movie; prior movies went with more 'alien' redesigns, with the Decepticons in particular looking like monsters (and the Autobots only looking marginally less scary), while in Bumblebee, they sport colourful, original cartoon-inspired designs with blocky, round features (with even the Decepticons looking 'pretty' by comparison).
  • The Gloves Come Off: Most of the film gives the impression that humans are a serious threat to Cybertronians, with Bumblebee seemingly driven into a corner by them, downed by their stun guns and apparently overpowered by jeeps with harpoons. Then Charlie is injured, as Bumblebee's memory is restoring. He goes from being dragged along the ground to halting his progress with one hand, effortlessly standing up (dragging the jeeps forward) and very quickly demonstrating that in all those other encounters, he never actually fought back.
  • Gift-Giving Gaffe: Mom knows Charlie wants a car. For her 18th birthday, she gives her gearhead, tomboy daughter a girly, pink-flowered helmet for her moped. Step-dad gives her a self-help book telling her to smile.
  • Good Stepmother: A Gender-Inverted Played With version. Charlie's Mom's boyfriend is a very nice man who gets along with Charlie's mom and brother. But nice as he is, he's not perfect, duly noted when he's just as Innocently Insensitive as Charlie's mom about Charlie's grieving over her late father.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Charlie is apparently fond of this, as throughout the film she's seen wearing boxer shorts with colourful designs to sleep in and under her denim cut-offs, which are short enough the underwear peeks through under. It's mostly pretty casual patterns like purple flowers or red zebra stripes, but one pair she's seen waking up in is decorated with animal pictures all over. It helps visualize her rocker-chic style.
  • Got Volunteered: When Tripp asks for volunteers to high dive with him, Bumblebee opens one of his car doors, which makes Charlie stumble forward and thus Tripp thinks she volunteered.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: Agent Burns of Sector Seven is after Bumblebee.
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: Truer words cannot be said about Optimus Prime, who has a rather small cameo as the Autobot resistance leader. He even altruistically stays behind on Cybertron to tackle Soundwave's Decepticon force himself ordering the rest of the Autobots to evacuate to other parts of the universe.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Decepticon forces on Cybertron (apparently commanded by Starscream, Soundwave, and Shockwave); the opening scene depicts them driving the Autobots off of Cybertron, and their desire to see the remaining Autobots eliminated is why Shatter & Dropkick are after Bumblebee. Once the Triple-Changer duo learn that the Autobots are coming to Earth and en masse, stopping them from contacting the Cybertron-based Decepticons becomes Bumblebee's main objective.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Dropkick vertically bisects Cliffjumper in the middle.
  • Hard-Work Montage: There's one of Charlie trying to get Bumblebee up and running after receiving him as a birthday present. A Food Porn variation of this is shown twice when Charlie is working at Hot Dog on a Stick squeezing lemons for lemonade and drenching raw corn dogs into deep fryers.
  • Hate Sink: The Alpha Bitch Tina and her friends who gleefully make Charlie's life a living hell and are implied to torment Memo's life as well, and every time they show up, they always have smug smiles on their faces. Tina fully cements herself as this when she taunts Charlie over her dead father. Tina at least got a helping of Laser-Guided Karma by means of Bumblebee "accidentally" destroying her car after Charlie and Memo decide to take a little payback on her.
  • Headbutt of Love: Charlie and Bee do this a few times.
  • Hellish Copter: Burns goes after Shatter in an attack helicopter at the climax. After a brief exchange of fire, she shoots it down. Fortunately, Bumblebee catches the helicopter before it crashes.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Bumblebee is believed to be a criminal by the military thanks to the Decepticons deceiving them.
  • Hope Spot: Bumblebee's initial pursuit by Sector Seven ends with him cornered and no way to escape. However, he manages to speak to them, telling them he doesn't want to hurt anyone. Burns seems willing to listen to him before he's distracted by the arrival of a fighter jet, which Bumblebee warns is not the Air Force. Blitzwing's subsequent attack ruins both the chances of Burns and Sector Seven viewing Bumblebee as a friendly and also of the very idea that Earth would be a safe haven, as it means the Decepticons beat the Autobots there.
  • Humans Are Morons: Zig-Zagged overall. While Shatter and Dropkick note that the humans' cyber infrastructure is primitive and that they're very gullible to whatever lies they are told, Burns' attitude makes it clear that not everyone is welcoming them with open arms, at the Decepticons make a point of interacting with "Friend Powell" over Burns.
  • Identity Amnesia: After a grueling battle with Blitzwing, Bumblebee is so severely damaged his memory core shuts down. When Charlie finds the derelict VW Beetle in a junkyard, he has no memory of who he is or what his mission was, and his personality pretty much regresses to that of a Manchild. It takes Charlie shocking him several times with multiple electric guns to boot his memory core back up.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Ron's driving skills as shown during the car chase to find Charlie is something he apparently picked up from Miami Vice.
  • Inevitable Mutual Betrayal: Both the human military and the Decepticons are planning to betray each other eventually. The Decepticons end up being the ones to act first.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Charlie's stepdad seriously thought that getting her a self-help book telling her to just smile more for her birthday was a good idea. Remember that her real dad is dead.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Burns, who has a severe distrust of anything Cybertronian, insists on referring to Bumblebee as "it" and calling him a machine. By contrast, Charlie always refers to Bumblebee as "he." After Burns has his Heel Realization, he tells Bumblebee and Charlie to leave before the rest of Sector Seven arrives stating that they'll be looking for "him", and salutes Bumblebee after calling him "soldier" when bidding him farewell.
    Burns: It is a machine!
    Charlie: He's more human than you'll ever be!
  • Karmic Death: Dropkick spends the majority of his movie-making his victims pop. He explodes at the end when Bumblebee uses chains to tear him apart with pieces of him flying everywhere as did his victims.
  • Kibbles and Bits: In the more rarely-used form of kibblenote , Charlie realizes there's something seriously strange with her new car when she spots a robot face approximately where an oil pan should be (if the VW Beetle didn't have a rear-engine, that is).
  • Kick the Dog:
    • After Charlie backs out of joining the impromptu diving competition, Tina comes up to her and snidely remarks how her car (Bumblebee) is apparently a horrible gift from her dead father. Thankfully, she pays for it that night.
    • Shatter decides to drop one final taunt towards Cliffjumper before Dropkick bisects him.
    Shatter: You're a brave warrior. You deserve a better death... Then again...
    • She also makes sure Dr. Powell knows he's a dead man after witnessing Optimus Prime's message and discovering the Decepticons true intentions, but not before mockingly thanking him for his hospitality and being an Unwitting Pawn, then allowing Dropkick to execute the poor man.
    • Followed up by Bumblebee himself. Making false pleasantries with her victims seems to be a hobby for her, whilst Dropkick is just happy to get to kill things.
    Shatter: Ah, B-127, I almost forgot about you.
    Dropkick: I didn't.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Dropkick, right in the middle of an attempted Badass Boast as well.
    Dropkick: (after being wrapped in chains by Bumblebee, hooking under his plates and keeping him from transforming) You think these little chains can hold(Bumblebee pulls on the chain, ripping him to pieces.)
  • La Résistance: The Autobots are explicitly depicted in this manner more so than any other movie. The Deceptions appear to have near-total control of Cybertron, with the exception of the Autobots fighting back, though the Decepticons seem to outnumber them by a significant margin. Both Autobots and Decepticons also refer to Optimus Prime and his troops as members of the Autobot Resistance. The Decepticons are hunting Optimus Prime specifically because as the leader of the Autobots, killing him will demoralize the entire Autobot movement.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Agent Burns points out the ridiculousness of siding with what are obviously Card Carrying Villains.
    Burns: They literally call themselves Decepticons! That doesn't set off any red flags?!
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: When Bee readies himself to fight, his face morphs into a battle-mask reminiscent of a wasp's head. The end of the film features two more straightforward examples. Bumblebee was only attempting to escape the first time he encountered Sector Seven. Burns making him angry by tossing Charlie around demonstrates it's a damn good thing he usually doesn't want to hurt others. With Shatter and Dropkick, when they found Bumblebee his amnesia meant he didn't know enough to even fight back. Their attempt to kill him and Charlie's resuscitation grant him his memory back, and despite being overmatched he rushes into battle against the two Decepticons without hesitation and manages to win through a mix of sheer skill and resourcefulness.
  • Lighter and Softer: The film eschews the near-apocalyptic scenarios from the previous five films in favor of being a character-driven piece. The Transformers themselves now sport more colorful and simplified designs evocative of their Generation One designs (contrasting with their gritty, hyperdetailed designs in previous live-action films).
  • Magical Defibrillator: Charlie uses multiple stun guns, previously used by Sector Seven to incapacitate Bumblebee, in an attempt to revive Bumblebee after Dropkick shoots him offline.
  • Maybe Ever After: Charlie and Memo have this going for them. Memo is shown to have a crush on Charlie, is the leading non-Autobot supporting male protagonist, builds decent rapport with Charlie, and Charlie even kisses him on the cheek towards the climax. At the end of the movie, Memo tries to hold her hand but Charlie tells him she's not quite there yet, gently turning him down with the hint that she wants to take it slow and get to know him better first before they possibly take things to another level.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted, as we see that Cybertronians have female members among their race, who are active in the war. Shatter herself is a Dark Action Girl who is killed while in combat with Bumblebee. Sector 7 is shown to have female soldiers among its ranks, so it stands to reason that they'd be in the action as well.
  • Militaries Are Useless: When it gets down to it, the human military does not stand a chance against the Transformers. It's clear when Shatter and Dropkick are cornered at a road block that they only go along with them for strategy, not because they think the humans can actually harm them, and as soon as Bumblebee fights back Sector 7 are quickly tossed aside. On a strategic side, General Whalen and Powell end up deciding that it would be wise to let the Decepticons access their communication network, the former because he believes that once done, they can betray the Decepticons, but doesn't take into account that the Decepticons would make their move quicker.
  • Mooks: Several generic Seekers serve this function during the Cybertron-set sequences.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Shatter appears to be a higher ranking Decepticon over Dropkick, given that she calls the shots and comes up with the plans. Also, while the two seem to both be about equal in power, Dropkick is an Unskilled, but Strong brawler, while Shatter combines her strength with more practical fighting manoeuvres.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Powell, after realizing that now that Dropkick and Shatter have the information they want, they're planning to call the Decepticons to Earth so they can destroy the planet, calls Burns and says they "have made a terrible mistake".
  • My New Gift Is Lame: Charlie wanted a new car for her birthday, and after she receives one from uncle Hank (it's Bumblebee disguised as a 1967 Beetle), her parents only get her a helmet and a book about smiling.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Charlie's father died during a sudden heart attack, meaning she never had a chance to say goodbye to him before he died.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Several moments in the trailer are cut from different scenes in the movie. The heartwarming "Do you have a family?" line from the trailer is from later in the film; Bee pointing at Charlie is from an earlier scene where he's asking who she is.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Bumblebee himself is a complete sweetheart. He never does anything to harm another intentionally and immediately develops a close, playful bond with Charlie. He's happy to see her and is very careful of her feelings, and whenever she's upset his priority is to make her feel better.
    • Memo similarly, though awkward and clumsy, is clearly a good guy. He handles his attempts to ask out Charlie with respect, immediately giving her space when it's clear he's came at a bad time and doesn't take it personally. He does barge into her garage without asking but apologises for it and after that, does what he can to help her hide Bee and tries to befriend the Autobot himself. Overall, he's pretty respectful and supportive of Charlie's feelings.
    • Despite Charlie not getting along with him due to her still grieving over the loss of her father, Ron is still a patient and kindly stepfather to Charlie. His attempts at cheering her up (including, but not limited to giving her a book on how good it is to smile on her birthday) are incredibly awkward, but his heart's in the right place.
    • Tripp Summers is the Big Man on Campus, but he's evidently this as well, coming off as more of a Lovable Jock. He seems to take Charlie spilling drinks on him in stride and later tries to encourage her into taking part in his cliff-diving in a friendly, playful manner, unlike the teasing and taunts the other students make. He also recognizes Charlie's talents when it comes to high diving. Generally, by comparison to Tina, Charlie and Memo seem to react much more positively to him when they see him, indicating he's a pretty well-liked guy. A deleted scene would have even depicted Tripp calling out Tina and her friends for their treatment of Charlie.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Charlie, trying to start an unconscious Bumblebee, accidentally transmits a signal from Bumblebee that helps Shatter and Dropkick locate which planet he's on while they were busy interrogating Cliffjumper.
    • Bumblebee puts his finger into an electrical socket in Charlie's house out of curiosity. This predictably shocks him, but also alerts the Decepticons and Sector Seven to his location, which eventually gets him captured.
  • No Name Given: Charlie's father is never explicitly named. However, she wears a lot of adult men's shirts that seem to have been his, including a mechanic's work-shirt that indicates his name was 'Dutch'.
    • Also, most of the Autobots and Decepticons seen in the film are never identified by name in dialogue (Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, and Cliffjumper on the Autobot side and only Ravage on the Decepticon side are actually called by name on-screen), but almost all of them are easily recognizable to any long time fan of the franchise who is familiar with the original G1 cartoon.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: The Transformers in general take a very G1-style approach, which their bodies covered in boxy armour and brightly coloured plating, while Bumblebee, though departing from his original design, maintains a similar, though rounder, aesthetic. Shatter and Dropkick, however, stand out by comparison for maintaining a more Bayformers approach, and their designs have far more little pieces, alien-esque features, and sharp, angular details. Though this is largely the result of them predating the film being reworked into a reboot and the introduction of the G1 designs, its notable compared to Blitzwing, who though having some similarities with his details, still maintains an otherwise G1 build, despite being from before the reboot rework happened.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: On Cybertron, Shatter and Dropkick are only slightly better than Decepticon Mooks, but are incredibly dangerous to Autobot stragglers like Bumblebee, and the lack of higher tier Cybertronians on Earth makes them the biggest threat in the film.
  • Obviously Evil: Burns doesn't trust Shatter and Dropkick, not purely because they're sinister-looking alien beings who want access to Earth's satellites and technology, but because they're literally called Decepticons.
    Burns: That doesn't set off any red flags?!
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Optimus's last scene on Cybertron has him surrounded by dozens of Decepticons, who immediately attempt to swarm him when they see they have him cornered. However, as of Bumblebee's arrival on Earth, the Decepticons are searching for his whereabouts, meaning he not only managed to fight his way out of a seemingly impossible situation, he managed to lose his pursuers in the process as well. Seems like there's a darn good reason why he's the Autobot leader.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • The first film in the series where Optimus does not invoke this trope (at least on-screen).
    • Back on Cybertron, Bumblebee cuts off a Seeker's head and kicks it at another Seeker.
    • After Bumblebee blows him up with his own missile, Blitzwing's head can be seen intact on the ground.
    • After Bumblebee tears Dropkick apart entangled in chains (causing Dropkick to explode for some reason), you can see Dropkick's head ablaze roll on the ground.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Bumblebee is initially quippy when he first arrives to help the Autobots on Cybertron, but both he and Optimus opt to fall back as soon as they see that Soundwave, Starscream and Shockwave have arrived. Heck, there's even a close-up of Optimus' eyes widening in fear as the Decepticon reinforcements arrive, before giving the desperate order to his troops to fall back.
    • Bumblebee gets one during his first run-in with Sector Seven, when he realizes that an incoming jet is not a United States Air Force jet, but actually Blitzwing in disguise.
    • Minor, but Dropkick has a noticeable tinge of worry in his voice when he learns Optimus Prime is coming to Earth. The same planet that he's currently on. Without an army backing him up. Given he was amongst the Decepticons that tried and failed to capture Prime back on Cybertron, he's seen first-hand how capable the leader of the Autobots is in combat.
    • Burns gives one of thesenote  when Bumblebee stops turning the other cheek at Charlie's behest and Burns realizes that Bumblebee had been holding back on them the entire time.
    • Charlie has this reaction when she pops out of a dumpster only to realize she's in the path of a stray missile.
  • Parental Neglect: Although Charlie's mother means well, she is the unsupportive type. As a nurse with an unemployed husband she is constantly working. While she's physically present, she smooches all over her new husband while her oldest child still grieves the loss of her deceased husband. She loves Charlie, but it is obvious she has a favorite. She shows no respect for Charlie's belongings (while she's concerned over Charlie dumping her diving trophies, she's upset with Charlie that she got a car and didn't tell her and later takes the car without asking Charlie if it's okay), and she berates Charlie for always being gloomy when it's due to the aforementioned grief.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Charlie's mother moved on from her husband's death and found a new husband in Ron, much to Charlie's displeasure.
  • Period Piece: The film feels like an 80's movie at heart, taking place in 1987 and referencing all sorts of nostalgic media of the setting (most prominently popular music), and even reveling in a few popular story tropes from that era, namely the A Boy and His X-style relationship between Charlie and 'Bee.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Charlie is this early on, to the point that her stepfather actually buys her a book to encourage her to smile more.
  • Perspective Flip: Of Transformers, at least regarding the human protagonists. In Transformers, the film followed the perspective of Sam Witwicky, an Unlucky Everydude with a crush on a Wrench Wench, while in Bumblebee, the story is from the POV of Charlie Watson, a Wrench Wench herself, who is somewhat Oblivious to Love regarding the Unlucky Everydude's crush on her. In both cases, the Wrench Wench is unaware of the Unlucky Everydude even existing until they meet, and she has unresolved familial issues relating to her father. The only difference in terms of their dynamic is Memo is a genuine Nice Guy who doesn't seem to objectify Charlie nearly as much as Sam did Mikaela.
  • "Pop!" Goes the Human: Dropkick just loves seeing this and has a weapon which liquifies humans to get what he loves to see.
  • Posthumous Character: Charlie's biological father, who serves as a source of angst for her until Bumblebee comes along
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: While the film designs for the Cybertronian castmembers are much closer to the original G1 designs than the previous film continuity, certain aspects, such as generally avoiding sizeshifting and the designs being highly mechanical, are still utilized to keep them at a realistic level.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: After Shatter and Dropkick's arrival to Earth and being intercepted by Sector Seven, the two take the humans' initial willingness to cooperate and learn more about them as a means to track down Bumblebee.
  • The Precious, Precious Car:
    • Roy the redneck uses money his wife gave him as down payment for a new house on a brand new car, and when he sees Dropkick landing on earth he's more concerned for its safety than his wife (and sighs with relief when the Decepticon instead crashes into a transport truck, likely killing the driver). Right after, Shatter lands on the car and completely obliterates it, though not without first scanning it and taking its form.
    • Tina holds her car (a 1985 BMW 325) up in rather smug appreciation, taunting Charlie about not having one and later insulting her choice of a VW Beetle that's actually Bumblebee (and in a deleted scene, drives past while Charlie's having car trouble to smirk at her misfortune), which prompts Memo to take Charlie and Bee to egg Tina's car in response. Not only does Bee egg the car, he also starts punching and jumping on the car destroying the top half. Tina is suitably devastated over this.
  • Prequel: Initially billed as this, with the film taking place in 1987, over twenty years before the first film took place. However, it appears to no longer be the case and is now the start of an entirely new continuity.note 
  • Primary-Color Champion: Shatter and Dropkick are able to affect this image due to being red and blue. Agent Burns is rightly skeptical.
  • Product Placement:
  • Properly Paranoid: Burns doesn't trust Shatter and Dropkick, even when they offer their aid to help hunt down Bumblebee (whom Burns believes to be a dangerous alien). He thinks they're up to no good, even pointing out to his superior that the name Decepticon raises red flags. And sure enough, he's right.
  • Pun:
    • The film plays Duran Duran's "Save a Prayer" when Charlie discovers Bumblebee (seen only as a junk Volkswagen Beetle at the time) at the junkyard. The chorus of the song goes, "Don't say a prayer for me now, save it for the morning after." Charlie ends up going back the following morning to repair and acquire Bumblebee.
    • Similarly in the scene, we see that Bumblebee's inert car form has became home to a hive of bees. Serves as a Call-Forward to when Charlie christens him 'Bumblebee' later in the film.
  • Puny Earthlings: Dropkick's overall assessment of humans. In his opinion the only cool thing about us is the way we "pop" when shot with his energy cannon.
  • The Quisling: Dr. Powell, a scientist of Sector Seven who's at the forefront of cooperating with the Decepticons, on the grounds of understanding their incredibly advanced and potentially revolutionary alien technology before the Soviets do. He comes to regret this once he learns the sheer scope of their actual plans, but by then, it's too late for him.
  • Real Is Brown: Averted for the first time in the live-action films. Where, in the previous films, the Decepticons (and to a lesser extent, even the Autobots) existed almost entirely in various shades of steel-gray or black, here they all sport their bright, vivid colors from the original toys and cartoons, with even new characters Shatter and Dropkick appearing in bright red and blue rather than dull grey or black.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Burns and his supervisor both have shades of this. Burns himself is understandably mistrustful of 'Bee when he arrives, but pauses when he sees that he can communicate and seems ready to hear him out; however, he immediately doesn't trust the Decepticons because of their Obviously Evil traits. In the end, he even lets Bee go, recognizing him as a fellow soldier and one fighting a righteous cause. His supervisor meanwhile is willing to listen to both Burns and Powell's points, and though he agrees to work with the Decepticons to capture Bumblebee, he does so with full intention of betraying them, having agreed with Burns' assessment of them being clearly evil (but under the assumption that 'Bee is evil too).
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Charlie's mom and Charlie herself do this back and forth to each other after Bumblebee trashes the house. Charlie's mom goes after her for her poor attitude and spending all day in the garage with her car and being moody which she claims is dragging everyone else down. Charlie lets go right back by yelling at her mother that her being "mopey" is her grieving for her father despite her mom has already moved on to a new husband; and if she's so upset that Charlie is "moping, she should learn to deal with it."
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • When Burns manhandles Charlie and seemingly injures her, Bumblebee goes berserk, ripping out his bonds and laying waste to the Sector Seven taskforce, all while his eyes go from their cool bright blue to an intense, burning red.
    • The Decepticons all have red eyes, whereas the Autobots have blue ones. Not only a nod to the original cartoon, but it's also convenient for identifying faction. Shockwave is a notable exception: as in the G1 cartoon, his single eye is yellow, the only Decepticon to not have red eyes.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Amusingly inverted with the two primary Decepticon villains. While Shatter is red, she seems to have a marginally calmer, more collected personality, and is willing to use diplomacy to achieve their ends in the short term. Dropkick, the blue one, is best described as a hothead that would prefer to shoot first and ask questions later.
  • Red Scare: Powell convinces his superiors to help Shatter and Dropkick because they're worried the two might go to the Soviet Union for help instead, and as well as eager for first contact he argues that the Decepticon's advanced technology will surely give them the edge in the Cold War.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Charlie deconstructs this when she lampshades that, while her mom has found a "replacement" for her husband, it's pretty callous not to regard that her daughter isn't ready to replace her father and never will be.
  • Retcon: Movie-related fiction established Megatron was the one responsible for the loss of Bumblebee's voice, having destroyed his vocal processors centuries ago on Cybertron (something that was also adopted by other continuities like Transformers: Prime and Transformers: Cyberverse). Here, Bumblebee can still speak when he first arrives on Earth and Blitzwing is the one to do the deed.
    • The film also provides a completely different look at Cybertron, the Great War, and what Bumblebee and the others were doing prior to the 2000s (i.e him arriving on Earth at the very beginning of this film as opposed to supposedly having been around since World War II). In general, outside of Bumblebee's head, Sector Seven, and Bumblebee becoming a Camero at the end, the film could easily pass for being a complete reboot (which it was ultimately decided to be).
  • Revenge Is Sweet: Charlie is satisfied enacting revenge on Tina after she was bullied by her one too many times. Tina is last seen crying at her totaled car, which was egged on by Charlie and Memo and crushed by Bumblebee.
  • Revisiting the Roots: After the franchise moved to larger scale, sprawling epics this installment returns to the "teen and her car" setup of the original movie. Meanwhile, the designs move away from the complex designs that defined the films to more solid, humanoid forms that evoke the original 80s line.
  • Road Block:
    • During the battle on Cybertron, a group of Decepticon law enforcers attempted establishing this against Bumblebee so that he can't regroup with the Autobot resistance. Bumblebee just runs them over, even tackling one of them off a cliff so that its head gets torn off on impact.
    • How Dropkick and Shatter get their "Welcome to Earth" greeting by the United States Army squadron led by Agent Burns after the violence Blitzwing brought upon Burns' men.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Bumblebee undergoes a brief one after Charlie reactivates him and he sees Burns seemingly injuring her. He goes red-eyed and openly fires at the Sector Seven troops, with only Charlie's safe presence able to finally calm him down again.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • In one scene, we see Charlie's family happily spending time together (sans Charlie herself) in a well-lit room, whilst Charlie silently stands in the morose, dimly-lit background. Not only does it reflect the family's emotional state, but also Charlie feeling alone in her grieving.
    • Throughout the movie, Charlie has been trying to fix the car she and her late father were working on together, but to no avail. This symbolizes how her grief keeps her from moving on with her life. After she and Bumblebee bid farewell, she's finally able to make the car work, representing she's finally healing and ready to live her life.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Shatter and Dropkick execute Cliffjumper before coming to Earth.
  • Save the Villain: Bumblebee when he saves Burns, prompting the latter to make a Heel–Face Turn and switch sides aiding Bumblebee instead then saluting him.
  • Schrödinger's Canon: The film was shot primarily intending to be a prequel to the other live-action films, putting it in their continuity. In editing, it was made more distinctly its own thing, and ultimately released as "maybe a prequel, maybe a reboot." It eventually settled on the latter, though can still function (in Broad Strokes) as the former.
  • Shirtless Scene: Tripp gets two played for Fanservice. Memo gets one played for comedy.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Bee watches The Breakfast Club and he does the iconic fist pump more than once.
    • To The Iron Giant, after Burns knocks Charlie to the ground, Bee goes berserk and starts attacking the soldiers, even killing a few, until Charlie calms him down, not unlike the famous “You are who you choose to be!” scene from the aforementioned film.
    • To Star Wars A New Hope, when Charlie tries to repair some of Bumblebee's damaged systems, she accidentally bumps into the wrong part and causes a hologram of Optimus Prime to project automatically, playing a message that relays Bee's mission and pleads for his help.
    • To Back to the Future Part II, when the police chase is set to "I Can't Drive 55" and ends in a tunnel extremely similar to the end of the Biff chase.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Otis is learning karate and likes to show off and brag about how he could cripple/kill someone with it. Keep in mind he's like twelve and only a yellow belt (one of the lowest ranks, implying he's only been doing it a short while).
  • Soft Reboot: Ultimately what the film ends up being. Though there are nods to the prior movies (Bumblebee's head design, Sector 7's existence, Bumblebee becoming a Camero at the end, and Megatron's absence from Cybertron), the film takes far more from the original cartoon, comics, and other media, and ultimately follows its own continuity of what lead the Autobots to earth. Word of God confirms they don't want to just outright reboot the live-action films, but that future installments will follow after Bumblebee rather than the prior movies. Later, they opted to declare the film officially a Continuity Reboot.
  • Sole Survivor: Burns seemingly ends up as the only member of his unit to survive Blitzwing's assault on Bumblebee, and as a result he ends up developing a grudge against all Cybertronians until the end of the film where he realizes Bumblebee is one of the good ones.
  • Spanner in the Works: During the climax, Charlie's family inadvertently saves her and Bumblebee from being pursued by Sector Seven. While Sector Seven is chasing them down as dangers, her parents are simply concerned for her safety and pleading for her to return home, and their interference in the car chase ends up causing a gridlock that allows the duo to escape and complete their mission.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: As per usual in the live-action films, Bumblebee invokes this, using his radio to play various clips of spoken audio to communicate. This film shows him slowly developing the skill after Charlie repairs his radio.
    • Cliffjumper keeps stating "My name is Cliffjumper!" right when Bumblebee's signal song (the Cheers theme song) starts playing Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.
    • Almost the entire soundtrack, which is entirely built-up of songs the characters themselves are listening to in-universe. Each song tends to either fit the scene, not unlike Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), or serve as foreshadowing for something about to happen soon. Special mention to:
      • "Bigmouth Strikes Again" by The Smiths, which Charlie listens to in order to wake up, is a notable example of The Smiths' Lyrical Dissonance, featuring an upbeat tune but angsty lyrics. Fitting as a means to introduce Charlie, a normally upbeat girl who is currently going through a severe depression.
      • "Things Can Only Get Better" by Howard Jones, which describes how hard life is sometimes; specific lyrics heard are "And do you feel scared, I do/But I won't stop and falter/And if we threw it all away/Things can only get better". This plays the first time Charlie's at work, showing how much her life kind of sucks at the moment, while foreshadowing the fact it's about to get better.
      • "Runaway" by Bon Jovi, both describes the contrast between 'other girls' ("On the street where you live girls talk about their social lives/They're made of lipstick, plastic and paint/A touch of sable in their eyes"), and the focus of the song, a former 'daddy's girl' who's now had to fend for themselves, befitting the fact it follows the first confrontation between Tina's group and Charlie.
      • "Save a Prayer" by Duran Duran plays when Charlie first finds the Beetle, specifically the chorus lines "Don't save a prayer for me now/Save it til the morning after". She doesn't seek it out then, but the next morning she decides to get it, pretty much exactly as the song instructed.
      • "Higher Love" by Steve Winwood, a song describing having faith in a 'higher love'; they don't have anything yet, but they have faith that if they push forward, they'll be rewarded with a 'higher love'. The song of course plays when Charlie, presented with a water-damaged VW Beetle found in a junkyard in no condition to drive, works hard and pushes to restore it, and is rewarded with it miraculously working enough for her to drive it home.
      • "All My Ex's Live In Texas" by George Strait plays only a single line, but telegraphs exactly where the scene is: Texas.
      • "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by Tears for Fears, specifically the lyrics "There's a room where the light won't find you/Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down/When they do, I'll be right behind you/So glad we've almost made it/So sad they had to fade it/Everybody wants to rule the world", plays when Charlie takes Memo out for a drive in Bumblebee. The song fits the sequence as it shows the two enjoying a care-free moment of fun, while also showing the two becoming close. It also serves as foreshadowing that their fun won't last forever, as Sector 7 and the Decepticons are looking for them, but despite that Memo will be there for Charlie, and Charlie herself will be there for Bee.
      • "I Can't Drive 55" by Sammy Hagar is a song literally describing speeding through California's highways while being chased by the police. Bumblebee plays it while he is literally doing that, with Charlie and Memo in-tow. In fact, the song is explicitly Bumblebee's way of telling the two he's not going to slow down and let the police car catch them.
      • "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds is the song Bumblebee listened to the most during the film because of how often he was watching The Breakfast Club, for which the song was an original track of and capped off the ending of the film as the titular group went their separate ways. It's fitting then as Bumblebee plays it when saying goodbye to Charlie as he leaves to regroup with Optimus Prime.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • The use of Decepticons as a faction name sounds similar to the word "deception", and would probably clue in third party members on exactly which side to join your war (read: against you).
    • Everyone grieves at their own pace, and Charlie and her family are a prime example of this.
    • The ending has Memo try to hold Charlie’s hand, but she gently brushes him off, stating “we’re not there yet.” Just because a girl and a boy go on one adventure together does not mean they're going to automatically be as close as boyfriend and girlfriend afterwards.
    • The film answers the question of what happens if you threw something — say, a chain — between the moving parts of a mid-transformation Cybertronian. It's a hinderance at best, and a messy death at worst, especially if the item is pulled out afterwards.
  • Take Me to Your Leader: Shatter says this line to Powell after the latter causally refers their superior as leader.
  • Take That!: At one point, Charlie inserts a music cassette into Bumblebee, which is Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up". Bumblebee immediately spits it out toward a wall, breaking it.
  • Tamer and Chaster: The film is far more tame in content than the Michael Bay directed entries, with no overt sexual objectification, toilet humor, or Fanservice of the like featured in those films.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Decepticons and Sector 7. Burns and his superior mention that once they help the Decepticons deal with Bumblebee, they'll turn on them, which is obviously what their "allies" were planning to do with them. The Decepticons backstab them first.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Tina and her friends are incredibly unpleasant people. Making fun of Charlie is bad enough, but taking a jab at her deceased father is downright cruel.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Charlie uses this warning to drive home the need for Bumblebee to stay hidden from anyone but herself.
  • Trailers Always Lie: Trailers and commercials feature Optimus Prime referring to Bumblebee by his name. In the film proper, Bumblebee's name was given to him by Charlie and his Cybertronian designation was "B-127." Even through to the mid-credits scene where Bumblebee asserts his new name, Optimus never refers to him as other than B-127.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers and TV spots end up showing the deaths of all three major Decepticons in the film.
  • Translation Convention: The scenes set on Cybertron are all voiced in English, with this installment, unlike the 2007 movie, not concerning itself with how Cybertronians know our language when they arrive, likely in favour of a simpler story.
  • Truer to the Text: The robot designs have been greatly simplified and now bear a closer resemblance to the G1 cartoon, with Bumblebee being much rounder and bulkier. He is also shorter than he is in the previous movies, and wins fights through cunning, determination and resourcefulness (like his G1 counterpart). This goes even further with a flashback to Cybertron, which shows several characters outright sporting their G1 appearances with few alterations (which mostly amount to not having earth vehicle kibble given this is pre-earth forms), including Optimus Prime, Shockwave and Soundwave.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Decepticons Shatter and Dropkick trick the military into thinking they're the good guys and that Bumblebee is an escaped criminal. Though Burns doesn’t buy it, even mentioning how they call themselves Decepticons. But this is ultimately averted since the military planned to eradicate the two 'Cons as soon as possible once Bumblebee was found.
  • Villainy Discretion Shot: When Shatter and Dropkick have Bumblebee in their clutches, a few of their punches cut away to Dr. Powell's pained reactions instead. The (near-)fatal arm cannon shot is also off-screen.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: While the film's conflict centers around the Autobot-Decepticon war, it mostly focuses on Bumblebee bonding with Charlie and Momo. Still, the main antagonists, Dropkick and Shatter, are cruel psychopaths who intend to kill Bumblebee and Optimus Prime, then later attempt to alert the other Decepticons to Earth so that they could raze the planet and its inhabitants.
  • Visual Innuendo: In her opening shot, Tina takes a rather large bite out of her corn dog.
  • The Voiceless: Bumblebee's voice synthesizer gets destroyed by Blitzwing during their fight, leaving him voiceless for the rest of the movie. He manages to find a workaround by messing with his radio, switching from station to station to form sentences.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Otis suddenly throws up onto his lap after being in an intense car chase with his mom and stepdad.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: After narrowly avoiding not one, not two, but three car crashes — including a van flipping overhead — Otis's first response is to say "That was RADICAL!" Then he throws up.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Bumblebee in his escape pod is visibly devastated to see the fall of his home world Cybertron. Camera then pans out to many areas of the planet including its core being scorched in flames.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye:
    • Blitzwing. He shows up on Earth to briefly fight Bumblebee and destroy his voicebox, only to be killed barely two minutes later.
    • Cliffjumper was introduced in the same scene he gets halved. Though Cliff did spew out details about himself before he died.
    • Back on Cybertron, a few Seekers died before we even get to know their names. (Though basing on the G1 cartoon, there are likely hundreds of them, as nameless and generic as Stormtroopers).
  • Willfully Weak: Bumblebee only takes damage and is cornered (and later captured) by Sector 7 because he doesn't want to hurt them. When he finally stops holding back, it's clear he could've curbstomped them easily if he'd wanted to. Since Bumblebee is one of the smallest and weakest Cybertronians in the film, his trouncing of Sector 7 makes it crystal clear that if Shatter and Dropkick succeed in summoning the rest of the Decepticons to Earth, humanity is screwed.
  • Wipe the Floor with You: Blitzwing inflicts a vertical example by dragging Bumbleebee up against a rocky cliff.
  • With All Due Respect: Burns, in reaction to Powell's suggestion that they ally with the Decepticons.
    Burns: With all due respect, have you lost your damn mind?!
    Powell: That's with all due respect?
  • Withholding the Big Good: Optimus Prime gives Bumblebee his marching orders in the Action Prologue, then vanishes for the majority of the film, appearing twice as a holographic message. At the end, after Shatter and Dropkick have been defeated by Bumblebee, Bee links up with Optimus in his classic truck alt-mode, and the two are later seen walking in a forest as Optimus congratulates Bee for a job well done. They look up and see more Transformer escape pods arriving, signaling the arrival of more Autobots on Earth.
  • "Will Return" Caption: The comic book miniseries that predated the release of the actual film ended with a "Bumblebee will return" caption to complete its list of homages to the James Bond films, which is rather ironic given that the miniseries established that Bumblebee had adventures on Earth prior to the actual film's events when the final film changed it so that Bumblebee had not been on Earth before.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Shatter being a Fembot does nothing to stop others fighting her head-on. Once they know who she is, both Bumblebee and Agent Burns are quick to open fire and attack. Similarly, even though Charlie is an 18-year-old girl, Agent Burns is willing to toss her around to stop her interfering in their attempt to capture Bumblebee.
  • Wrench Wench: Charlie, so much so that wrenches seem to be her instrument of choice. Her skill in mechanics and interest in cars is what brings her and Bumblebee together in the first place.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Bee lobs Dropkick with an arm drag while fighting him at one point.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Why the Autobots came to earth in the first place, they lost the war and the Decepticons have overtaken Cybertron. They're essentially refugees now, and Earth is a place hidden enough that they could regroup and figure out a plan to fight back.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Shatter and Dropkick to Cliffjumper, "Friend" Powell, and Bee himself once they've gotten what they wanted out of them.
  • You're Insane!: What Burns says to Powell, prefaced by With Due Respect, in response to the proposal to ally with the Decepticons.

"You've got people out there who need you. This is why you're here, Bee."


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Transformers Universe Bumblebee


Hiding Practice

Charlie makes Bumblebee practice staying in car mode when people are around.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / TransformingMecha

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