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07/28/2019 02:18:03 •••

A love-letter to the franchise

I don't like to write reviews on TV Tropes because the review sections are pretty much just examples of Accentuate the Negative; but since that's happening here, I feel the need to post one to counter that.

Bumblebee is easily the strongest Transformers movie we've ever gotten. Why? Because it looks and feels like Transformers. It didn't change the aesthetic and look of the Autobots and Decepticons to make them look more like 'realistic' alien monsters, it didn't focus on how cool our army is and how they can totally fight off alien invaders, and it didn't present the situation as a Disaster Movie. Ultimately, it didn't feel like they took something like Independence Day and slap Transformers over it.

Instead, it felt like it could have easily been an episode of one of the cartoons. The focus, as is typical, is on the bond between Bumblebee and a human girl, Charlie. While Bee recovers from his injuries and amnesia, Charlie is recovering from the loss of her father, depression, and the angst of being a bullied teenager working a dead-end job. While this might seem to mean the film loses focus from the robots, it helps ground the story in something relatable, and unlike Sam Witwicky, Charlie is a fun, likeable character on her own, helped a LOT by Hailee Steinfeld being a damn good actress. The film takes ques from typical A Boy and His X movies, but this is something that is classic to the Transformers franchise. After the Bay movies mishandled that aspect, this film helps demonstrate why this is the case, as Charlie and Bee's friendship helps to reinforce why the Autobots are the ones we root for. Given the film is focused on a single Autobot soldier's attempt to fulfil his mission (which is to scout Earth in order for Optimus), the film provides a great contrast between the two sides based on how they treat humanity; the Autobot tries to avoid interacting with them, befriending one and growing attached to her, while the Decepticons immediately kill one for fun, then proceed to manipulate them to their ends. Its the Autobots' relationship with humans that ultimately humanises them.

The film isn't really *that* actiony, but that's because its focus is on characterisation*. Charlie's fleshed out severely over the course of the film, instead of just being there to support the plot. However, when it does get actiony, its good. The first opening scene is the best Transformers action sequence we've seen in the movies so far, with its bright colours and actually followable action. We can see everything, and its not a messy Real Is Brown affair, but a full-on space opera action scene. Its more Thor: Ragnarok than Man of Steel, essentially.

(*which is exactly how it advertised itself; we were never told it was going to be a huge blockbuster affair, the trailers always focused on the bond at the heart of the movie)

Speaking of, the film actually knows how to make you laugh, with a comedy approach which is more focused on character-actions, slapstick, and situational comedy. It makes the film feel more wholesome really, instead of relying on gross-out humour or things which are more niche, the comedy is more universal and something any group can laugh at. You don't have to have a 'specific type' of humour to enjoy it.

Overall, this is a damn good reboot for the Transformers movies. Its nothing at all like the other movies, which admittedly probably makes it off-putting if those are actually something you like (which seems to be the case among those who do hate it, it tends to just be people who were into Bayformers or operate on the mindset those films were aimed at), but this film wasn't made for that crowd. It was made for the people who grew up on Transformers, and for a more universal, wide-ranging audience.

If you want a grey-toned, 'realistic' designed Alien Invasion Disaster Movie with non-stop action, little characterisation, and women reserved only for the Male Gaze, look elsewhere. But if you want a colourful, fun designed A Boy and His X Coming of Age movie with strong characterisation, focused on friendship and growth, with a strong female lead, or a movie about a likeable alien being learning how to survive on earth and befriending/helping a local girl with her problems, or a classic Transformers story about the bond between humans and Transformers, or a nostalgic 80s love-letter, this is perfect. Hits each one of those out of the park.

07/28/2019 00:00:00

I think it\'s fairly plain to see that you made this review in response to my scathing one down below. I just want you to know that I vehemently disagree and would very much like to have a discussion over our difference of opinion.


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