Mon | Mar 25, 2019

Cinema Seen | Bumblebee - The best Transformers movie ever made

Published:Monday | December 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMDamian Levy/Gleaner Writer
This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie and Bumblebee in a scene from Bumblebee.

Before Sam Witwicky's first car turned out to be a shape-shifting robot, it had its own story to be told. That story takes place in the 1980s, and is called Bumblebee. It details just how the Autobot soldier came to be a Camaro with faded paint - well sort of. The film plays fast and loose with the history of the Transformers series, but I doubt anyone will have many complaints about that, especially since the movie's greatest strength is its contained nature.

It's fitting that the film takes place in the 1980s, since that's where it gets most of its sensibilities from. If you've had the pleasure of seeing E.T or The Iron Giant, you'll notice more than a few similarities in the story. In fact, there are so many moments that play out exactly as they did in those films, that Bumblebee almost feels like a modern-day remake. Then again, if you're going to steal, it's always better to steal from the best. Bumblebee might not be entirely original, but it does manage to craft touching and emotional moments.

For the first half of the film, I will admit I was less than thrilled. There was enough awkward humour to make me consider leaving the film early. You watch as Hailee Steinfeld's Charlie navigates the hardships of turning 18 in suburbia. Her family is as obnoxious as they come, and she's a loner due to the rest of her age group being vapid and cruel. The issue is, the movie is always ready to remind you of Charlie's angst. It's as if it thinks it's the first film to have a young adult main character who felt misunderstood by the people around her.

The first half could've been cut down by at least 20 minutes, but the second half more than delivers on what it sets up. The film also includes sequences that take place on Bumblebee's home planet of Cybertron, that are beyond incredible. One only wishes they were the basis of a feature-length film. Instead, families can enjoy a sweet, simple, charming, and heartfelt story, about a young girl trying not to be quite so angry anymore, with the help of her giant robot friend. A tale as old as time.

Rating: HALF PRICE