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What parents need to know about 'Bumblebee'
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Hailee Steinfeld in “Bumblebee.” - photo by Paramount Pictures

THE GARAGE — Of all the “Transformers” spinoff movies that could have been made, “Bumblebee” is a no-brainer.

Other than Optimus Prime, probably no other Transformer is more beloved than Bumblebee.

I was skeptical about the idea of a new “Transformers” movie — the franchise has rolled downhill over the years with little variety between the films after the first.

This is why it made sense to do a stand-alone film with a strong secondary character. Along with having a great storyline, lovable characters and enough action to stay interesting, "Bumblebee" is also relatable for kids.

Many times, movies will lose the interest of the audience with inappropriate content or tone-deaf humor. “Bumblebee” manages to keep its audience in mind while it delivers all the things we want to see.

Here are the elements to look out for as you consider if this film is right for you and your family.

Violence

There is a lot of action-movie-style violence in this film, including explosions, robot-on-robot fight scenes and some man-to-man fighting as well.

None of the violence in this film crosses the line into inappropriate or offensive. There are a couple of scenes, however, where we see a robot fire a futuristic weapon at humans causing them to explode into a large splash of clear liquid. It is not graphic or gross, but it is a little surprising.

There is a very small amount of blood shown in this film, mostly in the form of scrapes and light cuts. The bulk of the violence takes place between robots who fight in human-style, hand-to-hand combat. Mechanical components are ripped from robots, as well as limbs and heads.

It’s not a large stretch to imagine humans fighting each other in this manner, which could have been more disturbing, but it manages to be fun watching machines tear each other apart.

Language

The language is relatively minor in the film. There are the customary middle-tier swears throughout but nothing I haven't heard during family game night.

There is some language used by a few secondary characters to bully another character. It isn't offensive, but it is meant to be hurtful. The bullying incident is resolved satisfactorily a few scenes later.

Sexuality

The sexuality component is dealt with in what I think is a unique way throughout this film. I think the writer Christina Hodson deserves credit here.

There is definitely a sexual undertone present in this film, but it is limited to flirting and attempted handholding.

What I found interesting is that when it came time to make a relationship official by holding hands, the female lead said she wasn’t ready for it and the boy who was trying to hold her hand was OK with it. It was nice to see something other than what you would normally expect at that point of the movie.

Intensity

There are few intense scenes, not only with violence but also with emotional intensity, which is exceptional since the most emotional scenes are between a robot and human.

The anthropomorphism of the computer-generated robot was phenomenal in this movie, and it managed to hit all of the emotional soft spots for the audience. There were some scenes that were fast-paced and hectic, which may give some kids some anxiety but nothing too serious.

Conclusion

“Bumblebee” was surprisingly good with a solid message and a strong female lead. If you are looking for action you could do worse than “Bumblebee." As far as appropriateness, this film is rated PG-13 but could easily be appropriate for slightly younger kids as well.

"Bumblebee" is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence.

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