What a surprise. A Transformers movie that doesn’t disappoint. For so long, we’ve been dealt with one overblown sequel after another and now we’re getting the Transformers movie we should’ve gotten all along. Instead of filling the screen with nonstop explosions and special effects, here’s a Transformers movie that actually chooses to focus more on story and characters. Note to Michael Bay: Why couldn’t you have given us this with the sequels?
This spinoff/prequel takes place in 1987 and it centers around a young girl named Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) in high school trying to cope with the death of her father and having a normal life.
Charlie so desperately wants to buy a car, but she soon discovers a beat-up yellow Volkswagen that happened to crash land from outer space. 10 points if you say this cat just might be Bumblebee.
The car does turn out to be Bumblebee and at first it does turn out to have a speaking voice (Dylan O’Brien) but its voice gets damaged while on his home planet of Cybertron. Charlie does what she can to repair the car and also gove it another voice through the use of 1980s pop hits.
John Cena costars as a government agent assigned to locate Bumblebee after he arrives on Earth and bring him in for scientific experiments. It’s at this point the movie wanders into E.T. territory.
As I’ve said, the movie does slow down and take time out for its human characters and establishes them as actual characters instead of stereotyping them as the other movies did. There’s also a Meet Cute of sorts between Charlie and her next door neighbor who has a crush on her.
Without Michael Bay at the helm, we get a story that makes sense and doesn’t feel needlessly loud and chaotic. Director Travis Knight gives us enough moments with the actors and set up a real script and then he gives us all the cool special effects.
Steinfeld and Cena also give good work and they get a degree of support from the other actors as well as bringing their own charisma.
This is the Transformers movie I wanted to see after the originals and now it’s about time we finally got it.
(Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence.)