Entertainment » Movies

Bumblebee

by Derek Deskins
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Apr 2, 2019
Bumblebee

I'm going to be honest with you: Before sitting down to write this, I had no idea that there had already been five "Transformers" movies. I thought that I had seen all of them - there were the ones with Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, and then the ones with just Shia LaBeouf, and then I think somehow Mark Wahlberg got involved; but five? How did we let this happen? And Wikipedia is telling me that all five of the "Transformers" movies are within the same storyline/universe. We got to five without a single reboot or spin-off?! Maybe we should just accept our inevitable climate change driven end. Wait, Michael Bay directed all of them!?!

Sorry, let me gather myself. We're talking about the sixth (seriously, sixth) "Transformers" movie, and this one is a spin-off. "Bumblebee" is the most grounded "Transformers," with a heart that is certainly new for the franchise. But, I mean, it's still a "Transformers" movie.

Cybertron is riddled with civil war. The Autobots resistance is struggling against the oppressive Decepticons. Feeling that the battle is lost, Optimus Prime instructs B-127 to escape and set up a new base on Earth. B-127 hits Earth running, immediately coming in conflict with a group of American soldiers. Lost and afraid, B-127 meets Charlie, an 18-year-old girl who realizes that B-127 - now Bumblebee - isn't so much a threat as somebody in need of help.

"Bumblebee" is purposely distanced from the rest of the "Transformers" franchise. It is set in the '80s with an entirely new cast, and even the Transformers that are shown in "Bumblebee" appear to be cut from a different cloth. This is a "Transformers" movie that is actually concerned with its story and progression, rather than just big, explosive robot battles. Which isn't to say that "Bumblebee" skimps on the robot fights (that's why most people are here), but it doesn't just use them for spectacle. It's kind of like musical theater, where the emotions of a scene grow enough to necessitate a song. "Bumblebee" has its robots fight because it's the right choice for the characters in that moment. It's an exceedingly weird thing to see in a "Transformers" movie,(depth and growth, that is) but it is not unwelcome in the slightest.

The 4K release, however, isn't as special or nuanced as the rest of the movie. What we have here is a fairly standard release, deleted scenes and a handful of featurettes. The weirdest thing about the release is how it kind of feels like a John Cena passion project. There are a batch of extras, including Sector 7 Archive, wherein Cena acts as if he is participating in the pre-ride cinematic for a Walt Disney World ride. Compounding this oddity are the "outtakes" that aren't outtakes at all, but rather alternate takes of scenes in which the director apparently shouted, "Alright John, now you can just do anything that you think is funny," and then the other actors are forced to go along with it. None of them are actually "Ha ha" funny, but they are certainly "weird" funny. I've watched them all at least twice, and I can't tell you if they are actually good, but I can tell you that they are decidedly unenjoyable.

"Bumblebee" is truly unlike any of its brethren in the franchise, with a familiar coming-of-age story that allows human emotions outside of unbridled, testosterone-fueled rage to play a part in the world of "Transformers." It is without question, the most emotionally compelling "Transformers" movie yet, but how high of a bar was that to clear?


"Bumblebee"
4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital Copy
$27.95
https://www.paramount.com/

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