When Transformers was first returning to the big screen under Bad Boys director Michael Bay we were all pretty hyped to hear Optimus Prime on the big screen. With over a billion dollars made and 5 films in the pipe ‘Bayformers’ have a complicated relationship with fans. But now with Michael Bay stepping away from the franchise and the first new film out this week, can Bumblebee win back the most hardcore Transformers fan.For anyone who doesn’t know Transformers was a Hasbro toy line in the 80s. Originally the Japanese Toransufōmā toys were adapted by Hasbro for the American market with robots that would transformers into vehicles/weapons/objects, they were renamed and given the slogan of ‘Robots in Disguise’. The toy line really started to take off when Hasbro developed a Saturday morning cartoon show as a tie-in to sell more of the toys (which worked in a big way).
While there have been multiple iterations of the Transformers series with reboots and different time settings the original 80s version remains a favourite of many and has been dubbed G1 (Generation One). It is this era that the Michael Bay Transformers looked to base itself on with the heroic Autobots led by Optimus Prime against the evil Decepticons and their leader, Megatron.
While there are 5 Bayformers movies that followed none of that is important to know as Bumblee takes us back to the first time that Bumblee left the Transformers home planet of Cybertron for Earth. Gripped in Civil War, Bumblee does not tease any action as we see G1 Transformers who are a long way from the Michael Bay versions and resemble their 80s cartoon selves.
With too many to list you can expect classic Sparkplug, Ratchet and Optimus on top of some you would not expect to see like Arcee from the 1984 animated Transformers movie. Starting out with so much action right off the bat really sets the tone for the whole movie and should help any hardcore Transformers fan forget about any other live action Transformers film.
As you might have guessed from the title of the film the movie revolves around Bumblebee, having been sent to Earth as a scout ahead of the Autobots as they retreat from Cybertron. While some of this is the plot of the very first Transformers movie under Michael Bay this time it’s happening again but in 1987, well before the previous films. Yes, this might mean that this is a reboot but this time in a good way.
Bumblebee at its core is not an action movie like other previous adaptions but follows a young female mechanic Charlie as she finds (and repairs) a classic yellow beetle in a junkyard. What follows has more in common with E.T. than a Michael Bay explosion-fest. While there are still elements from the previous live-action films that appear like Sector 7 (MIB of the Transformers Universe) but this film feels like it was really based on the cartoon series.
So should you go see it? If you ever had a Transformers toy as a kid then definitely, add this to your must-see list. While we might be harping a bit too much on the Michael Bay version of the Robots in Disguise this film (while Produced by Bay) is most certainly not from the same vein. Long gone are the shakey too close up CGI action and replaced with moves that could be ripped straight from Rodimus vs Galvatron.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, then the 80s soundtrack including some Stan Bush should.
Bumblebee is in cinemas across Australia from December 20