Bumblebee is the absolute best of the live-action Transformers movies – by a Volkwagen-wide margin.
The Blu-ray includes a host of bonus features (though not an audio commentary).
In Bumblebee, as Charlie, Hailee Steinfeld gives an Oscar®-caliber performance in a movie based on kids’ toys from the ‘80s.
Here’s what you need to know: after a brief prologue showing how Bumblebee found his way to Earth and became Charlie Watson’s (Hailee Steinfeld) Volkswagen Beetle, Bumblebee becomes a fast-paced, good-humored action flick that is filled with heart and action and a wee bit of pure craziness.
Charlie’s relationship with her mother (Pamela Adlon) and likely new stepdad (after the death of her father) feels right; her relationship with her kid brother (Jason Drucker) is perhaps too right, and her burgeoning relationship with Memo (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) never lapses into ‘cutesy.’
Bumblebee – Memo (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) and Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) – Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
John Cena’s Agent Burns calls out the idiocy of the Decepticons’ government allies by pointing out, ‘Decepticons – it’s right there in the name!’
But whatevs, eh?
The action scenes – mostly depicting Bumblebee vs. Dropkick (voiced by Justin Theroux), Shatter (Angela Bassett) and Blitzwing (David Sobolov, The Flash), or the military versus the wrong Transformer – is well designed, and the CGI for the Transformers is more vivid and detailed (and just plain real) than ever before.
At 153 minutes, Bumblebee ain’t short, but it doesn’t feel two-and-a-half hours long (I still had plenty of my quasi-large cold beverage left when the credits began to roll).
Written by Christina Hodson (Unforgettable) and directed by Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings), Bumblebee never sacrifices bombast for genuine emotion, and never feels like the two-and-a-half-hour toy commercial that it is.
There’s enough here to keep adults as thoroughly engaged as kids.
Bumblebee is everything a great popcorn movie should be.
Bonus Features: Sector 7 Adventures: The Battle at Half Dome – a 16-page comic (continued on the Blu-ray); Sector 7 Archive: Agent Burns: Welcome to Sector; Sector 7 Adventures: The Battle at Half Dome (Complete); Nine Deleted and Extended Scenes; Outtakes; Bee Vision: The Transformers Robots of Cybertron; Beinging Bumblebee to the Screen: The Story of Bumblebee; The Stars align; Bumblebee Goes Back to G1; Back to the Beetle; California Cruisin’ Down Memory Lane.
Grade: Bumblebee – A
Grade Bonus Features: B
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