Tag Archives: Transformers

iReview | BUMBLEBEE

Sent on a mission to find a safe planet that the Autobots can call their next home Bumblebee goes back a generation and presents the origin story of one of the most valiant Transformers of them all.

As a movie franchise the Transformers have outpaced any expectations in Hollywood. No one could have imagined that a feature-length film based on a popular line of action figures from the 80s that also inspired a companion animated television series would have box office bankability a decade after the first film hit the multiplex. Five installments later, Michael Bay’s epic has continued to ignite the imagination, and in the latest spin-off, Bumblebee establishes the origin story of one of the franchise favorites.

On a mission to find a safe haven, the Autobot B-127 finds his way to Earth.

After several attempts at elaborating on the Transformers mythology, an intergalactic race of intelligent robots that are engaged in a civil war over their world’s depleting resources, Bumblebee is the first at successfully recreating the familiar aesthetic of the “Generation 1” Transformers many of us grew up with. The film opens with a look at the warring factions on their home world of Cybertron. The heroic Autobots led by Optimus Prime sends his most valuable agent B-127 on a mission to secure on outpost on Earth away from the prying eyes of the evil Decepticons.

As the battle rages B-127, the eventual titular hero of our story, is blasted into space and crashes in a blaze of glory on the planet Earth in the midst of military war games — and its 1987! The military give chase to the alien robot in their midst, but B-127 has bigger problems when an enemy agent discovers his location and attacks, merciless ripping out B-127’s vocal chords and severely damaging his memory processor. B-127 deals his assailant a final blow, but in the end he’s rendered nearly inoperable and goes into hibernation.

Hiding in plain site as expected n the guise of a yellow classic VW Bug, the Autobot is discovered by a young woman, Charlie played by Hailee Steinfeld, and the pair immediately develop a bond. Charlie names the alien “Bumblebee” and proceeds to uncover his true mission, introducing Bumblebee to 80s music in an effort to help him to learn to communicate, especially with his audio vocalizer still damaged. It isn’t long before two Decepticon agents uncover the fugitive and proceed to converge on Bumblebee’s position.

Prequel vs Origin Story?

When it was first announced that a stand-alone feature focusing on Bumblebee would be spinning-off of the film franchises, many assumed it was in an answer to the growing mass-proliferation of the Star Wars universe after Disney had purchased the brand from George Lucas. With the exception of perhaps Optimus Prime himself, it made since that if any of the characters in the arsenal of the toy brand could be made to stand on its own Bumblebee would emerge the likely asset. It also helps that he is introduced the Transformers film franchise.

Michael Bay may have set a tone with his first five Transformers movies, but perhaps passing Bumblebee along to Travis Knight may have been the right call. Setting the film in the late 80s is fittingly meta, but it also gives the mythology of the Transformers room to breathe. As a lead character Bumblebee works really well, because similarly to other benevolent E.T.s, the hero is incredibly relatable, and not to mention very cute. That doesn’t mean the VW Bug can’t pack a punch, and proves a formidable soldier.

As a sidekick Hailee Steinfeld is wonderfully appealing and organically fits in to the time and place of this particular adventure. It’s also a welcome change from the highly charged testosterone of its predecessors. Steinfeld’s Charlie may not continue with the next installment of Bumblebee but that’s OK. The real hero has been established and the audience is already invested in his journey. Perhaps the next time around, the eager young scout will be joined by other Autobot favorites like Wheeljack or Ironhide, before the next major threat, in the meantime Bumblebee can handle it.

Bumblebee starring Hailee Steinfeld and John Sena, directed by Travis Knight is available now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. Rated PG-13

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Trailer | BUMBLEBEE

The lovably fierce Autobot gets his own spin-off in this continuation of the TRANSFORMER film franchise that takes a “retro” look at one of the mythology’s greatest assets.

Ever since the character was first introduced as part of the heroic line from the now classic Transformers toy line from Hasbro, fans and audiences everywhere have had a very soft spot for Bumblebee. The feisty Autobot that converted into an unassuming, yellow VW bug, was known for his quick-wit and skills an espionage agent that took orders directly from the head honcho himself, Optimus Prime. In the series of franchise-enhancing films from Michael Bay, Bumblebee headlined Transformers aligning their causes with the human race.

After the most installment worked to significantly reboot much of the mythology, it appeared that Paramount Pictures, the studio behind the blockbuster series, was eager to follow in the footsteps of proliferating theaters with guaranteed brand recognition, the star of the previous films has finally been promoted to “headlining” his own! Bumblebee is directed by Travis Knight and stars Hailee Steinfeld. The “triple-threat” starlet will be joining the Autobot on his adventure, which is setting up the origin story for Bumblebee’s arrival on Earth.

Hailee Steinfeld in BUMBLEBEE, from Paramount Pictures.

The synopsis describes the film as taking place in the year 1987, Bumblebee all “battle-scarred and broken” is found by Charlie (Steinfeld) who finds refuge in the junkyard of a small California beach town, but it isn’t long before Charlie discovers this is no ordinary VW bug and the pair are thrust into the middle of a new adventure! Bumblebee will be coming to theaters later this year, in time for Christmas.

See the trailer here:

iReview :: TRANSFORMERS: The Last Knight

The world of the Transformers is on the verge of collapse and as far as their concerned, they’re taking everyone — including the human race — with them. How can the two races survive when their leader Optimus Prime has been turned into an instrument of destruction in The Last Knight!

Whether you’ve been a fan of director Michael Bay’s Transformers film franchise or not, one thing is for certain, it was the only toy-turned-big-screen star to survive the boom of the new millennium. Hasbro, the toy manufacturer that holds the claim on the property, also attempted to get several of its other brands to crossover, but Transformers was the only one that stuck. A decade, and five films later, audiences are still filling multiplexes to catch their favorite alien robots duke it out!

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More than Meet the Eye

Perhaps the success of the Transformers can be easily equated to the nostalgia factor of the brand. Based on the toy line from the 80s that gave rise to the equally popular animated adventures, the enhanced mythology that has been built around this property has far-reaching resonance with its audience. The idea was always very cutting edge; the origins of these technological marvels, robots from a far off planet called Cybertron engaged in a civil war that lands them millions of miles away from home, and forced to hide in plain sight on Earth.

The evil Decepticons, conquerors by nature, are now determined to rape the planet Earth of its raw resources in an effort to return to their home planet and defeat their enemies, the Autobots, a heroic group of rebels lead by Optimus Prime. The human race finds itself caught in the middle of these two titans as the battle escalates, and the power struggle between the two forces threatens to upend all the good that could come from these newfound allies. When Michael Bay launched the franchise in 2007 with Transformers the film was an instant hit!

Fate of The Last Knight

With the recent trend among movie studios now to dilute franchise fatigue by simply “rebooting” the same brand every other year or so, dusting off some of the old and retooling casts and elaborating on the “origin story” formula, when Paramount Pictures decided that Transformers needed some refreshing, they asked Bay to “move things in a slightly different direction”. The last film Age of Extinction did away with most of the previous three films core group of characters, and recast a proven action hero Mark Wahlberg as the lead human.

His everyman mechanic/inventor Cade Yeager was a step-up from the millennially marketed hero that was keeping the driver’s seat warm. The robots, of course, are the real stars of the film, but Wahlberg brought a new kind of legitimacy to the franchise and was able to kickstart the franchise’s “Generation 2” act which pushed the mythology of the Transformers further than the previous installments. Though the intention all along to build on the world of the alien robots and their connection with the human race was something that Bay profited from putting forward.

Now with the fifth film Transformers: The Last Knight there are suggestions that this will be the last one, at least in this series, and perhaps this may be true especially since its director capitalized from including story points from across the previous films to tightly wrap things up, but also leave a very important plot point hanging just in reach for the inevitable follow-up. What sets this episode apart from its predecessors is how much more richly developed the story is; the narrative is so much more inviting regardless of whether audiences were connected to the previous four films’ narrative or not.

The Transformers are all mostly fugitives being hunted down by humans who want them off the planet and gone, especially after the events that ravaged Chicago (see Transformers: Dark of the Moon) and have gone into hiding along with Cade, but there appears to be an object moving towards the earth and threatening it with annihilation! The humans strike up a bargain with the evil Decepticons, when they learn that Cade is in possession of an amulet that prophecies the arrival of the “last knight”.

It all leads to the inevitable final battle with the humans caught in the middle and Optimus Prime’s alliances in question!

And although everything may feel as if it was tightly wrapped up and delivered to an end, there is that particularly significant plot point mentioned earlier. Among all the Transformers, perhaps the most dangerous has proven the planet-sized devourer called Unicron first introduced in the 1985 animated full-length feature Transformers: The Movie. That creature we learn lies dormant and embedded within our very planet, and it is threatening to awakening soon! So what will that mean for the Earth itself? We’ll have to wait and see!

See the trailer here:

Transformer: The Last Knight directed by Michael Bay and starring Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel and Laura Haddock is now showing in theaters everywhere and is distributed by Paramount Pictures.