This week I had two post ideas in my gulliver: Atheism and Me OR Winter V Summer. The first one (based on my discourses with an opinionated God hater) could be too heated and complex to be condensed into a standard WordPress draft; the second has been dealt with in a previous post. That leaves Bumblebee. I intended to see the picture at the cinemas but missed my chances. No doubt, the film was on top of my wish list; I ended up seeing it on disc. Meanwhile, I loved Hailey Steinfeld’s performance in Edge of Seventeen. This film also had John Cena and the guy from Love, Simon: Jorge Lendeborg.
Bumblebee, set in 1987 and with a real 80s feel, is a reboot of the Transformers saga. Michael Bay is still on board as a producer while Travis Knight directs. Being part of the action-heavy franchise, there are moments that cater to what fans have expected. This means extra-terrestrial wars, man v man, and man v machine. For the most part, the film is a gripping coming of age study. Charlie (Steinfeld) and her humanity moved my friend, who was lucky to see it in the cinema. Throughout the movie, she is understanding, caring, and compassionate towards Bumblebee, who the Autobots sent to Earth in their war against the Decepticons. Bumblebee is really B-152, a highly intelligent and loquacious robot from another planet, someone who could mimic vehicles and take their form. In this case, he transforms into a rundown Volkswagen Beetle. Throughout the picture though, his voice is silenced. He is the image of balance through his friendship with Charlie and his never-ending battle with the enemy. At both times he is like family with also being a gallant soldier.
On the run
However, through most of the action, Bumblebee is a fugitive. He has been implicated and is on the run. The U.S. military is against him, and his friends are caught in the middle. He is the embodiment of a true friend, fighting not only for his fellow warriors but also for his earthlings. He is also incredibly resilient, never losing his spirit in spite of animosity. We could learn a thing or two from Bumblebee. Regardless, I was quite shocked when I learned that Dylan O’Brien played the title character. What a performance though.
Memo (Jorge) had such great chemistry with Charlie. They were funny, likeable, cute, and were lovely to watch. Like Bumblebee, Jorge is a peerless friend, someone who is amazingly loyal and trustworthy. He would follow you to the end, even if your reasons were dubious at best. When Charlie seeks to ignore her foes, Memo takes up her fight. From pursuing Charlie’s enemies, it becomes one hell of a thrill ride. After evading a state trooper, the stage is set for an epic final encounter.
Cena said early on that the Decepticons couldn’t be trusted. It’s in their name: they deceive. The movie could teach us a few pointers about that. As they say in Filipino, ‘walang manloloko kung walang magpapaloko’. Just because they come from another galaxy doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth. In fact, they’ve had oodles of time to evolve far beyond cutting-edge US satellites and armoury.
Just with Edge, I loved Hailey’s portrayal. From an insecure kid who can’t get past the death of her dad to a car-loving desperado to a friend par excellence, she grows a lot throughout the feature. She is touchy about her dad’s things, knocking back Bee as he browsed her father’s vinyl catalogue. At the same time, she does everything in her power to keep Bee a secret, spending virtually all her waking hours with the robot. She also eschews diving as this reminds her so much of her dad, a fear she would go to overcome later on. Though she wanted nothing more than her own car for her eighteenth birthday, she finds in Bee not just her first set of wheels, but her best friend. Regardless, apart from being eye candy, she owned the role.
What’s not to love about it: a hardworking cast, a retro feel, good v evil (again), old school soundtrack, a beaten-down Beetle, a burgeoning love story, and the battle for Earth. Personally, it ticks a lot of my boxes. This is the fifth film in the series. Though it is the lowest grossing entry, this is also very highly rated (not to mention a lot more watchable). Many had even gone so far as calling it the best in the franchise. Fantastico!