Bumblebee looks… good?
If that sounds like a backhanded compliment, that’s because it is. The sixth (!) installment in the Transformers series, after 2017’s The Last Knight, is the first without director Michael Bay (he’s an executive producer), and while it might lack his undeniable visual flairs, it also won’t make “humanity a little dumber.”
Set in 1987 (20 years before Shia LaBeouf wore a Strokes shirt in the first Transformers), Bumblebee is about a teenage girl, played by The Edge of Seventeen‘s Hailee Steinfeld, who finds a beat-up Volkswagen Beetle in a junkyard. And then she and her puppy-eyed robot get involved in an intergalactic war with talking cars and Fred: The Movie star John Cena. That old story. The film has a lower budget than any previous Transformers ($102 million to Last Knight‘s $260 million), and with two-time Oscar nominee Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) behind the camera, a director who relies more on character-building than “big explosions, often in slow-motion” and butts.
Here’s the official plot synopsis.
On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.
Bumblebee — which also stars Pamela Adlon, and the voices of Angela Bassett, Justin Theroux, and Peter Cullen — opens on December 21.