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'Bumblebee' Preview (Or, Why There Could Finally Be a Good Transformers Movie)

No More Bayhem

Like many I'm a child of the 1980s meaning I used to love Transformers, I remember paying a few pound for the original VW Bumblebee that is still packed away safely in my attic. I would watch the G1 cartoon religiously over and over again and when Transformers The Movie came out in 1986 it was all that mattered in life to see it in the cinema.

To a kid it was a high water mark of everything that mattered, it kept the original theme music, it had other cool 80s music like 'You've Got the Touch." It just seemed epic on a scale like the Marvel films feel like kids today, it began with an almighty battle scene that murdered most of our beloved Transformers including Optimus Prime & Megatron!

Then we had Orson Welles voicing the planet eating Unicron, who was on a mission to destroy earth, lets just say things escalated quickly. It was so well written for the time as well the sniveling Starscream's constant threats of betrayal were realised before the unveiling of Galvatron who basically murdered him.

And there was the shocker—Transformers died in this movie! They never did in the TV show they were just injured and back the next episode, to say this was traumatic for a young child would be an understatement. Also there was swearing my mind was blown when I heard the word 'shit' come from a Transformer for the first time.

In essence I loved everything about the original movie and it delivered on all fronts and I was so excited by the news that new live action Transformer movies would be made and then we all know how that turned out.

Megatron Executing Starscream (Offscreen)

Back when a kids toy was a Walther P38

Bloody Michael Bay happened... my first instincts were 'but they don't look anything like the REAL Transformers' and we were told some rubbish about the original designs needed to be updated.  But then the trailer restored some faith, it was the original voice of Prime although Frank Welker was not used as Megatron Peter Cullen was Optimus!

In hindsight the 2007 movie doesn't hold up that well and each cinematic atrocity that followed further sullied the reputation of the franchise. Even with such a rich and detailed backstory from the original G1 animation and comic's the script writers chose to 'create' new ideas and storylines.

Each film there would be something in the trailer that would make me think, "Okay it might be better this time?" like seeing the Dinobot's finally turn up two hours into the film, suffer from the same "can't tell which one is which syndrome" and then disappear from the rest of the film.

A decade later when The Last Knight was vomited onto the screen the writers had literally made it up as they went along! Let's have Transformers fight in mythic times with King Arthur & Merlin. Let's make Optimus a villain and kill people and let us absolutely butcher the Unicron character.

Gemma Chan as Quintessa

From that time when Transformers could look human

I was done with this franchise, time and again they had produced terrible movies with no regards for the history and something needed to be done.  Finally the studios took notice the only way they could, the films started making less money. While still successes relative to what they had made the Transformers franchise was in decline financially as well as creatively and plans for a sequel to The Last Knight were shelved.

Word came that a prequel was coming called Bumblebee and then the magical news that die hard fans had been craving—Michael Bay would no longer be involved.

It was then confirmed that Travis Knight director of Kubo and the Two Strings would be taking the helm with a script by Christina Hodson who although not well known yet is also currently writing the DC Birds of Prey movie.

Director Travis Knight's Previous Oscar Nominated Film 'Kubo & The Two Strings'

So with a fresh creative team onboard my hopes had been raised and then we had the casting news of Hailee Steinfeld as 'Charlie Watson' and John Cena as 'Agent Burns.' Then we got that first trailer.

My interest was peaked in this first trailer, it is set in the 1980s and Bumblebee was back to being a bug. The design of the Transformers looked massively more like their G1 counterparts and holy shit was that 'Starscream' I just saw?

The trailer had more heart in it than the last five Bay movies combined and you could clearly see the change in tone from the outset. When Charlie discovers an injured and frightened Bumblebee in her garage it felt like a scene from ET. The overall vibe I got was that the pitch for this movie was ET meets Herbie, there was still some similar comedy moments to the Bay films but you could feel the difference.

Soundwave

The recently released second trailer has got me even more excited for the film, we saw even more G1 iterations that look exactly as they should instead of the faceless drones in the Bay films.

We saw Starscream manipulating the military telling them Bumblebee is essentially a terrorist and threatening war if the humans don't comply. We finally saw a fully realised version of Cybertron as I've always imagined it since the original animated film. There was even a hologram of G1 Optimus Prime telling Bumblebee he was Earth's only hope.

G1 Optimus Prime

It finally looks like we have a Transformers film that will please the diehard 80s fans and potentially launch the franchise in a new direction. Bumblebee is due for release this December.

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'Bumblebee' Preview (Or, Why There Could Finally Be a Good Transformers Movie)
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