'Bumblebee' - Movie Review

"Bumblebee" is the sixth of the current series of live action Transformer movies. I was fortunate enough to see it in preview (thanks Christia!). This is the first of the series that wasn't directed by Michael Bay - and the switch to Travis Knight (previously of the excellent "ParaNorman" and the even better "Kubo and the Two Strings", both with Laika) is a welcome one. The first Bay Transformers movie has always been a guilty pleasure of mine - I've never described it as "good," but it was a lot of fun. The series went from that dubious start to bad, and then even worse. Nevertheless, the people at the multiplexes continued to pour in and keep Bay's loud and unpleasant series in business ...

The first movie was fairly simple - "a boy and his giant robot," with multiple humiliating comedic interludes and a huge fight scene with lot of explosions at the end. This one is "a girl and her giant robot," with multiple slightly less humiliating comedic interludes and a big fight scene at the end. This has a smaller scale and more personal feel than any of the previous movies, and better acting in the form of Hailee Steinfeld. The end result is a comprehensible plot that you may actually care about, and enough action to entertain without overwhelming.

There's not much more to say about the movie, except that I'm not really getting the often glowing reviews it's receiving: it seems to me that critics went expecting Bayhem and were so relieved when they got an actual story that they gushed. It's fun and it's not bad, but some of them seem to be mistaking this for a work of art.