With all due respect to the fans of the previous Transformers film cycle, this latest trailer for the upcoming Bumblebee suggests the film will be the movie a lot of fans have been waiting for. And not just because Soundwave finally looks like himself.
The film stars Hailee Steinfeld as a young woman who buys an old VW Beetle for her birthday. But she soon discovers the car is more than meets the eye. The bug turns out to be Bumblebee, an Autobot from planet Cybertron. Soon, she is thrust into their million-year war with the Decepticons. Will she survive her encounter with the robots in disguise? And, perhaps more importantly, is the film a stealth reboot of the first Transformers film cycle?
As it happens, Bumblebee is set the 1980s, so characters like Starscream, Shockwave and even Optimus Prime retain much of their classic Generation 1 designs. But the title character is still mute — a holdover from the film series directed by Michael Bay — and the robotic spaghetti feel of the transformations also remains; which suggests the film is still tied to the earlier productions. At the same time, the involvement of John Cena’s military man (one is tempted to call him Duke or Flint) rewrites at least some of the established history regard the US’s knowledge of the Cybertronian War.
But ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Transformers has been re-engineering its own history from the moment Hasbro imported the puzzle toys from Japan and gave them new identities. Instead, let’s focus on how right this movie looks in regards to the toys. It may be enough to bring those who opted out of the Bay films to come back and give Transformers another try.
Bumblebee opens on December 21st, 2018.