Here is the first trailer for Bumblebee, the upcoming Transformers spin-off (the first official poster can be found below). Follow the previous five films directed by Michael Bay, this is a step in a new direction that I’m actually kind of excited for, based on what I am seeing. Despite having things to praise in at least four of the previous Transformers films, including the Spielberg influence found in the first film, the spectacular forest fight in the second, the huge, action-packed Chicago-based finale in the third, or the brilliance of Stanley Tucci in the fourth. I couldn’t really get behind the fifth film, but that has at least paved the way for this promising spin-off.
The main draw is Bumblebee’s director, Travis Knight, who directed Kubo and the Two Strings, and has served as a producer and animator on all of Laika’s stop-motion animated films. ‘Kubo’ was one of my favorite films from 2016 and it’s the kind of project that shows me a lot of potential for what a director like Knight could bring to a live-action Transformers movie. As much as I may try to defend Bay as a visual stylist, this is certainly a film series that could use some fresh blood calling the shots behind the camera.
Based on what I see in this initial teaser, none of those thoughts are unfounded. While those not entirely onboard with the character design for the Transformers may still feel dismayed in the continued use of the overcomplicated look of these CG mechanical creations, there is something to be said for the clear tone of the film. While merely a teaser, there does seem to be an emphasis on a more lighthearted and family-friendly tone. Having Hailee Steinfeld on board as a teenager in the 80s who befriends Bumblebee certainly makes me think this film does not intend to be so aggressive in pushing the audience toward a certain level of Bayhem like the other films. Additionally, the site of John Cena genuinely brings a smile to my face these days, which gives this film another positive mark in its favor.
I always found the first Transformers to work well thanks to a sort of gee-whiz charm that went against Bay’s style regarding the story while emphasizing action scenes that had such a ridiculous visualization present that it practically felt like Bay was very self away in his handling of a live-action Transformers movie. A lot of that got lost in the sequels, but hearing the lines of dialogue from Bernie Mac’s character in the first film again, while establishing the setting and watching this new attempt at putting the awe and freshness back in live-action Transformers movie bodes well for what could come of all of this. Paramount could certainly use another hit, so perhaps this entry will be more than meets the eye.
Bumblebee opens in theaters and IMAX this Christmas.
In Theatres December 21st, 2018
Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Tom DeSanto & Don Murphy, Michael Bay
EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY
Steven Spielberg, Brian Goldner, Mark Vahradian, Chris Brigham
Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Ortiz, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon, Stephen Schneider
Every adventure has a beginning. Watch the official teaser trailer for Bumblebee, starring Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena. Directed by Travis Knight. #BumblebeeMovie hits theatres this Christmas.