America should rejoice. Why, you ask? Because “Bumblebee” is a “Transformers”-related movie that does not stink to high heaven.
I give part of that credit to Michael Bay. His name is not at the top as director. With “Bumblebee,” Bay serves in a producer capacity.
Director Travis Knight actually brings some credibility to the film since he has already made an Oscar-nominated movie with the release of 2016’s “Kubo and the Two Strings,” which was nominated in the Best Animated Feature category of the Academy Awards.
The main star in this one, save for “Bumblebee,” is Hailee Steinfeld, the Oscar-nominated star of the Coen brothers’ film “True Grit” in 2010. Even as a 12-year-old girl in that tale, one can see that she was beyond her years as a top-notch performer.
Despite her age, (22 as of this writing) Steinfeld is still able to pull off the despondent teenager persona. In “Bumblebee,” Steinfeld portrays Charlie Watson, a vendor who sells corny dogs on a local beach in California.
Fate steps in when she finds a rundown car in the junkyard she peruses every day after her restaurant job.
Her Watson character deals with the daily grind of going to school, living for the weekend and, as the cliché goes, taking it “one day at a time.”
Part of the plot involves Jon Cena’s army colonel, Agent Burns, who notes that the robots are a bunch of connivers, since they are called “Decepticons.”
Cena, like Hulk Hogan, as well as Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock), has made a nifty post-wrestling transition to the movie world, leaving behind his caricature from the wrestling industry.
“Bumblebee” takes place during the pre-smart phone days of 1980s America. The movie also offers a nod to “The Breakfast Club,” which Bumblebee watches on an old VHS videotape player. Also involved in the story is Pamela Adlon as Watson’s mother.
Returning to do voice work is Peter Cullen, who voiced Autobot leader Optimus Prime in the other “Transformers” movie entries, from 2007’s “The Transformers” to 2017’s “The Last Knight.”
The main bonus with “Bumblebee” is that there is not an abundance of locations being blown up. Knight knows how to spin a tale that does not adhere to “snap, crackle and pop” destruction.
This entry is by far the best in the series. I liked it, but can’t give it a higher rating.