Paramount has released the full-length trailer for its Transformers spinoff/prequel, Bumblebee. The sixth live-action Transformers movie overall, Bumblebee has the unique quality of not being directed by Michael Bay, unlike the five entries before it. To be fair, the filmmaker clearly has his fans, as evidenced by the $4.4 billion that the franchise grossed under his watch. All the same, the noticeable drop-off in box office returns for last year's Transformers: The Last Knight suggests that even Bay's most ardent supporters have begun to tire of his emphasis on loud spectacle over cohesive storytelling.
Fortunately, for the Transformers brand, change is now on the way in the form of Bumblebee. In addition to being a comparatively lower-budgeted Transformers film that focuses on the heroic Bumblebee, the movie was directed by two time Oscar-nominated Laika veteran Travis Knight of Kubo and the Two Strings fame. Knight is obviously a very different storyteller than Bay and the Bumblebee footage unveiled so far suggests that his own Transformers film will be all the closer to his inventive and heartfelt stop-motion animated efforts for it.
Bumblebee winds the clock back to 1987 and follows Bee as he undertakes a secret mission to earth on Optimus Prime's orders - with a trio of Decepticons (including, the flight-capable Blitzwing, aka. not Starscream) and the U.S. military hot on his tail. Along the way, Bee crosses paths with Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), a teenaged auto mechanic who befriends the typically non-verbal Autobot and winds up helping him on his adventure. For more on that, watch the official Bumblebee trailer in the space below.
Whereas the Bumblebee teaser trailer focused on Charlie's first encounter with Bee, the official trailer dives deeper into the actual plot of the film. Much of the new footage featured here was previously shown at the Bumblebee San Diego Comic-Con panel back in July, including the clip of Bee projecting a holographic recording of Optimus Prime. That also goes for the shots of Bee (with Charlie occasionally in tow) being chased by the movie's Decepticons and John Cena as Agent Burns - a character who joins forces with the film's villains, after being misled to believe that Bee is an escaped criminal from Cybertron.
Speaking of which - while there are glimpses of Cybertron in this new trailer, the vast majority of Bumblebee is set on earth and not the Transformers' home world. Even so, Knight has already succeeded in paying his respects to the franchise's larger mythology by returning characters like Optimus Prime and Bee to their G1 designs here. Similarly, The Iron Giant-esque coming of age storyline written by Christina Hodson (who's also working on DC's Birds of Prey) brings the live-action Transformers movies back to their roots in Spielbergian sci-fi/fantasy. The actual Bumblebee footage is likewise more visually coherent and emotionally involving than anything we've seen from the Transformers series in awhile.
All in all, it continues to look like Bumblebee will offer a refreshing change of pace from Bay's approach to the Transformers franchise. Here's hoping that proves to be the case with the film itself.
Source: Paramount Pictures
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018