We’re all pretty much done with “Transformers” at this point. News that Bumblebee is getting his own movie hasn’t exactly made many people all that excited – at least, not in America.
Somehow, though, these movies keep raking it in at the box office overseas, and as such, a “Transformers” shared universe is coming. Lots of Michael Bay explosions, convoluted nonsense plots, gratuitous male gaze, and weird racist stereotypes are on the way.
Except, maybe they’re not. The first image of the Bumblebee movie (inventively titled “Bumblebee: The Movie”, because of course it is) looks so bizarrely unlike anything we’ve seen from this franchise before that there may actually be a good reason to have hope for the future of the series.
Nobody is weirdly oiled up fake tan, or inexplicably greasy. Hailee Steinfeld isn’t bent over in a ridiculous and unnatural pose so that the audience can stare at her body. Bumblebee is a WV Bug, true to the original cartoon for the first time in this longrunning movie saga.
Yes, this could well be the start of something wonderful. Admittedly, this looks like it should be a production photo for a new “Herbie” movie, but that’s no bad thing. Maybe a buddy road trip movie starring a teenage girl and a sentient car is perfect for this particular moment in time, as a palate cleanser after everything Michael Bay has inflicted on this franchise.
Also, of course, unlike Herbie, Bumblebee fights alien robots. That’s going to be fun to see from any director who’s most famous for making heartfelt stop-motion animations.
Travis Knight most recently made “Kubo and the Two Strings”, one of the most underrated animated films in recent years. It’s glorious, and if Knight can bring half of that originality and soulful warmth to this new film, it’ll be amazing.
So, as a final closing thought for the year of 2017, let’s hope for the future. The year ahead of us is going to be an interesting one for entertainment, but if one thing is worth hoping for, it’s that the “Transformers” franchise might just be redeemed.