Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Directed by Travis Knight
Written by Christina Hodson
For years Michael Bay has brought us the big explosions, huge CGI spectacles, and thread bare storylines that have summed up what the Transformers franchise has been about for over a decade. Shia LaBeouf led us through the boy meets his car / transformer back in 2007. Now over a decade later we get a film dedicated to the yellow Transformer full of heart, Bumblebee. This time we get set back in the 1980’s (trend right now for Hollywood films so pay attention Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, etc etc), with the music, pop culture references on full display. Unlike the other films before it, this one has heart and not just from the humans in the story, but from Bumblebee himself. This may actually be what redeems the entire franchise.
Here comes the spoilers.
The film starts with a grand sweeping battle on Cybertron. We quickly get to see B-127 at work fighting alongside Optimus Prime and the other Autobots. Optimus sees they are losing the battle and instructs his Autobots to escape to regroup later to on Earth. He gives B-127 the task of arriving to Earth first and keep it safe till they reach there. Unfortunately B-127 is crashes into an exercise range where Agent Burns (John Cena) and his trainees attack him. A Decepticon that followed him to Earth attacks them all and in the fight rips out Bumblebee’s voice module before Bumblebee blows him up but damages himself in the process. He takes the form of an old VW Bug which ends up in an old junkyard.
We get thrust into the life of Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) showing her as sort of an outcast introverted teen who spends all her time in junkyards scrapping for parts to rebuild an old corvette her dad and her used to work on together. This is perhaps what endears this film and with a strong father daughter emotional storyline that really drives the emotional core of this film. Kudos to the writer for tackling this with subtly and not using flashbacks, but instead employing a VHS tape during a scene to show us some background. Great touch of writing right there. Charlie discovers the VW Bug and asks for it for her birthday. She gets it to start and brings it home to discover this car is more than meets the eye (yeah I know very punny). She and Bumblebee bond over the course of a couple days and it isn’t long before two Decepticons track him down with the help of the US Military Section 7 unit lead by Agent Burns who has been on a mission to find Bumblebee since their earlier run in.
Battles ensue in full CGI glory, and in the end good triumphs over evil. Yet that isn’t what takes front and center stage in this film. This is actually a film about family, loved ones, and finding your voice. Bumblebee literally finds his voice in a new stereo Charlie installs, and Charlie finds her voice to face her emotions from the loss of her dad. This is quite the surprise when compared to earlier Transformers films and I welcome this for future films. Sticking to a real emotional storyline beats hokey prophecies or myths any day. So this is a writing a movie right review, and I look forward to what else Christina Hodson has to write in her bright future.
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