Merry Christmas from Transformers by Hasbro! If only Bumblebee decorated a Christmas tree, this movie could compete with Die Hard for one of the best Christmas movies of all-time. Seriously, Transformers movies are big, loud, and nonsensical fun. Bumblebee is big, loud, nonsensical fun with a huge heart. Bumblebee and Charlie Watson have more chemistry than most on-screen Hollywood couples. If you are looking for a movie for you and your teens on Christmas Day, this PG-13 movie should hit that sweet spot. After the show, I overheard five teen girls raving about the flick. Hailee Steinfeld helps that demographic, but the depth of their passion surprised me. I give the movie 4 Gavels and it receives a 93% Rotten Tomatoes rating with an 81% Audience score.
The Decepticons win the war on Cybertron chasing the Autobots to the far reaches of the universe. Optimus Prime sends B-127 to Earth. He is to protect mankind until the remaining Autobots can re-group to fight for their survival against the Decepticons. Severely injured by the rightfully suspicious Sector 7 military and ambushed by a Decepticon, B-127 escapes, hides as a VW Beetle in a junkyard, and shuts down to await his friends. There, a grieving 18 year old unknowingly activates him which also sends a signal to Cybertron. The Decepticons intend to destroy the Autobots, and anything that gets in their way.
Hailee Steinfeld is Charlie Watson, a soul lost without her father. Her ability to relate to a CGI Transformer is quite special. She certainly melts the heart of Bumblebee and most of the viewers. John Cena is Jack Burns, the agent in charge of protecting the US from these other-world machines. He is just so much more polished than Jason Momoa of Aquaman. Jorge Lendeborg, Jr. plays Memo, Charlie’s neighbor who likes her more than she likes him. Although likely intended, there is not much chemistry between the two.
Set in 1987, this is an origin story. We now know how and why the Transformers populate our planet. For those who don’t care, the movie also takes us back to a time of the Walkman, telephones with cords, and 1980’s music. Maybe some of you will remember The Smiths, Charlie’s favorite band. Bumblebee’s voice synthesizer is damaged, so Charlie installs in him a radio-cassette player. You will enjoy watching him spit out cassette tapes that he doesn’t like. Given the quality of this movie, there will be sequels. So now the battle is on. In summary, Aquaman makes the biggest splash (money). Bumblebee gets the most buzz (critics). Mary Poppins Returns swoops in with the staying power of The Greatest Showman. Don’t make me choose. I gave each one 4 Gavels.