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Bumblebee Blu-ray Review – Generation One Transformers Still Rock!

Action, heart and humor in a tribute to 1980’s culture and more.

Reviewed by on Apr 01, 2019
Rating: 5 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews the Bumblebee Blu-ray for the Hailee Steinfeld actioner. It is packed with fun extras showing how filmmakers created a tribute to the 1980’s original bots.

By: Lynn Barker

During the Cybertron civil war, young scout B-127, later named Bumblebee, is sent by Optimus Prime to establish a base on Earth so the good guy Autobots can regroup. The young bot makes it but is injured by Decepticon Blitzwing. For not telling where “Prime” is, the evil bot tears out his voicebox and damages his memory. Before collapsing, B-127 transforms into a yellow 1967 VW bug. In 1987, he is found in a junkyard by good mechanic, 18-year-old Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld). She fixes him, names him Bumblebee and they bond as two misfits.  When the Decepticons track B-127 to Earth, the new friends must stop a threatened war.

Bumblebee Blu-ray Trailer

Bumblebee becomes a pal to CharlieBumblebee becomes a pal to CharlieCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Warrior in Trouble

Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, are losing the Cybertron Transformer civil war to enemies, the Decepticons, and must evacuate but they are ambushed and leader Optimus sends a young scout, B-127, to Earth in order to set up a base of operations where the Autobots can regroup. B-127 crash-lands in California in the middle of a training exercise by a secret government agency that monitors extraterrestrial activity on Earth. Lieutenant Jack Burns (John Cena) assumes “B” is hostile and fires on him. “B” is ambushed and badly damaged by a Decepticon.  He destroys the bad bot but has to transform into a VW Bug.

Bumblebee runs from Sector 7 soldiersBumblebee runs from Sector 7 soldiersCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Years Later

In 1987, Charlie Watson, a teen tomboy misfit suffering trauma from the death of her beloved dad, finds the Beetle in a junkyard. She used to fix cars with her dad but mom, who has a new boyfriend, won’t buy her one for her 18th birthday. Junkyard owner Hank (Len Cariou) gifts her with the VW. She starts repairs and accidentally activates a homing beacon that the Decepticons (Shatter and Dropkick) detect and track to Earth. They arrive on Earth where they pretend to the secret agency that they are  peacekeepers after war criminal B-127. They will help us if we will help them find him.

Blitzwing arrives on EarthBlitzwing arrives on EarthCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Unexpected Friend

Charlie’s VW transforms into B-127 and freaks her out. He can’t speak or remember anything. Afraid, he curls into a ball in the corner and she feels sorry for him. He can only hummmm so she names him Bumblebee and teaches him how to “talk” through the car’s radio and when to transform to hide.

Charlie repairs the 1967 BeetleCharlie repairs the 1967 BeetleCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Meanwhile the two Decepticons destroy a couple of hot cars into which they transform, killing some humans in the process “I like the way they pop!”. Lieutenant Burns is now looking for B-127. Charlie’s neighbor Memo (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) discovers Bumblebee and agrees not to tell anyone because he is hot for Charlie. Left alone and curious, “Bee” accidentally wrecks Charlie’s house, causing a big energy burst that the agency notices.

Charlie and Memo in the Bumblebee BeetleCharlie and Memo in the Bumblebee BeetleCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Save Bee

Charlie and Bee unlock a message from Optimus urging Bumblebee to defend Earth in Autobots’ absence, which restores his memories. Charlie’s mom blames her for the destruction so she, Memo and Bee leave only to be intercepted by the agency and the two Decepticons who torture Bee to learn where Prime is hiding. Memo and Charlie are sent home but swear to go to the rescue. She sneaks away with Memo and they break into the military base where Bee is held. Finally Burns realizes the Decepticons will destroy Earth by bringing their army to our planet. 

Charlie saves Bumblebee from captureCharlie saves Bumblebee from captureCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Prevent an Invasion!

Bee is rescued by Charlie and they have to prevent Decepticons Shatter and Dropkick from sending a beacon transmission to summon their army. Will they succeed or are they too late? Will Burns finally come to their aid? Will Bee ever reunite with Prime? Will Memo win Charlie’s love? Will Charlie and Bee have to part?

Must Charlie and Bee say goodbye?Must Charlie and Bee say goodbye?Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Bonus Extras

This Blu-ray/DVD/Digital set is packed with fun extras covering all aspects of production including a tribute to 1980’s culture.

  • Comic Book – Along with this home entertainment set we get a small and very nicely illustrated comic in which Bumblebee has a new adventure saving some Sector 7 warriors from a Decepticon. Fun to read and look at.

Bumblebee comic book coverBumblebee comic book cover
  • Sector 7 Archives presents two short featurettes: “Agent Burns: Welcome to Sector 7” which plays like a military video welcoming recruits and explaining their mission. “Sector 7 Adventures: The Battle at Half Dome” is a video motion comic version of the comic book coming with this set.. Very nicely done and voiced.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes offers nine scenes including an alternate opening from Bumblebee’s point of view as he tries to hide and escape from Sector 7 soldiers hunting him. Some scenes are funny like one in which household appliances all over Charlie’s home animate and attack her and Memo. There are some character building scenes for Charlie that illustrate just how awful her birthday was. All are well worth watching.

Agent Burns isn't sure if Bee is friendlyAgent Burns isn't sure if Bee is friendlyCourtesy of Paramount Pictures
  • Outtakes aren’t really line flubs or bloopers but alternate choices of funny lines offered by John Cena as Burns. Some are hilarious.. Well worth a watch as well.
  • Bee Vision: The Transformer Robots of Cybertron – This extra gives us descriptions of each transformer, names and abilities. Then we see each in action. Very nice especially if you can’t quite keep track of all these guys in the film.

Shatter the DecepticonShatter the DecepticonCourtesy of Paramount Pictures
  • Bringing Bumblebee to the Big Screen is the “making of” featurette and it consists of five parts that cover Director Travis Knight’s reasons for choosing to make an entire film focusing on Bumblebee, Hailee Steinfeld on her character Charlie, the screenwriter on her story; having Charlie and Bee bond as friends and adding more heart and humor to this Transformer movie.

Charlie can't believe her car is a huge robotCharlie can't believe her car is a huge robotCourtesy of Paramount Pictures
  • Also covered are: Casting, the history of Transformers starting with the Generation One bots first appearing in comics and TV shows in the 1980’s, Transformer Design, Special CGI and Visual Effects, Stunts, California Locations, Using eight VW Beetles to play Bumblebee, a tribute to the 1980’s in Costumes, Make-Up, Set Decoration, Music and more. This is a very thorough and fun “making of” extra that you will enjoy.

John Cena with Director Travis KnightJohn Cena with Director Travis KnightCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Wrapping Up

This Blu-ray/DVD/Digital set is very enjoyable, looks and sounds great and offers some really collectable extra features. Actors are involved in interviews and all the fun tributes to the 1980’s Transformers, culture and ‘80’s films are covered. Deleted and Extended scenes are especially nice to have and, for fans of the first generation Transformers, extras are especially great.

Charlie, her mom and little bro see house destructionCharlie, her mom and little bro see house destructionCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Bumblebee has great emotional heart, hot action and a lot of humor. Without cluttering up the main story, it manages to include fun, teen-relatable scenes like one in which Charlie gets even with a mean girl with Bee’s help and one in which she learns that a lot of 1987 music doesn’t appeal to Bee. He spits the audio tapes across the room. He hugs her when she is sad. So cute!

On location in San FranciscoOn location in San FranciscoCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

The film serves as great origin backstory for how Bee got his name, how he visited Earth and is a nice lead-in to the films we’ve seen or sets us up for more sequels to this one!  Hailee Steinfeld is great at pretending a big, yellow bot was actually with her on set and we really believe their relationship. Most of us name our first cars and feel attached to them anyway. The film takes this relationship a few steps further with great success.

Hailee Steinfeld and Director Travis KnightHailee Steinfeld and Director Travis KnightCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Both Bee and Charlie are lost souls searching for meaning and they find it together. That sort of thing always makes for a good, character-driven tale. This home entertainment offering is especially collectable so we award five stars.

Bumblebee Blu-ray Rating: 5

Bumblebee Blu-ray and DVD Cover ArtCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Buy Bumblebee in stores April 2nd.

Are You a Fan?  

Have you been hoping for the humor of the very first Transformers movie to return? Are you a Hailee Steinfeld fan? Cruise on by with a comment below or write your thoughts on your Kidzworld profile page!