"Bumblebee" September 24 Trailer Analysis
"Bumblebee" Movie September 24, 2018 Trailer Analysis
On September 24, 2018 the latest trailer for the upcoming live action "Bumblebee" movie dropped online and proceeded to take fan expectations and erm...transform them. While there had been previous teasers and a trailer, the revealed only a fraction of what we get to see in this trailer. Check it out in the embed below if you have not seen it yet, then proceed to my analysis of several key points in the trailer.
A Girl and her Car
In interviews about the Transformers films, screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman mentioned that Steven Spielberg attracted them to the project by calling it a story about "a boy and his car". This provided an emotional touch point for viewers to be drawn into the original 2007 live action film. Now over ten years later history is repeating itself where our new leading human character, Charlie gets her first car in the form of Bumblebee with a Volkswagon Beetle disguise. Between this and other scenes showing Bumblebee and Charlie interacting (most notably, him trying to brush sand out of her hair) it really shows the two have a strong bond and I am looking forward to moments like this that use emotion as a hook rather than giant explosions.
The mysterious government organization Sector 7 was a big part of the first live action movie, and as we saw the character of Agent Simmons in other films we learned more and more that they had been aware of Transformers for a long time. Their appearance in this film reinforces this idea since the film is set in 1987 and they appear to be (inadvertently) working with the Decepticons.
A Sense of Fun
As the live action Transformers films moved forward, they began to move away from some of the more humorous aspects that were seen in the first movie. It looks like this movie will be featuring some of this humor while also showing us the bond between Bumblebee and Charlie growing. Their scene on the beach, the walk through the woods - it all speaks to two friends where one just happens to be a giant robot.
Decepticons are Deceptive
Despite their affiliation name, Decepticons really did not spend a lot of time in Transformers history really deceiving many people. While some shows toyed with this idea now and then (such as Soundwave using his radio form to infiltrate the Ark early on) for the most part they generally just went in guns blazing into conflicts. This small nugget of a scene between Sector 7 and the Decepticons show them tricking the humans into hunting Bumblebee for them. This is brilliant as I am sure they could easily take down 'bee on their own - but why risk their own skidplates when they can send in others to do the dirty work for them? I really love this deception and twist on what could have been a very "paint by the numbers" story.
We get to see a brief shot of the planet Cybertron from space as (what looks like) some type of shuttle pod escapes orbit. Take a careful look at the planet and you will note "openings" towards the middle revealing light coming out from inside the planet. Now take a look at the bottom and you'll see what looks like a chunk torn out of it. These are both callbacks to the way Cybertron was drawn in the G1 cartoon series. It is so quick it is almost an Easter Egg, but as an Old Skool G1 fan I really appreciated the nod.
One of the biggest critiques the live action Transformers films have endured for years are the aesthetics of the Transformers themselves. Whether or not you liked them, the designs were a radical departure from the traditional designs of the characters in other lines like "Generation One" or even "Beast Machines" (which was often seen as a very extreme reinterpretation of Transformers designs). For years fans have wanted to see what more "Generation One" styled interpretations of their favorite characters would look like on screen - and now we know! This trailer features Shockwave standing with Seekers all featuring classic design cues from the G1 series (there's even a Conehead!). Soundwave "ejects" Ravage from his chest compartment and the Seekers transform into scifi three sided jets. Even Cybertron's surface looks more like the dark, mechanical world we are used to seeing in Generation One instead of the hexagon laced planet seen in previous films. It is likely these scenes are a flashback that will only last a few minutes, but it will still be awesome to see them on the big screen!
Optimus Prime Confirmed
Autobot Leader Optimus Prime not only appears in the Cybertron flashback, but he also appears as a hologram on Earth speaking to Bumblebee. This scene tells us a couple of things. First, Optimus is voiced by Peter Cullen (which was kind of given away at SDCC). Second, it indicates that Optimus himself may not be on Earth (yet), which is appropriate if we are to assume this is in the same timeline as the 2007 live action film (or some version of it). In that movie, Optimus does not show up on Earth until after Bumblebee is on the planet. I am very interested to see how this story weaves in Optimus and other Autobots into the narrative.
While many elements of "Bumblebee" appear to differ from the previous live action films, one thing will still be present: the sometimes chaotic and crazy action sequences! Seeing Bumblebee and Dropkick pummeling each other as Charlie runs away recalls scenes of Bumblebee defending Sam against Barricade. Humor and scifi fun is great, but ultimately fans want to see some action!
As the torrent of "Bumblebee" movie updates floods the internet, an alternate trailer for the International market has been posted online revealing even more footage!
The Decepticon that many fans assumed was Starscream was later revealed to be Blitzwing. Whatever name you call him, it seems that he will appear early on in the film to give Bumblebee a thrashing. Not only does this scene give us a good idea of his power level, but it also shows us that the character appears early in the film, before Bumblebee scans his Volkswagon Beetle alt-mode. Even better? This trailer also gives us our first nugget of dialogue from Blitzwing as voiced by Transformers veteran David Sobolov!
In what feels like a throwaway scene at first, we see Bumblebee's view of a "Memory Core Critical Failure". This screen is both odd and interesting at the same time. First - why is this not in a Cybertronian language instead of English (and in a rather retro set of fonts at that)? Of course, the "real world" answer is so the audience can relate to it and read it. Putting that odd bit of logic aside, there is some interesting information here. In the trailer, Optimus Prime refers to Bumblebee as "B-127" and in this screen we see the "OS" (Operating System, presumably) is 127 - so is each "identity" or "personality" an "OS" on Cybertron?
Also, the memory failure would actually explain an oddity in "The Last Knight". In "The Last Knight" we see Bumblebee and Hot Rod fighting side by side in a flashback scene, however when Bumblebee and Hot Rod reunite, there was no real acknowledgement on the part of either character that they had been comrades. However, if Bumblebee's memory banks were damaged in the 80's, it would make sense that perhaps he "forgot" his friend who he would see decades later. All that said, I acknowledge that I am giving this particular thread far more thought than the writers may have and I am assuming this film is "in continuity" with all the previous films.
More Generation One influence
We get a few more shots of Cybertron in this trailer, showing a more G1 like surface with criss crossing walkways and towering buildings. This also includes a quick look at Optimus Prime's rifle. Why is this significant? The back of the rifle has a unique design that comes right from the original G1 Optimus Prime's action figure rifle accessory! A full body view of Optimus also shows us more G1-esque features such as "vent panels" and truck wheels on his legs and windows on his chest!
Love it or hate it, this trailer has definitely stirred up a lot of discussion amongst Transformers fans and it has both increased and dampened enthusiasm depending on who you talk to. I personally plan to see this film day one!
On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.
Director: Travis Knight
Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Ortiz, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon, Stephen Schneider
"Bumblebee" opens December 21, 2018 in the United States.