Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie and Bumblebee in 'Bumblebee' from Paramount

Bumblebee Teaser Trailer Delivers the Most Human (and Huggable!) Look at Transformers Yet

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To be honest, I’ve never been much of a Transformers fan. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve always just had a block about it. Whether in cartoon, comics, or live-action form, I’ve never been able to emotionally connect to the franchise. That is, until I saw this teaser trailer for the upcoming Bumblebee movie. I’ve never wanted to hug a robot so badly in my whole life. And I’m someone who’s wanted to hug a bunch of robots.

Bumblebee, while remaining connected to the Transformers franchise films preceding it (shout-out to Bernie Mac via voiceover!), has a much different feel to it. Hailee Steinfeld stars as a young woman named Charlie on the verge of turning 18 in 1987. She finds Bumblebee, who has found solitary refuge in a junkyard in California. That is, until Charlie spots a super-sweet yellow VW Bug she wants to refurbish and drive into adulthood.

Honestly, this trailer had me at:

Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie and Bumblebee in 'Bumblebee' from Paramount

While Bumblebee not speaking is a change from the cartoon, it allows for so much more physical expression and emotional depth. Having Steinfeld star as the current franchise’s first female protagonist eases the burden on a non-speaking Bumblebee by giving us a working female voice with which to identify.

Wait. Could Hollywood be getting it … right on this?

This is just a teaser trailer, and yet it evokes the emotional, nostalgic, girl-and-her-robot feels of a film like The Iron Giant, or something Spielberg might have done. Not to make gender-based generalizations (after all, the examples I just cited were male), but it’s entirely unsurprising that a woman (Christina Hodson) wrote this. The fact that I’m already this emotionally attached and it’s only the teaser trailer gives me a lot of hope for Hodson’s take on the Batgirl movie.

Equally unsurprising is that Travis Knight is the director on this. He’s the VP of Animation at Laika, and served as the producer and lead animator for several of Laika’s films, including Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012) and The Boxtrolls (2014). He made his directorial debut on the beautiful Kubo and the Two Strings, and so it makes sense that his take on Bumblebee is warmer, more nostalgic, more emotional than it might have been from a certain Mr. Bay.

Though I’ve gotta say, it would’ve been way more appropriate to have Bumblebee loooove “Never Gonna Give You Up.” It was 1987, after all.

The Transformers franchise certainly seems to be going in a new direction; one that might even get reluctant fans like me on board the Autobot/Decepticon train. What do you think? Are you looking forward to Bumblebee? Sound off below!

(via Nerdist, image: screencap)

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Image of Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.