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The New Bumblebee Trailer Takes the Transformers Back to Basics, and That’s a Good Thing

Hell has frozen over because I'm actually excited about a Transformers movie.

Welp, here’s something I didn’t see coming: a trailer for an upcoming Transformers movie that makes me actually want to see the film. After five installments of Michael Bay’s gear-grinding, headache-inducing rock ’em sock ’em robots, here comes a Transformers film that seems to have a heart. The film takes place in 1987 and stars Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) as Charlie, a girl who buys a yellow Volkswagen Beetle for her 18th birthday which turns out to be the titular Transformer.

The trailer focuses on the bond between Bumblebee and Charlie, as they must prepare to defend themselves from an incoming Decepticon invasion and a dogged government agent played by John Cena. The film is directed by Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings), who has a long history of working in stop-motion animation, a background which actually makes perfect sense for a Transformers director.

You can already see the clear difference in his bot design, as Bumblebee and the rest of the Transformers feature the original, first gen chunky design of the toys. Transformers that actually transform like the toys? What a concept. The screenplay was written by Christina Hodson, who is also writing Batgirl and Birds of Prey.

Knight discussed the retro design of the Transformers, which was inspired by the 1983 animated film:

“For me that was the touchstone. That was when I was first exposed to the Transformers. I loved those characters, I loved their designs and I introduced my kids to Transformers and the first thing I showed them was the Transformers cartoon and they loved it as much as I did. Part of it is the beauty and simplicity of the design, so when we were trying to bring a new perspective to this franchise we went back to the beginning and asked how can we bring that to a modern era but still pay tribute to the wonder and magic of those original designs.”

The trailer also gives us our first look at Charlie’s next door neighbor Memo (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), as well as Decepticons Shockwave, Starscream, and Blitzwing, led by Shatter (Angela Bassett) and Dropkick (Justin Theroux). We also get a look at Soundwave, with his O.G. cassette tape chest (will kids today even know what a cassette tape is? Ugh I feel old) that houses beast bot Ravage.

The trailer not only evokes the 80’s design elements, but also has the feel of an 80’s Amblin film. Bumblebee stumbling around the Watson residence is reminiscent of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which isn’t just a coincidence. Knight said he was inspired by those movies, and by Spielberg, who is an executive producer on the film, saying:

“Growing up in the eighties, the most powerful stories were the Amblin stories. They had a thinking brain; a strong, beating heart; and a poetic soul. They evoked wonder and laughter and tears every single time. So knitting those two things together: my love of Transformers and my love of Spielberg and Amblin, was something I really wanted to evoke in this film. And it didn’t hurt that Steven Spielberg was an executive producer on the movie! Having this guy who has been an icon for me my entire life and being able to collaborate with him and make this film in a way that evokes what was so special about those movies to me as a kid was a joy.”

What did you think of the new trailer? Are you excited for the Christmas release of Bumblebee?

(via Empire, image: )

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.