Generally speaking, the Transformers movies have been more of a hit at the box office than among the critics.
Until now, that is.
Bumblebee, the first spin-off movie from the blockbusting franchise, which concentrates on the crowd-pleasing autobot, sounds like a roaring success.
At the time of writing – and this will likely change a little – it has a rare 100 percent ‘fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning it’s pretty unanimous response from the critics, something previous director Michael Bay certainly didn’t manage.
Directed by the Oscar-nominated Travis Knight, of Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings fame, it’s set in 1987 and finds Hailee Steinfeld’s Charlie Watson discovering the plucky young Volkswagen Beetle in a Bay Area junkyard.
A classic coming-of-age tale, the unlikely pals soon find themselves hunted by a shadowy government agency called Sector 7, lead by WWE star turned actor John Cena.
Variety’s Peter Debruge calls it ‘basically the movie that fans of the 1980s animated series wanted all along’.
“Imagine, if you can, a Transformers movie in which the plot is coherent, the robots feel like characters (as opposed to gleaming CG creations), and the action is staged and edited clearly enough to follow,” he writes.
“After five rock ’em, sock ’em blockbuster features, it has become clear that audiences would never get such a film as long as Michael Bay occupied the director’s chair, and though he should certainly be credited for proving that a Hasbro toy line could support a massive global franchise, “Bumblebee” is basically the movie that fans of the 1980s animated series wanted all along.”
Writes Indiewire: “Fans of the classic ‘Transformers’ will be thrilled by many of the touches here.
“But there is also now an entire generation of kids who are going to get to watch a girl drive, with a smile on her face.”
“In a better, truer cinematic universe, Travis Knight would have been in charge of the Transformers franchise all along,” writes The Guardian.
The Hollywood reporter says it as ‘all the action and twice the charm of its predecessors.
“With Paramount’s planned Transformers 7 project shelved for now, Bumblebee could represent the studio’s next best chance to extend the franchise, if audiences throw their support behind the latest reimagining of the iconic entertainment property,” it goes on.
“An impassioned ode to both the toys and their era, this, at last, is the Transformers movie we’ve been waiting for,” reckons Empire, in a solid four out of five review.
Though it’s early days yet, and a few negative reviews could bring its score down a tad, it sounds like Bumblebee might just be a rollicking success for the franchise.
It’s due out across the UK on December 26.