THE TRANSFORMERS movie series is set for a dramatic change of direction if the first trailer for the upcoming Bumblebee spin-off film is anything to go by.
Out goes the Chevrolet Camaro “alternate mode”, as used in the previous Transformers live action films, in favour of an original Volkswagen Beetle shape, as per Bumblebee’s facsimile in the original cartoon series.
The Bumblebee prequel movie looks set to be considerably different in tone, too, with the franchise’s first female lead character; Pitch Perfect star Hailee Steinfeld is set to share the silver screen with the Autobot Bug.
Also indicating the producers wanted to appeal more to female audiences this time around, the screenplay was written by Christina Hodson, who is now working on the script for DC Comics’s Batgirl.
Also of note is the choice of director: Travis Knight replaces Michael Bay for Bumblebee.
Knight isn’t new to direction, having helmed animated feature Kubo & the Two Strings, but it does mark his live-action debut in the role.
The 44-year-old has a series of critically well-received movies to his name in the animator role, too. He is perhaps best known for his work on Oscar-nominated films ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and Coraline, which was also a Bafta-winner.
The new approach is causing a buzz on social media, with one surprised Twitter user saying, “A new era of visual clarity and women as rounded characters. Can’t really argue with that.”
A new era of visual clarity and women as rounded characters. Can’t really argue with at
— Shane Dobbie (@fortunesfool73) June 5, 2018
Another said: “I can’t believe I’m about to say this. #Bumblebee actually looks good.”
I can’t believe I’m about to say this. #Bumblebee actually looks good, which I know isn’t much when you compare it to the rest of the Transformers movie.
— jason76z (@jason76z) June 6, 2018
A third Twitter user said: “This maybe the cinematic universe I didn’t know I needed … I am IN!”
The Bumblebee Trailer has heart, comedy, humanity and a sense of awe. This maybe the cinematic universe I didn’t know I needed. Add in its from the director of #KuboAndTheTwoStrings and I am IN! #BumblebeeMovie #Bumblebee #Transformers https://t.co/KGoeup2bJ7 via @YouTube
— Joe Vallero (@jvallero3) June 6, 2018
Not everyone agreed, of course:
First they ruined Star Wars, now SJW Hollywood is ruining Transformers with a female lead in Bumblebee. No problem with girls in Transformers. But if she isn’t leaning over Bee with her short shorts riding up, then it’s another case of feminism ruining my movies. #boycottsolo
— jakob (@j_brewster) June 5, 2018
Bumblebee is currently scheduled to be released in UK cinemas on December 21, 2018.