Bumblebee, the first Transformers spinoff movie, is making a strong first impression at the box office.
The film has debuted on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes with a 100 percent fresh rating. That’s based on just 12 reviews, not enough to form a critical consensus, but is in line with online reactions from audiences that claim the film is the best Transformers movie yet.
Bumblebee takes place in 1987, 20 years before the events of the first Transformers movie. Hailee Steinfeld stars as Charlie Watson, a teenage girl who discovers that her yellow Volkswagen Beetle is a giant alien robot. Bumblebee is voice by Dylan O’Brien.
In December, Paramount released the first official synopsis for the prequel film:
“On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie, 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.”
Bumblebee isn’t the only Transformer to appear in the film. The spinoff also includes the Generation 1 version of Optimus Prime and several Decepticons.
Bumblebee is directed by Travis Knight, who is best known for Laika animated features Kubo and the Two Strings and Coraline. The film also stars John Cena, Pamela Adlon, Stephen Schneider, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Jason Drucker, Kenneth Choi, Ricardo Hoyos, Abby Quinn, and Grace Dzienny.
Bumblebee is just the first step in Paramount’s plans to expand the Transformers movie franchise. The studio convened a writers’ room to brainstorm ideas for the Transformers cinematic universe. There are rumors that a film called Transformers One is in development. The film would reveal the origins of the Autobots and Decepticons. There are also plans for a crossover with GI Joe and other Hasbro properties.
Production on Bumblebee began in July 2017 in California. The film is the sixth in the Transformers live-action series. It follows 2017’s Transformers: The Last Knight, the final film in the franchise to directed Michael Bay, who has directed every film in the series so far. The future of the core film series is currently unclear. Paramount removed Transformers 6 from its release schedule and has officially put the film on hold.