Transformers: The Last Knight has come and gone. But soon we’re promised to get a Bumblebee solo movie which will kick start a Transformers cinematic universe and act as a harbinger for the death of cinema. I kid, I kid. Seriously though, Bumblebee is coming in 2018, and the franchise needs a makeover. So, what can the Bumblebee movie do to pull the franchise out of an endless cycle of explosions, terrible jokes, and nonsensical storytelling?
If the Transformers movies are nothing else, they are delicious eye-candy and spectacular in their use of computer generated imagery. However, even some diehard fans say it’s a little too much and too often. Another point of argument from filmgoers are the muddy transformation effects. One of the fun things about Transformers back in the day was how simple a car turned into a robot. Bring that back and marry it with the incredible CG. Keep it clean and quick.
BOND, CHARACTER BOND
For the people working on the Bumblebee movie, please watch movies like Iron Giant and Wall-E. Learn from these films. The reason they work is not because of a cool robot (though, that does not hurt) but because the robot has a soul and in the case of Iron Giant the robot bonds with a human. Create this relationship with Bumblebee and one or more characters. Make us care about this and then put it through hell.
KEEP IT FAST & FURIOUS
If you’ve read this far, you might be thinking “tone down the CG?” “Add character bonding?” Don’t make Transformers boring! It’s the opposite, the ideas here are to streamline the Bumblebee movie, so it retains the frenetic action but adds a little more story that doesn’t become a convoluted mess.
My Pitch For The Bumblebee Movie
It’s several years after the events in Transformers 5. Man and machine are working in harmony, and the world is on its way to a progressive society. New technologies make it possible to end hunger and even colonize Mars. However, a rash of violence by an extremist group is causing concern.
The film centers around AGENT, a gruff investigator who works alongside the machines, specifically, Bumblebee. The EXTREMISTS are trying to get their hands on a weapon that would give them incredible power. AGENT and Bumblebee are tasked with recovering SCIENTIST, one of the creators of the weapon.
When Act 1 ends we meet SCIENTIST and learn that weapon is a nano-virus that could kill all the machines. The EXTREMISTS appear, and they are lead by Noonan Cain, a cyborg who dreams of a world with a new master life-form. Bumblebee, SCIENTIST, and AGENT escape, but it sets off …
An epic chase sequence the likes not seen since Mad Max: Fury Road. It turns out, under Cain’s control are three Transformers, Barricade, Drift and Hot Rod. The high-tempo sequence runs us through the ruins of cities and ends when the group escapes into the Seattle Underground.
During this sequence we see the new transformation process and learn that Bumblebee’s occupants remain inside when he’s in robot form, making the Transformers into Mech-like machines ala Pacific Rim. Humans can control certain weapon systems to allow Bumblebee’s other systems to work at optimal levels.
While underground, Bumblebee reveals to SCIENTIST that AGENT lost his family in the events of Transformers 5 while helping the robot. AGENT and Bumblebee have been together ever since. SCIENTIST then reveals that the virus and Cain were working under the order of a shadow government. The virus was meant to be a “precaution, ” but it was Cain’s plan to steal it for himself. SCIENTIST destroys the data, but there is a backup in a facility in the Rocky Mountains.
On the road to the Rockies, the EXTREMISTS attack and another epic chase sequence begins. Bumblebee and the group are cornered at the Hoover Dam when AGENT has a terrible idea. They destroy the damn and race against the rushing water that takes out the EXTREMISTS. AGENT and the group survive and reach the facility.
In Act 3, AGENT and SCIENTIST head down into the facility while Bumblebee keeps watch. As it turns out, Cain is already in the lab with the virus in hand. Outside, Bumblebee is ambushed by the three Transformers.
The final act bounces between Bumblebee’s battle against his own and the fight for the virus. Cain is killed by AGENT who manages to inject the virus into him, causing his machine parts to fail and release his control over the Transformers. Barricade and Drift retreat, but the third, Hot Rod, is too corrupted and continues to fight. Scientists destroys all information regarding the virus.
Bumblebee and Hot Rod ruthlessly fight back and forth. AGENT and SCIENTIST are trying to deliver the last of the virus that will kill Hot Rod. Bumblebee orders AGENT to stop, hoping he can save his friend Hot Rod, but after Hot Rod kills SCIENTIST (which gives her character redemption for the guilt of creating the virus in the first place), Bumblebee is forced to kill Hot Rod.
Bumblebee and AGENT ride off into the sunset.
In an after credits scene, Barricade and Drift are seen walking together when their eyes change color, signifying they’re back under the control of Cain.
In the wreckage of the storage facility, Cain’s cyborg eye flickers on and off … the on.