BUMBLEBEE #JoinTheBuzz December 21, 2018

BUMBLEBEE is the latest film in the TRANSFORMERS film series that dates back to Michael Bay’s 2007 action-flick. Of course, the films are based on the classic children’s toy (and cartoon series) from the mid-1980’s, and always relied on nostalgia to get fans in the seats. Recently, I had an immense package delivered to my home. If I had to “Say Anything” about it, I’d say it was one of the most creative pieces of marketing I’ve ever seen. Thanks to Hasbro for sending along this product to help me #JoinTheBuzz. You have to continue reading to see “In Your Eyes” what it contained.


Alas, there was more than meets the eye to the 80’s-era boom box, as it “transformed” to reveal an interior packed with Hasbro BUMBLEBEE toys. Each, representing a different aspect of BUMBLEBEE’s personality – loyal, fun, protector, powerful, fast, and fierce.


Also included in the BUMBLEBEE mailer was a note from director Travis Knight. I recognized his name as director, animator, and CEO of Laika Entertainment – the Oregon based stop-motion animation company that created KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, THE BOXTROLLS, PARANORMAN, and more. I’ve always loved stop-motion animation, especially the beautiful, off-beat, and quirky work from Laika. To be truthful, I’ve never been the biggest TRANSFORMERS fan, but with Travis Knight directing BUMBLEBEE, I’m honestly intrigued.

The letter from Travis Knight was surprisingly personal. It started with a description of the power of toys as a vessel for a child’s creativity and joy. How he discovered Transformers at age 9, and spent countless hours playing with the action figures. Knight explained, “Bumblebee was a humble yellow Autobot scout who took the alt form of a VW Beetle. He wasn’t flashy. He wasn’t striking. By Transformers standards he was small and callow and not particularly powerful. But he was the Transformer with the greatest affinity for humanity. He was the one who was most like me.”


Bumblebee in BUMBLEBEE, from Paramount Pictures. © 2018 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. HASBRO, TRANSFORMERS, and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro. © 2018 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.

Director Travis Knight continued in his letter, “at home nestled in my room, surrounded by teetering stacks of tattered paperbacks, splashy comic books, and warped VHS tapes, I would lose myself creating Bumblebee’s stories. For a lonely child of the ‘80’s, Bumblebee wasn’t just an overworked, scuffed up plastic toy. He was fully alive. And he was a part of me.”

I’m a child of the ‘80’s, but just missed the Transformers age. I was a fan of Micronauts and STAR WARS. I saw the first TRANSFORMERS movie, and experienced TRANSFORMERS: THE RIDE – 3D at Universal Orlando Resort. However, the action-packed, explosion-filled, experiences never quite grabbed me. Director Travis Knight promises something different with BUMBLEBEE – an 80’s throwback that is a character driven love-story harkening back to early Amblin films from the 80’s, like “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (after all, Steven Spielberg is an executive producer of the TRANSFORMERS films).

Steven Spielberg at Universal Orlando Transformers: The Ride – 3D Grand Opening

Steven Spielberg at Universal Orlando Transformers: The Ride – 3D Grand Opening

I’ve love the recent 80’s nostalgia train with STRANGER THINGS, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 28, and Stephen King’s IT (my favorite book by the way) that brings me back to my childhood. So if Travis Knight can pull off an 80’s nostalgia piece with BUMBLEBEE, then I may just be ready to take another look at a TRANSFORMERS film.

On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), 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 opens in theaters December 21, 2018, and is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence.


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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.