Slug-Bug!: Early buzz for ‘Bumblebee’…

The main 'Transformers' saga may have turned into an off-ramp, but its familiar-looking spin-off looks to be playing to a younger demographic...

Though the film will contain the requisite robotwar angle with plenty of action, there’s a certain sense from the first trailer for Transformers spin-off Bumblebee that things might be a little more subdued than the main movies to date. Then again, that’s not saying much as the main Michael Bay column of films have infamously been the yardstick / dipstick that other high-octane vehicular shennaigans have been judged by – for better or worse.

The Bay films have achieved a notoriety not just for their assured and often spectacular wham-bam collision of chrome and steel but by casting equally streamlined female performers – often featuring  models-turned-actresses, with camera-work to show-off those attributes. There was some consternation with such sexualisaiton when the script for the Age of Extinction entry went so far as to side-step the legally-iffy relationship between Mark Wahlberg’ character’s under-age daughter and her boyfriend factor by a helpful on-screen explaining the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Law‘s get out clause: hopefully the first and last time statutory rape exemptions and Hasbro toys have been involved in the same sentence.

While keeping the basic premise intact, Bumblebee – due out 19th December – is geared towards a slightly younger audience with Hailee Stienfeld (True Grit) as Charlie, a tomboy teenager trying to find her place in the world and who gets more than she bargained for when the VW beetle she’s working on has turns out to be essentially Herbie on steroids. Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) makes his live-action directing debut (with Bay and Steven Spielberg getting ‘executive Producer’ credits and Steinfeld’s co-stars include John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jnr., John Ortiz, Jason Drucker and Pamela Adlon.