“Drivers don’t pick their cars. The cars pick their drivers. It’s a mystical bond between man and machine.”
That’s the late, great Bernie Mac there, dolling out some much-needed life advice to Sam Witwicky during the original Transformers movie. It’s one which arguably spawned a franchise of diminishing returns, but for Paramount’s latest gig, Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) is poised to roll back the years for Bumblebee, a 1980s-set prequel that looks to be Transformers by way of The Iron Giant.
And one need only watch today’s first-look teaser to get a sense of Bumblebee‘s measured, old-school approach to the Transformers template. It’s a coming-of-age movie, essentially, as Pitch Perfect star Hailee Steinfeld soon discovers that her newfound Volkswagen Beetle is actually a loveable yellow Autobot in disguise.
Flanked by a host of up-and-coming stars (and John Cena!), Steinfeld and Bumblebee soon forge an unbreakable bond, which is a welcome respite from the apocalyptic action often associated with Michael Bay’s Transformers movies.
Also starring Pamela Adlon, Kenneth Choi, Megan Pryce, and Martin Short, the film’s official logline reads as so:
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 boots online December 21st and shares its U.S. release date with Warner’s Aquaman. The former will also herald a soft reboot of the Transformers franchise, and perhaps more than anything else, today’s teaser is a refreshing preview of what the series looks like when it’s being piloted by someone other than Michael Bay.