• Ben Erickson


From its humble roots as a Hasbro toyline the Transformers series has evolved into a six film franchise, with Bumblebee as the latest installment. Director Travis Knight took the reigns away from overkill action fiend Michael Bay, director of the first five films, bringing back the enthusiastically epic scope of the series to something that was suddenly relatable. Knight was joined by Italian composer Dario Marianelli for their second collaboration following Kubo and the Two Strings, a multi-nominated film composer responsible for a number of wonderful scores, including V for Vendetta, the 2005 Pride & Prejudice, and Atonement. Sorry to say the music for Bumblebee was run of the mill and never left any sort of impression. I do not fault Marianelli for this, at least not entirely. Much of the fault lies in my own expectation of the music. All of the prior Transformer films had been scored by Remote Control Productions (RCP) composer Steve Jablonsky, who wrote some pretty satisfying music and made a name for himself in the process. The retreating scope of Bumblebee gave Marianelli little choice but to approach the score as a standard fare action flick. Now there is some nice emotional delivery in the music, comedic elements, and even a bit of horror, making for a decent dramatic spectrum, but these were all achieved using rehashed techniques heard in prior Marianelli compositions. Bumblebee is certainly one of his less intrepid scores, particularly when measured against his aforementioned works, but ultimately it fits well with the back to basics structure of the film.