Cert PG 114mins Stars 3

The Hollywood machine has retooled the Transformers franchise for a sleeker, quicker and more enjoyable ride in this character driven prequel set in 1987.

With an impressively epic sci-fi opening on the planet, Cybertron, it soon changes into an Earth-bound goofy high school comedy version of E.T. the Extra-terrestrial, with some Herbie Goes Bananas-style shenanigans bolted on.

Pitch Perfect singing star Hailee Steinfeld finds the right gear as a teenage mechanic who befriends a shapeshifting Autobot she names Bumblebee, who acts like an eager to please puppy.

While she struggles with school and a part time job with a complicated home life, they must stop a pair of killer alien Decepticons intent on world domination. 

New director Travis Knight aims for a lighter tone but very little kids may be in danger of having their circuits blown by some of the heavy metal action.

However the sparky chemistry of Charlie and Bumblebee means the series has got its buzz back.


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