So the ‘Bumblebee’ Movie Is Basically an ’80s Rock Musical (Spoilers)
Warning: The following article contains plot spoilers for the new Transformers movie Bumblebee, including soundtrack surprises that are best discovered by the viewer in person.
Just like the robot heroes of the Transformers series from which it sprang, the new Bumblebee movie hides a secret identity. After the film's titular character loses his ability to speak in a fight with the evil Decepticons, he relies solely on a car radio to communicate, turning big chunks of the film into a musical featuring some of the most popular rock and pop hits of the '80s.
Even before Bumblebee and the film's young heroine Charlie Watson (played by pop star Hailee Steinfeld) meet, music plays a large role in the story, which is set in 1987. Charlie's outsider status and rebellious spirit are displayed via her Elvis Costello and Motorhead T-shirts, and her love of both Bon Jovi's "Runaway" and the Smiths.
The movie's stars meet with some help from Steve Winwood's "Higher Love," and bond over a-ha, Tears for Fears and Sam Cooke. And Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55" serves as the soundtrack for a big chase scene.
The Smiths' "Girlfriend in a Coma" turns up twice, with Bumblebee at first humorously rejecting the influential English indie-rockers, then ultimately using Morrissey's lyrics to help keep Watson safe from harm.
Even though you see it coming a mile away -- basically as soon as a TV-watching Bumblebee falls in love with The Breakfast Club -- the movie's most legitimately touching musical moment belongs to Simple Minds. After Watson and Bumblebee save the world, it becomes clear they must part in order for him to carry out future missions. So like his new fist-pumping idol John Bender, Bumblebee says goodbye with "Don't You (Forget About Me)."