'Bumblebee' Featurette Details Travis Knight's Approach to the 'Transformers' Spinoff

Paramount Pictures has released an official featurette, giving fans a peek inside of the mind of Bumblebee filmmaker Travis Knight.

Knight, whose Transformers spinoff will be in theaters this December, has been tasked with taking the franchise back to basics and, in doing so, pulling it back from the brink after a disastrous outing both critically and commercially in Transformers: The Last Knight.

“At Laika, we try to find an artful balance of darkness and light and intensity and warmth and humor and heart,” Knight said. “The idea of being able to bring that kind of philosophy to Bumblebee was really exciting.”

The featurette, which also features interviews with other producers and star Hailee Steinfeld, seems to be setting up Knight as an artist and auteur -- something that has connected with blockbuster moviegoers more and more as "artsy" filmmakers like Taika Waitti and Ryan Coogler have moved into the tentpole space.

It is also an approach that moves producer Michael Bay, who directed all of the previous films in the blockbuster franchise, out of the public view. For years, Bay's Transformers were lambasted by critics and hardcore fans, but made a lot of money with casual moviegoers. The Last Knight's failure seems to have burned his relationship with the franchise somewhat.

“I was a child of the ‘80s. I grew up loving those classic, Spielbergian coming-of-age tales, and that was something that I wanted to bring to Bumblebee,” Knight added.

Some of the quotes from this video appear to have run in the latest issue of Empire magazine ahead of the featurette's release today.

You can check out the latest synopsis for Bumblebee: The Movie below:

"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."

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Bumblebee: The Movie will hit theaters on December 21st.