‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ Review: “An Interesting World Builder”
Transformers has been a staple in pop culture for some time. The Hasbro-owned entity has one of the best toy collections, and a catalog of animated films and shows that date back almost 40 years now. Paramount Pictures and Michael Bay brought us a live-action saga that stretched over 10 years with five movies. In 2018, the films would reboot and Trevor Knight’s Bumblebee was released. A film that gave us an origin story for the title character placed in 1987. Now, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts has extended that story/reboot.
Set six years after Bumblebee in 1994, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts brings together the Maximals and Autobots to fight the Terracons. The film starts with the Maximals defending their homeworld from Unicron (Colman Domingo), Scourge (Peter Dinklage), Nightbird (Michaela Jae Rodriguez), Battletrap (David Sobolov), and Transit (John DiMaggio). Retreating from their home world with the device that Unicron needs to transport from universe to universe in order to eat planets, they end up on Earth.
The Maximals are in a great fight to protect and sustain life, while the Terracons want to conquer planets so Unicron can feast on them. Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman), Airazor (Michelle Yeoh), Rhinox (Sobolov), and Cheetor (Tongayi Chirisa) end up on Earth after Unicron takes down their home. They are in hiding while helping humanity. They are discovered by Elena Wallace (Dominque Fishback), a museum employee that can tell if artifacts are real or not.
Afterward, we are introduced to Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos), an Army vet who’s helping his mother Breanna (Luna Lauren Velez) look after his brother Kris (Dean Scott Vasquez), who has sickle cell. Noah is trying to get a job to help, but due to his problems in the military, it’s hard. He does something stupid with Reek (Tobe Nwigue) and stumbles onto the Autobots – Mirage (Pete Davidson), Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), Arcee (Liza Koshy), and Bumblebee, and Wheeljack (Cristo Fernandez). The group tries to get the object needed to travel back home to Energon, and runs into the Terracons which shuts down their mission.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts then takes us on a ride. The Autobots and Maximals band together to save Earth after the Maximals teach them that not all humans are bad. The adventure is full of humanity and raw emotion. Noah is fighting for his family and will do whatever it takes to complete the mission. Optimus Prime learns the meaning of being a leader.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is extremely fun. Steven Caple Jr. was truly allowed to be himself as a director. Michael Bay’s influence is there in the important parts, action scenes and sequences. The script is decent, Joby Harold, Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Erich Hoeber, and Jon Hoeber contributed to the screenplay. I expected a lot, and got most of it. However, the stakes just didn’t feel real to me. The story is fun and heart-warming, but the villains were kind of a letdown. I trust that if we get a sequel, it will have much better writing, though.
Everything else about Transformers: Rise of the Beasts was great to me, though. The CGI was way better than the original saga. The editing from William Goldenberg and Joel Negron was incredible and greatly helped the pacing. Jongnic Bontemps score was insane, the mixing between the score and needle drops, and the actual mix of Tobe’s original song with the score… The score is probably my favorite thing about this film.
Pete Davidson is amazing, and I hope he sticks around for some time. Peter Dinklage and Colman Domingo make for great villains, but the writing they deserved isn’t what they got. They still made it work, however. Ramos and Fishback were absolutely phenomenal. Their chemistry helped out a lot, and onscreen it was wonderful to see.
This is either the second or third-best Transformers film simply because as underwhelming as the script was… the acting, script, and editing were all elevated. I will always be a die-hard fan with high expectations, but the ending of this movie is one for the ages. I will not spoil it, but I will say… It’s genuinely my favorite part of this film. So, enjoy the film, but definitely stay for the ending. Overall, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is something I think will stick with the general public and overshadow Bay’s work in the future. – Rascal F. Kennedy
Rating – 8/10
Transformers Rise of the Beasts is in theaters now!
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