Friday, June 9, 2023

Review: "TRANSFORMERS: Rise of the Beasts" is the Best Transformers Movie That I'VE Seen

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 24 of 2023 (No. 1913) by Leroy Douresseaux

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)
Running time:  127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
MPA – PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and language
DIRECTOR:  Steven Caple, Jr.
WRITERS:  Joby Harold, Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Erich Hoeber, and Jon Hoeber; from a story by Joby Harold (based on Hasbro’s Transformers Action Figures)
PRODUCERS:  Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Michael Bay, Duncan Henderson, and Mark Vahradian
EDITORS:  William Goldenberg and Joel Negron
COMPOSER: Jongnic Bontemps


Starring:  Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Luna Lauren Velez, Dean Scott Vazquez, Tobe Nwigwe, and Sarah Stiles; (voices) Peter Cullen, Pete Davidson, Ron Perlman, Peter Dinklage, Liza Koshy, Michelle Yeoh, Cristo Fernandez, Michaela Jae Rodriguez, John DiMaggio,Tongayi Chirisa, David Sobolov, and Colman Domingo

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a 2023 science fiction action film.  It is based on Hasbro's Transformers toy line, and it is the seventh movie in the Transformers live-action film series.  The film serves a standalone sequel to the sixth film, Bumblebee (2018), and also as a prequel to the first film in the series, Transformers (2007).  Set during the 1990s, Rise of the Beasts sees a new faction of Transformers join the Autobots as allies in a battle to save Earth from a planet-eating threat.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts opens thousands of years in the past.  There, the planet-eating dark god, Unicron (voice of Colman Domingo), devours a planet inhabited by the Transformers known as the “Maximals.”  Unicron had sent his servant, Scourge (voice of Peter Dinklage), and the Terrorcons to steal the Maximals' greatest piece of technology, “the Transwarp Key,” which can open portals through space and time.  Optimus Primal (voice of Ron Perlman) and the Maximals:  Airazon (voice of Michelle Yeoh), Cheetor (voice of Tongayi Chirisa) and Rhinox (voice of David Sobolov), escape to Earth with the Transwarp Key.

Moving forward to Brooklyn, 1994: the story introduces two humans that are about to get caught up in the Transformers' drama.  The first is Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos), an ex-military electronics expert who struggles to find a job to support his family, his mother, Breanna Diaz (Luna Lauren Velez), and his younger brother, Kris (Dean Scott Vazquez), who suffers from sickle cell.

The second is Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback).  She is an intern at a museum and an artifact researcher who doesn't get the credit for how her knowledge benefits the museum.  She has discovered that an artifact which her museum recently obtained has what turns to be a Maximal symbol on it.  Soon, Noah and Elena will find themselves in the company of the AutobotsOptimus Prime (voice of Peter Cullen), Mirage (Pete Davidson), and Arcee (voice of Liza Koshy) and caught in a battle to protect the Transwarp Key from falling into the clutches of Scourge in service of Unicron.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is the best Transformers movie that I have seen, although I have only seen three of the previous six.  I liked the first film, Transformers, and its sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), but after the second sequel, Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), I'd had enough.  I didn't bother with Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), and I tried to watch Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) on television and found it unwatchable.  I have never gotten around to watching the first prequel film, Bumblebee (2018), although I had planned on doing it.

There are several things that make Rise of the Beasts stand out from the earlier films.  First, there is some genuine human drama.  Noah's dedication to his family, especially his little brother, Kris, resonates, and Noah's determination to help his family financially makes his decisions seem logical.  Honestly, I really identified with Elena, whose boss, Jillian (Sarah Stiles), keeps taking credit for her work, a situation I have dealt with on and off for four decades (!).  I give the filmmakers a lot of credit for choosing non-white actors as the leads, and the screenwriters even more credit for being willing to depict the slights, micro-aggressions, and job discrimination that talented people of color put up with from mediocre white people.

Also, Rise of the Beasts has excellent visual special effects and eye-popping computer-generated imagery.  The transformational process the robots go through still looks really cool and sometimes mind-bending.  The robot fight scenes rival and probably surpass anything audiences would find in Star Wars movies.  This time, however, it means something and isn't just one long slog of creatures of metal slamming into each other.  There is a real sense of peril for both human and Autobots.  They might die or be destroyed, and the Earth might be devoured.  Plus, Unicron is a deliciously evil villain who is equally god and monster.  I hope he returns in future movies because as much as he scared me, he also fascinated me.

Director Steven Caple, Jr. has delivered a Transformers movie that is both visually busy and also dramatically hefty with genuine melodrama.  Yes, the third act is a bit tedious, but...  I'm shocked to say this.  I heartily recommend Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.

[Transformers: Rise of the Beasts has an extra scene that appears just after the credits begin and also a mid-credits scene.]

7 of 10
★★★½ out of 4 stars

Friday, June 9, 2023

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



Amazon wants me to inform/remind you that any affiliate links found on this page are PAID ADS, but I technically only get paid (eventually) if you click on affiliate links like this, MOVIES PAGE, and BUY something(s).

No comments:

Post a Comment