Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Director: Steven Caple Jr
Starring: Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Luna Lauren Velez, Dean Scott Vasquez, Tobe Nwigwe. Voices of: Peter Dinklage, Pete Davidson, Ron Perlman, Peter Cullen, Michelle Yeoh
Distributor: Paramount
Runtime: 127 mins. Reviewed in Jun 2023
Reviewer: Fr Peter Malone msc
| JustWatch |
Rating notes: Action violence.

During the 1990s, a new faction of Transformers – the Maximals – join the Autobots as allies in the battle for Earth.

For fans of the Transformers, the Hasbro games and toy lines, there has been some dissatisfaction with the recent episodes of the franchise. However, many are very happy with this return to the Transformer fundamentals. For those who are not fans of the Transformers, probably nothing here to convert you.

This is a basic plot. There is a prologue, set in 1994, when an evil Unicron, overlord and devourer of vast galaxies, plans an invasion of Earth and sends his Terrorcons to destroy the Maximals, the advanced Cybertronians with animal mechanical shapes, links with the Autobots who will emerge, of course, in the later-set films that we have already seen. Lots of special effects with evil galaxy-conquering machines.

Then a transition to a human story, a Latino former soldier, Noah (Ramos, not singing and dancing as he did so effectively in In the Heights), looking after his little brother who has a muscle defect but who is a whiz at computers. He goes for a job audition, is rejected, and then prompted by his car-stealing friend to get into a sleek automobile and drive it away. Of course, the car is a Transformer, named Mirage (with an oddball sense of humour and delivery, voiced by comedian Pete Davidson). What follows is a huge slam-bang car chase. And then the manifestation of the Transformer to the bewildered Noah.

The good Maximals make contact with each other, emerge from their hiding places, cars and trucks turning into giant mechanical creatures, eager to combat the intruders. And then a young woman, antiquarian code-breaker, Elena (Fishback) finds a powerful key, the Transwarp Key, a kind of Grail which each side is eager to have, one for good, the other for evil.

Which means that Noah and Elena are pursued by the Terrorcorns, become the ally of the Maximals, find themselves in Peru (with some Cuzco, Machu Picchu locations, added to with scenes from Icelandic Mountain and plains) and continued battles, stances, dangers, rescues, heroism . . .

Which means that most of the film consists of these battles. The special effects are extraordinary, not just the Terrorcorns and the continued transforming, but also the animal-featured Maximals.

The  producers have lined up a significant cast of actors to voice the Terrorcorns (especially Peter Dinklage as the villain, Scourge) and the Maximals (including Ron Perlman, Michelle Yeoh).

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