Love them or hate them Transformers are a huge part of popular culture and have continued to cross generational borders to bring joy to moviegoers, animation fans and toy collectors for years. Oh and the kids too, let’s not forget who the toys are aimed at…..
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is the seventh movie in the current run of Transformer films but how does it hold up to the others and will it come close to the original animated feature? Let’s dive in and find out.
The Maximals world is on the verge of destruction by the planet eater known as Unicron. After fleeing Unicrons hunger the Maximals, having taken a mystical key able to reach through time and space, lay hidden away on Earth until Unicrons minions the Terrorcons hunt them down. Before the Terrorcons steal back the key and unleash Unicron on an unsuspecting galaxy the Maximals must team up with Optimus Prime and the Autobots to fight back this threat.
The plucky humans thrown into this inter galaxy war Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos), a down on his luck ex-military man and Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback) an unappreciated museum intern reluctantly join the Autobots in the hope of saving the world.
To date Transformers movies have been about big set moments, explosions and giant robots going toe to toe. Rise of the Beasts continues to deliver this in spades. The introduction of the Maximals is a welcome addition not only as they are some of my favourites but they add a new element to the world being robotic animals instead of a version of vehicle. New characters and some pretty cool moments from the original TV series / movie gives those of us of that vintage a reason to revisit our childhoods all the while nodding in appreciation.
The world is once again beautifully crafted and shows us some mid 90’s New York lifestyle complemented with some truly stunning scenes as the Autobots trek their way through South America in search of the key.
Ron Perlman’s turn as the voice of Optimus Primal is a highlight and out does the ever-dependable Peter Cullen for most powerful Prime moments. Optimus Prime has been on Earth for seven years and takes the full burden of leaving Cybertron and marooning his fellow Autobots on Earth without a way to get home. He lacks the presence usually afforded of a Prime as he continues to grapple with self-pity and blame.
Unfortunately, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts may just spell the end of the franchise for me. The story and script are lacklustre giving the talent on show not much to work with. It relies too heavily on showcasing what should be the latest and greatest in special effects and yet manages to fall short when compared to previous entries. This is even more apparent when there aren’t any robots on screen as the “human” moments fail to create much of a connection with the audience and feel a little forced and shallow.
There is also a noticeable lack of continuity with story elements, visual representation of the bots and available characters all out of sync. Visually the Autobots are closer to the style of the original cartoon series giving them a completely different look in robot form with some glaringly painful special effect mix ups.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a decent entry into the franchise and one you can share with the whole family regardless of age. Its story is simple enough to follow and has enough little easter eggs to keep you looking. While it didn’t resonate with me this is one that big time fans will find enough to enjoy. Just don’t go in expecting a leap forward. The original live action is still the better and Rise of the Beasts doesn’t come close to the heart and feel of the original animated movie.
Releasing June 22 in Australia, look out for spoilers as it is already out overseas and if it sound like something for you definitely see it on the big screen.