“Transformers Rise Of The Beasts” is a movie about toys, it doesn’t need to take itself too seriously
Soon as big corporations saw consumers’ large appetite, particularly Millennials, for nostalgia, everything from decades past came back. Some were welcome, some were not and some floundered. In the case of Hasbros’ Transformers, it struggled as four out of the now seven films were unwatchable. In fact, I was surprised to hear that there was a seventh installment. But I guess alien robots that transform into cars, planes and trucks are and will always be appealing (okay, cool) to kids (and some adults), so I gave in.
Transformers Rise of the Beasts offers both heart and apocalyptic tropes led by human heroes Noah Diaz and Elena Wallace played by the fresh faces of Anthony Ramos and Elena Wallace, respectively. Noah is a young veteran who can’t seem to land a job while Elena is an intern at a natural history museum. The former turns desperate and agrees to help steal some cars but winds up accidentally taking Mirage, an Autobot Transformer disguised as a Porsche. The latter discovers an ancient statue that holds a part of the Transwarp key; a key that allows Transformers to open portals and travel through space.
The entire plot centers around this key, which planet-eating god Unicron wants so badly so he can easily enjoy his planet buffet. Initially, this key was guarded by the Maximals (also Transformers who take the shape of animals) on their planet but their home was destroyed by Unicron. The Maximals used the key to escape to Earth and hid it there. A thousand years later, one half of the key is discovered and accidentally activated by Elena.
This alerts Optimus Prime, who knows the key is their ticket back to Cybertron, and calls the Autobots to assemble, including Mirage, who was in the process of being stolen by Noah. Not long after, Noah and Elena find themselves with Optimus and the whole gang, including crowd-favorite Bumblebee. Humans and Autobots team up to keep the key from Unicron’s agent, Scourge, voiced by Peter Dinklage, and his Terrorcons. Their quest eventually leads them to Peru where they discover allies—the surviving Maximals led by Optimus Primal.
The story of Transformers Rise of the Beasts is simple; humans, Autobots and Maximals want the same thing: to protect their family and their home from the imminent end. And while it’s a tired trope for some, I don’t mind an easy, action-packed watch with an ending my 9-year-old can predict. It’s a movie about toys, it doesn’t need to take itself too seriously.
I did appreciate the heart in this installment, particularly the character development of heroes Noah and Optimus Prime, which was missing or maybe not articulated enough in previous movies. There’s also just enough comic relief and 90s pop culture references from Mirage and Bumblee that will make audiences laugh out loud.
All in all, Transformers Rise of the Beasts is an entertaining and satisfying ride that delivers action, heart and a little bit of comedy. The final and mid-credits scenes are also a nice touch, especially for Hasbro fans (who left the cinema howling and shrieking with joy).
“Transformers Rise of the Beasts” is now showing.
Photos Paramount Pictures
Art Mathew Ian Fetalver