The year is 2050, and the new FF25 and Transformers 15 have hit the cinemas. Despite mixed ratings, both franchises are still doing sufficiently well at the box office. In most instances, this is how the narrative will play out, despite rumours of an end to the franchise or a possible reboot. While I can say, that may be true for the former, Transformers has redefined itself, starting with the Bumblebee film in 2018. The saga continues with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, and while it may be another instalment in the ever-growing list of films in the franchise, it does a great job of entertaining viewers.
RELATED: Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Movie: WIN 1 of 2 Epic Hampers
Transformers: The Pre-Sequel
With the 2018 Bumblebee film, the Transformers franchise was technically rebooted with a prequel set in 1987. However, the events didn’t remove the original 2007 film from the canon. With Rise of the Beasts, the saga continues as a sequel to that prequel.
Bumblebee did well as a standalone film, bringing heart and character development to a saga that often added too many characters in each instalment. Director Travis Knight (also Kubo and the Two Strings) did a great job bringing meaning back to the franchise, which started to feel like a cash grab with each new film. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts aims to follow in its footsteps, this time with Steven Caple Jr. (Creed) at the helm as director.
Having changed the timelines somewhat, Rise of the Beasts continues the new progression after the previous film’s events. The film jumps between periods to set up the premise of the film. In the opening scene, we encounter the Maximals being attacked by the Terrorcons (led by Scourge), who serve the planet-eater Unicron, who are looking to steal the Transwarp Key. Things don’t turn out smoothly, and it’s up to the Maximals to protect the Key from falling into the hands of Unicron.
Fast-forward several millennia to 1994 – or seven years after the end of the Bumblebee film – to New York. An ex-military electronics expert, Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos), attempts to steal a car, which turns out to be Mirage. At the same time, across the city, archaeologist intern, Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback), discovers one-half of the Transwarp Key. These two events set off a chain of events that trigger the Autobots into action, as the discovery sends a signal to the Terrorcons of the Key’s location.
The premise is relatively simple, but you don’t often need a convoluted storyline to make for an entertaining film.
We’ve Seen this Movie Before
With little to go on with the storyline line, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts relies heavily on its entertainment value. Being a Transformers film, we’re bound to be inundated with explosions and car chases, and that’s precisely what we get.
Skipping passed the opening scene, the underlying dynamic of the film starts well enough. It’s funny, quirky and with somewhat relatable characters. Interestingly enough, all this early charm is thrown out the window as soon as Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots arrive onscreen.
Where Bumblebee stands out, Rise of the Beasts fails. When you introduce a large set of characters, it’s not always easy to build them sufficiently to allow viewers to feel any engagement more than at surface value. The early interaction between Noah and Mirage is significant but dies far too quickly after a 5-10 ride-along. As is often the case in these films, it attempts to build a relationship between characters that attempt to draw you in with empathy. However, it feels too forced and cringeworthy here.
Without giving too much away, Rise of the Beasts also suffers terribly from an influx of deus ex machina. As a result, the film’s early charm is washed away attempting to fit too many characters and plots into a 127-minute blockbuster, where you still have to make room for plenty of action—speaking of which.
RELATED: 12 Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Characters Seen In The Trailer
It’s All About the Entertainment
Let’s face it; you’re not heading to the cinemas to watch a two-hour Transformers drama. It’s all about fast-paced action and over-the-top explosions. We pay good money to experience this with the added acoustics of a theatrical event.
The film starts reasonably slow-paced for an action film. However, the time is filled with comedic and endearing moments that don’t feel out of place. It doesn’t necessarily build up any tension or fully develop the characters, but a sense of relatability is established.
If you look beyond the film’s shortcomings in its storyline, you can easily have a good time and enjoy the epic encounter. Despite the slow start, the second and third act of the film is all-out action. It may not have the suspense required to make it a complete spectacle, but there’s more than enough entertainment value.
RELATED: Transformers Bumblebee Cyberverse Adventures Battle Call Officer Class Action Figure Review
Check on Those Dates
If there’s one thing that period pieces will always bring to a debate is its accuracy. While quite a few films set before the 1950s tend to have more mystery and fun fact-finding missions for enthusiasts, anything after this date is often much easier to pick apart regarding inconsistencies. And that’s no different with Rise of the Beasts.
While the film itself screws with the franchise timelines, one could quickly look past this concerning the Bumblebee “reboot.” The film was a rework of the original timeline with the reintroduction of the characters and their origins/arrival on Earth.
That being said, the same cannot be said for excusing timelines when it comes to actual timelines of recording human history. Quite a few songs, products and world events don’t fit into the 1994 timeline. For example, a song like Waterfall from TLC is sung in one of the scenes. With the CrazySexyCool album released in November 1994, it would still be plausible to be featured. However, the single was only later released in mid-1995 and reached the Billboard charts after that, receiving global recognition. Again, you could point out that I’m being a little too nitpicky, and it’s not easy to place exact dates.
However, one notable song I knew was way out of place was Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize.” There are specific instances of my childhood concerning this song being released in 1997 that I can’t disassociate, which made me question whether the production team were not simply searching for any mid-90s as nostalgic flashbacks, as opposed to accurate depictions.
Lastly, and probably the most egregious of the film’s indiscretions, was its use of Windows 95. I mean, it’s right there in the product’s name. When Elena uses a PC to search the internet for answers, you can see which operating system is used. So much so that even my wife, a non-techie, turned to me and asked if it wasn’t Windows 95 being used. I replied “yes” to the question, which set me down the path of attempting to spot each misplaced ‘94 reference in the film.
RELATED: Top 60 Most Anticipated Movies Expected To Release in 2023
A Hit and Miss
The Transformers franchise has previously suffered from similar tropes regarding thin storylines and formulaic action. These films are almost always about the action and seeing your favourite Autobots – and now Maximals – on the big screen. Furthermore, the films have always been about upselling the new Hasbro toy range. That isn’t always a bad thing, as these films deliver entertainment for many youngsters.
I often dislike films that continually take me out of the moment or are quick cash grabs. However, there’s just something about Transformers that keeps having me come back. It’s always worth the trip to see Optimus Prime and co take to the big screen.
RELATED: A New Nonbinary Robot Is Joining The Transformers – Say Hello To Nightshade
What do you think of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts?
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts