THE ABSTRACT — “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” is exactly what it sounds like.

The Transformers franchise has taken a refreshing turn since the success of Bumblebee in 2018. The latest installment, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, follows a character-driven approach that combines action, drama, and humor, distinguishing itself from Michael Bay’s bombastic sequels. Director Steven Caple Jr skillfully balances the film, preventing the robot-vs-robot action from overpowering the narrative. The result is an exhilarating experience with a simple yet absurd plot, underscored by genial wit.

Set in 1994 New York, the story centers around Elena, a museum expert who discovers a relic that awakens the villainous Unicron, a planet-devourer. Unicron sends his ruthless henchman Scourge to retrieve the artifact. The Autobots on Earth are alerted to the impending danger, and Noah, a struggling individual, finds himself embroiled in the escalating chaos. Noah teams up with Mirage, Optimus Prime, and others to confront the threat. Their journey takes them to Peru, where they join forces with the Maximals, a group of Transformers that transform into giant animals, to battle Scourge.

Despite the seemingly absurd Transformers mythology, the characters’ decisions are driven by strong internal motivations, sometimes leading to conflicts among allies. The film carries a profound message of seeking common ground and working together for the greater good. While the outrageous action sequences are rendered with impressive photorealistic effects, there are also ample moments of respite in between.

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The digital work brings each robot to life, imbuing them with distinct personalities and desires. Pete Davidson’s Mirage steals the scenes with his hilarious lines, endearing the character to the audience. Fernandez’s lively portrayal of Wheeljack leaves viewers wanting more, and Yeoh and Perlman shine as Maximals. Domingo and Dinklage deliver superbly vile performances as the antagonists. Ramos and Fishback prove to be unexpectedly engaging, bringing intelligence, humor, and resilience to their characters. Ramos adds a touch of pathos to Noah’s connection with his little brother.

While the plot may appear silly, it’s crucial to remember that this movie revolves around robot aliens inspired by a 1980s cartoon and toy line. Once this is embraced, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts becomes an enjoyable experience. Although it may not match the quieter charm of Bumblebee, which focused on a buddy dynamic and had lower stakes, this film still possesses heart and a more coherent story than Bay’s entries.

Caple’s direction creates an energetic and charming adventure, relying on genuinely funny jokes instead of cheap laughs. The cast, including Ramos and Fishback, portrays their characters as real people with genuine dreams, fears, and emotions. The action is wild yet comprehensible, and the film incorporates cultural touchstones to explain its eccentric plot points as the story unfolds across different locations.

While there are moments when the film drags, and the noble proclamations about trust and self-belief can feel excessive, these minor flaws do not overshadow the overall appeal, particularly for fans of the genre. I watched the movie with my eleven-year-old son, who thoroughly enjoyed it. The emotional moments resonated with him, emphasizing that, despite the premise of giant alien robots befriending humans, the film successfully captures the expected emotional beats.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts showcases the franchise’s continued evolution, delivering an entertaining and heartfelt experience that combines spectacle, humor, and relatable characters. The filmmakers have managed to create a fun and enjoyable film that will leave audiences satisfied and eager for more adventures in the Transformers universe.

WORDS: brice.


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