Prepare for an exhilarating ’90s globetrotting adventure with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, the highly anticipated film that brings back the beloved Autobots and introduces a whole new faction of Transformers known as the Maximals, who many might recognize from the hit series Beast Wars. Directed by Steven Caple Jr. and featuring a star-studded cast including Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, this action-packed spectacle captivates audiences with jaw-dropping visuals and cinematography.
As the battle for Earth rages on, the Autobots and Maximals must join forces to defend the planet against a world-eating threat, Unicron and his Terracon emissaries. With stunning visuals, explosive action sequences, and a thrilling storyline, the film is awesome and features a wonderfully surprising ending that will blow fans’ minds.
The Action Has Never Looked So Good
The aspects of the film that truly impressed and pleased me are the cinematography and the visuals. The visuals do not seem to be a huge upgrade from any of the previous films. The improvements are subtle and are more along the lines that not noticing unless it’s bad. The fact that you can’t tell there are improvements in the CGI and visuals is great. But where the movie steps up, is the use of the visuals, and in creating scale. This is crucial with a character like Unicron, and this is easily the best rendering of a galactic-level scale and threat.
The Last Night did have somewhat of an intergalactic scale and threat, but it didn’t feel grand or make the characters feel smaller in comparison. Rise of the Beasts does it on many levels, from characters to locations, and then to the interplanetary scale. I can’t explain what Steven Caple Jr. did to create that feeling, but he, Enrique Chediak, and the rest of their team nailed it.
But what really makes the difference in the visuals is that we actually get to see them in all of their glory! I believe Michael Bay has one of the best eyes for cinematography in the industry. His camera work is great. But for some reason in the Transformers franchise, his incredible ability with the camera is used to pull away from the giant robots having epic battles! Yes, there are some good fight scenes, especially Bumblee taking out Soundwave in Dark of the Moon. But most of the time it was panning and shaky came with the action happening in the background and being harshly cut away from.
Luckily, Rise of the Beasts does not have that problem. No harsh cuts jarringly show you some random angle of the fight or action. Instead, we get a long shot showing the vast battlefield or a full-on combo of a giant robot beating up another giant robot. It is absolutely glorious. No shaky cam to hide choppy CGI or anything. We get to see and experience it all and it is vindicating!
Bumblee’s Heart Continues to Guide the Franchise
This film is a direct sequel to Bumblebee, and it carries the spirit of the film despite being a lot more like the other films in the franchise. Rise of the Beasts was bold to make a special object and have to duke it out over the special object. The plot of the majority of these Transformers movies is, humans have or know about the special object, and they team up with the Autobots to get/protect the object. Then the bad guys get the object, and there’s a huge fight to prevent the worst-case scenario of what the super object can bring.
It’s pretty impossible to tell which of the first five films I’m talking about. Four out of five of them follow that plot to a T. Well this film does too. However, it feels different; or at least different enough to distinguish this film and, in my opinion, makes it better. I am not necessarily against a formula, as most franchises tend to follow their own. It’s honestly what we love about them. However, it has to feel unique enough that it doesn’t feel lazy or uninspired. Rise of the Beasts found a way to refresh the formula by infusing the heart, care, and coherence established by Bumblebee.
Maximals Not Maximized
But the film is not without its flaws. The main flaw, not enough Maximals. While this is definitely a personal opinion and strongly attached to my fandom of Beast Wars, I feel it plays into the overall impact of the story. I’ll start with my personal views because I think many will share them. First off, where is Rattrap? He’s one of the original members of the Beast Wars team. It is Optimus Primal Rhinox, Cheetor, and Rattrap. While Airazor is great, especially with Michelle Yeoh, no Rattrap seems DUMB.
Screentime-wise, it’s like 85% Autobots to 15% Transformers. Yeoh and Ron Perlman were really good casting choices. Perlman especially was a good parallel to the legendary Peter Cullen’s Optimus. However, if it was Garry Chalk, it would be the ultimate millennial bait. Anyways, other than Perlman and Yeoh, I don’t know the difference between Rhinox and Cheetor’s voices because they only get maybe two lines each. It really didn’t matter who played them. David Sobolov played Depth Charge in Beast Wars, so it was cool to have someone from the original cast back. But they seemed to have reduced his lines.
But outside of my personal gripes about not being Beast Wars enough, there is not enough Beast Wars to fulfill the story of the film. There are lines in the film that hint at other Maximals, but only one other Maximal is seen and they were not in the original series at all. Visually speaking, he’s barely distinguishable from one of the four Maximals they do feature in the film. So it feels like a wasted opportunity to utilize one of the recognized characters.
Then later, other characters are added, with some similarities or coincidental connections to other Beast Wars characters like Battletrap, and there is a story element that would make perfect sense for maybe Rattrap to be Battletrap. That and the mention of other Maximals would have worked together perfectly and added a tremendous amount of gravitas to the story as well as incredible weight to the stakes. Especially with what happens to the first Maximal the Autobots meet. But it’s not in the movie. Hopefully, there are deleted scenes or a director’s cut that expand on it. Or it’s saved for a Beast Wars spin-off.
The film doesn’t need a lot more Beast Wars, but just a bit more to fill in the gaps would have taken Transformers: Rise of the Beasts from good, to great.
The Spark is Stronger Than Ever
Even with the Maximal minimalism, Transformers: Rise of the Beast is still an awesome Transformers movie. The franchise has never felt more coherent and cohesive, and I can’t remember being this excited for more Robots in Disguise since the first film. With amazing visuals, a strong cast, and a mind-blowing surprise ending, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is sure to be a fan favorite of the live-action franchise.
For finally letting us fully see and experience the awesome action, but for not having enough Beast Wars in the story where it obviously would fill in and improve it, I give Transformers: Rise of the Beasts a 7/10.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts finally hits theaters on June 9, 2023.
About Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
Release date: June 9, 2023, exclusively in theaters
Director: Steven Caple Jr.
Cinematography: Enrique Chediak
Production: Skydance Media, eOne
Distribution: Paramount Pictures
Runtime: 2h 16m (132m)
Post Credits: 1 mid-credits
Cast: Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Luna Lauren Velez, Dean Scott Vazquez, Tobe Nwigwe, Peter Cullen, Ron Perlman, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Yeoh, Liza Koshy, John DiMaggio, David Sobolov, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Pete Davidson, Cristo Fernández, Tongayi Chi
Returning to the action and spectacle that have captured moviegoers around the world, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will take audiences on a ‘90s globetrotting adventure with the Autobots and introduce a whole new faction of Transformers – the Maximals – to join them as allies in the existing battle for earth. Directed by Steven Caple Jr. and starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, the film arrives in theatres June 9, 2023.
Are you excited about Transformers: Rise of the Beasts? Were you Beast Wars fan? Did you already get the toys for the movie? Let us know your thoughts and immediately tag us with your reaction to the ending on social media.