TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS
(director: Steven Caple Jr.; screenwriters: story & screenplay by Joby Harold/Darnell Metayer/Josh Peters/Erich Hoeber/ Jon Hoeber; cinematographer: Enrique Chediak; editors: William Goldenberg/Joel Negron; music: Jongnic Bontemps; cast: Anthony Ramos (Noah), Dominique Fishback (Elena), Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime-voice), Ron Perlman (Optimal Primus-voice), Michelle Yeoh (Maximal Airazor-voice), Pete Davidson (Mirage-voice), Peter Dinklage (Scourge-voice), Luna Lauren Velez (Breanna Diaz), David Sobolov (Rhinox), Tongay Chirisa (Cheetor), Lisa Koshy (Arcee-voice), Dean Scott Vazquez (Kris Diaz), Cristo Fernandez (Wheeljack-voice), Colkman Domingo (Unicron-voice), Tobe Nwigwe (Reek); Runtime: 127; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Lorenzo di Bonaventura/Tom DeSanto/Don Murphy/Michael Bay/Mark Vahradian/Duncan Henderson; Paramount Pictures; 2023)
“I don’t like films produced or directed by Michael Bay. This film is no exception.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
I don’t like films produced or directed by Michael Bay. This film is no exception. Steven Caple Jr. (“The Land”/”Creed II”) directs this mess so loudly you can hear the squeaks from its CGI created robots at every wrong turn. It’s based on the story by Joby Harold. The inane screenplay is by Harold, Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber. This is the seventh installment in the alien robot series. The movie franchise was spawned by Hasbro action figures.
There’s a new subspecies of Transformer – the part-animal, part-robot Maximals, who joins forces with Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen-voice), a semi-truck, and his Autobots to fight against a ruthless foe, the Terrorcons, who are in the service of Unicron (Colkman Domingo-voice), a planet-devouring monster deity. We know all this because every few minutes or so, one or more of the characters step forward to tell us about the story and what it means.
In 1994, Brooklyn, we meet Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos), an Army vet/electronics whiz who needs a steady job in his field to help his mom (Luna Larsen) and 11 year-old brother Kris (Dean Scott Vazquez), suffering from sickle-cell anemia. In the mean time, to make ends meet, our future hero is a car thief.
Things turn weird when Noah steals a Porsche that’s not a sports car but the wisecracking Autobot Mirage (Pete Davidson-voice, has the film’s funniest lines). In actuality, the car snatches him.
Led by Optimus Prime, the alien Autobots, including the motorcycle Arcee (Lisa Koshy) and the Volkswagen bus/mechanic Wheeljack (Dani Rojas), are trying to get back to their home on Cybertron to combat the Decepticons.
Meanwhile in an Ellis Island museum, Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback), an archeology intern, gets her boss coffee and has little to do on the job.
Then there are animal-themed Maximals from the animated “Transformers: Beast Wars” TV series (1996-1999), led by a biomechanical gorilla, Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman), accompanied by the peregrine falcon Airazor (Michelle Yeoh), Rhinox (David Sobolov) and Cheetor (Tongayi Chirisa).
Evil is personified by the planet-gobbling Unicron (Colkman Domingo), leader of the Terrorcons, along with his vicious henchman Scourge (Peter Dinklage).
The CGI-based thinly plotted story (most of its budget went into special effects) blends together a diverse group of Blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians with sentient machines into an incredulous story about Noah, the former U.S. Army private/comms tech and Elena (Dominique Fishback), the museum researcher, teaming up with alien robots called the Transformers and Maximals to save the world from the villain robots Terrorcons and Predacons. Oh Lord! it’s another mediocre save the world sci-fi flick.
It features the requisite car chase. This one is on the Williamsburg Bridge (it connects Brooklyn with Manhattan). It also includes a segment via the Stratosphere to Peru’s historic city of Cusco and the ruins of Machu Picchu to protect the Planet Earth.
There’s also a displeasing soundtrack of 90s hip-hop to turn off those like me that hate that sound.
The result is another dumb and pointless Transformer film, one that provides a Spectacle and some laughs but little else that I cared for.
REVIEWED ON 7/6/2023 GRADE: C+