“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” is a Surprisingly Fun, Summer Blockbuster
With a nice balance between story, spectacle, and character, “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” is a surprisingly fun, summer blockbuster.
“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” Review
Set seven years following the events of 2018’s “Bumblebee” …
“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts”, continues following the Autobots led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen). After discovering a way off of Earth, they soon become embroiled in a race against time against Scourge (Peter Dinklage) and the planet eater Unicron (Colman Dolmingo) as both groups search for a MacGuffin that will allow them to leave the planet. But, between all of this is, Noah (Anthony Ramos), a former soldier going through hard times, and Elena (Dominique Fishback), a museum architect’s assistant.
Bringing these forces together, are a new group of Transformers – the Maximals – led by Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman).
A BALANCING ACT
Coming off the success of 2018’s Bumblebee, which semi-rebooted the franchise …
“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” returns to the disaster movie-style formula in which the Transformers themselves would be the disaster. But, director Steven Caple Jr. and screenwriters Joby Harold, Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Erich, and Jon Hoeber manage to balance story, spectacle, and character. All of that, while delivering a surprisingly fun, summer blockbuster, one filled with a ton of action and some major surprises!
Taking inspiration from the “Transformers: Beast Wars” franchise in the early 2000s, the story maintains a strong focus between Optimus & the Autobots as well as Noah (Ramos) and Elena (Fishback), with Optimus and Noah’s arcs actually balancing themselves out. It’s not the most complex character arc, but it does bring out some heart.
SOME MORE BALANCE AND CONSISTENCY
Additionally, Enrique Chediak and Sean Haworth (both of which worked on 2018’s “Bumblebee”) return as cinematographer and production designer …
With Haworth and company, bringing to life 1990s New York and Peru as well as to the Transformers, combining aspects of their traditional Generation 1 form with the muted, realistic look from the previous films.
As for Chediak and company, the cinematographer complements Haworth’s design by displaying a grungy, grey look and contrasting it with the vast greenness of the hills of Peru.
But, Haworth and Chediak weren’t the only Transformers veterans to return as editors Joel Negron and William Goldberg, editors on 2011’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon“, returning as well. The four of them provided some consistency, especially when it came to integrating these aspects with the visual effects department led by VFX supervisor Gary Brozenich.
EPIC SCORE CONSISTENCY
Produced by composer Steve Jablonsky (who scored the Michael Bay-era films) and Black Panther composer Ludwig Goransson …
Composer Jongnic Bontemps’ score mixes in a traditional orchestra while adding in the Transformers sound design. This results in an epic, pulse-pounding score that keeps the viewer on the edge of their seats. However, a side-effect of the score echoing Jablonsky’s is that it’s a bit similar to the score from the 2007 film. But luckily, Bomtemps and company manage to counter this, by utilizing trumpets and other instruments. And then finally, along with the score, is an amazing soundtrack with several 90s-era hip-hop songs being used throughout.
As for the cast, everyone came to play with Anthony Ramos and Dominque Fishback as the leads.
The two deliver some good performances, having nice chemistry with each other and other members of the cast. Most specifically with Ramos, it was with Pete Davidson’s Mirage and Dean Scott Vasquez’s Kris, Noah’s younger brother. Whereas with Fishback, it was with Michelle Yeoh’s Airazor. And with Davidson and Yeoh, that brings us to the voice cast.
Leading the charge is Peter Cullen, who reprises his role as Optimus Prime. Cullen brings pathos to both being a leader and also someone with regret. This is also echoed in Ron Perlman’s performance as Optimus Primal. As for the rest of the voice cast: Peter Dinklage and Colman Dolmingo were menacing as Scourge and Unicron, while Michaela Jaé Rodriguez displayed a ton of joy as Nighbird.
Meanwhile, Liza Koshy, John DiMaggio, David Sobolov, Cristo Fernández, and Tongayi Chirisa were okay in their respective roles, as their voices blended into the background so well. As a result, this prevents any major distinction between characters.
Overall, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a surprisingly, fun summer blockbuster.
Director Steven Caple, Jr. and company provide a nice balance between story, action, and character while delivering some truly fun surprises. Furthermore, with support from a solid cast led by Ramos and Fishback, franchise veterans, and an epic score and soundtrack, this entry laid out a constant track record.
Let’s hope they keep it up next time around.
Score: 3.5 out of 5