Review: 'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts'
The Transformers movies are hardly thought of as either particularly furry movies, or particularly good movies in general. Because of the latter, nobody has really argued the former, despite the fact that the Transformers are definitely anthropomorphic robots. If, as some furries argue, anthropomorphism by itself is of interest to furries, the near complete lack of said interest in this franchise from furries would seem to contradict that hypothesis.
But, as far as Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is concerned, some of the robots turn into animals instead of cars, as is traditional in the series. So, Acadamy Award winner Michelle Yeoh voices Airazor, a giant hawk robot, for instance. So that’s kind of neat.
Transformers: Rise of the Beast is the seventh film in the Transformers series of movies, and the second prequel movie not directed by Michael Bay, this one being directed by Steven Caple Jr. I have seen the first two of Bay’s movies, but tapped out after that.
I didn’t feel like I was missing much need to know information.
The plot involves the animal robots, the Maximals, hiding a magical space travel device on Earth from planet-eating bad guy Unicron. I am vaguely aware that this character was the antagonist of the animated movie back in the 80s (which I also never saw), but he’s not actually the antagonist of this movie. His main henchman, Scourge (voiced by Peter Dinklage), is instead.
We also get a pair of human protagonists that nobody really cares about. One is an archaeologist Elena (Dominique Fishback) who accidentally discovers half of the magic space rock. The other, Noah (Anthony Ramos), is really our main protagonist. He has a sick brother, and to pay for medical bills, he finally decides to help steal a car. The car turns out to be an AutoBot named Mirage (voiced by Pete Davison). So he joins the adventure.
The Maximals are the guardians of the two halfs of the key, and they have been hiding the other half in Peru for the last couple thousand years. Besides Airazor, there is the leader Optimus Primal (voiced by Ron Perlman), a gorilla, plus a cheetah and a rhinoceros who exist, mostly. They may be the title Beasts “rising”, but the movie still spends and inordinate amount of time on the humans, and when it’s not on them, it’s still an AutoBots centric story.
There is a final battle, and to give the Bay movies their proper due, at least they usually set their final battles somewhere interesting. Here, the fight is staged on a volcanic ash plain, meaning everything is a boring grey landscape. The robots keep shooting their guns at each other, despite the fact that they are apparently harmless to one another. The special effects are fine, good even, but not particularly well utilized in the climax. Earlier action scenes did feature more interesting locations, to be fair.
One improvement over the Bay movies is that, despite the Maximals being part of local culture that takes an archaeologist to track them down, they aren’t made some kind of “ancient astronaut” explanation for every Pre-Columbian accomplishment on the South American continent. The Nazca lines, a favorite of these crackpot theorists, are specifically brought up and Optimus Primal gives the native human population full credit for them. I liked that moment.
Otherwise, it just wasn’t really that interesting of a movie.