Life & Culture

Transformers Rise of The Beasts review: A franchise that’s had its day

Seventh film in series is silly, overinflated and feels interminably slow


Anthony Ramos, right with Mirage, voiced by Pete Davidson in a scene from "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts."

Transformers: Rise of The Beasts
Cert:12A | ★✩✩✩✩

The Transformers movie franchise, created by Hollywood action filmmaker Michael Bay in 2007, looks to have finally reached the very depths of its trajectory.

Transformers: Rise of The Beasts — the seventh film in the series — is billed as both a prequel to Bay’s first film and a sequel to the 2018 film Bumblebee.

Based on Hasbro’s bestselling toy line from the 1980s, the latest film is also a loose adaptation of the comic book franchise Transformers: Beast Wars, also published by Hasbro.

The story, if one can even describe it as such, takes place in Brooklyn in 1994. Noah (In The Heights star Anthony Ramos) is an ex-military electronics expert who struggles to find work that will support his family.

He dabbles into petty crime and, when that ends in failure, he finds himself at the centre of an intergalactic war between two species of alien robots. when his brief foray into petty crime ends in abject failure.

The luxury car he’s been hired to steal is, it transpires, a powerful Transformer named Mirage (voiced by Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson).

Meanwhile, gifted artefact researcher Elena (The Deuce’s Dominique Fishback) has found herself in possession of a powerful object sought after by both species of aliens.

While Maximus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) and his friends seek to use the artefact to return to their home planet, Scourge (Peter Dinklage) aims to steal the object for Unicron, an all-powerful planet-eating Transformer.

As a result, humans and Autobots are forced to team up to save the world from imminent destruction.

This film works best when, helped by a hip-hop soundtrack, it tries to capitalise on the wave of 1990s nostalgia.

This, however, is soon replaced by endless sequences of robots destroying everything that comes between them, culminating in a grandiose showdown between the good guys and the very bad guys.

It pains me to say that Ramos and Fishback are let down continuously by a truly preposterous premise that seems to prioritise mindless destruction over any kind of plausible plotline.

But most of all, and despite at just over two hours, it being one of the shortest films in the franchise, this latest instalment just felt interminably slow.

It is enough to make one yearn for Bay’s earlier films, because as silly and as overinflated as they were, at least they were entertaining. By contrast, this latest instalment just feels shoddily executed from start to finish. Putting this tired old franchise out of its misery would be the kind thing.

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