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iReview | TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS

A Theatrical Film Release


The Autobots are back and ready to roll out to defend humanity from a threat that is literally larger than life in TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS the seventh feature in the franchise that introduces an all-new series of much-beloved heroes and villains.



Compared to other franchises, with this one, there’s always more than meets the eye. Based on the popular toy line from the 1980s turned serialized animated cartoon, the Transformers has defied all manner of expectations since translating into a live-action blockbuster. The first feature-length film, released in 2007 and directed by Michael Bay not only turned Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox into overnight Hollywood stars, but it also solidified Optimus Prime (the Semi-Truck) and Bumblebee (yellow VW Bug) as major box-office draws, upstaged only by non-stop explosives.


The battle between the Autobots and Decepticons had expertly next-leveled, making huge bank and inevitably leading to one of Tinsel Town’s most profitable franchises. Thanks to Bay’s action genre ingenuity and pyrotechnic pizzaz each installment, promised bigger blow-ups and heavy metal battle sequences, and with an endless litany of mechanized mythology to mine, the possibilities continue to manifest. In the newest installment Transformers: The Rise of the Beasts an entirely new race of heroes is introduced and one of the most iconic adversaries is finally realized larger than life [and death] for the big screen.



In the scheme of the established cinematic timeline, it can get a little confusing — somewhere along the line, the original three films were [possibly] retconned — but this sixth feature in the franchise takes place after the events in Bumblebee (2018) which was concentrated around the beloved VW Bug and his mission to scout on Earth, before the arrival of the rest of his Autobots allies. In the prologue for Rise of the Beasts, we’re introduced to the Maximals, a faction of the Transformers that take on more organic animal beast forms to disguise themselves, and are very popular among fans!


The Maximals are unfortunately being hunted and in the path of an apocalyptic menace that devours planets rich in Energon, the Transformers’ power source. Unicron (voiced by Coleman Domingo, Fear the Walking Dead) is literally a power-hungry force of nature who sends his merciless Terrorcons, led by the relentless Scourge (voiced by Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones, Avengers: Endgame) to do his bidding. Unicron was famously first introduced in the now classic animated The Transformers: The Movie and is finally making his life-action, big-screen appearance after previously teased.


For long-term diehard fans of the Transformers, the intro of the Beast Wars Maximals and Unicron is a dream come true. These characters have resonated with audiences that were engaged with their animated counterparts, and to have them come to life is quite remarkable. The leader of the Maximals Optimus Primal (voiced by Ron Pearlman) is tasked with bringing his pack, which includes Airazor (voiced by Academy Award-Winner Michelle Yeoh), Cheetor, and Rhinox to Earth and prevent Unicron from accessing the Transwarp Key, a piece of technology that can bridge points throughout the galaxy.


The year is 1994; the place is New York City and the Autobots have been living in secret on Earth, hiding in plain sight, and hoping for an opportunity to make contact with their home planet Cybertron. As fate would have it, their paths cross with two humans who become immediate allies. The Autobot Mirage (voiced by Pete Davidson) recruits a young very tech-savvy engineer Noah (Anthony Ramos) to the Autobots cause. An energy signature appears off the shores of Manhattan when anthropologist Elena (Dominique Fishback) discovers an ancient crystal property hidden inside an artifact, that is drawing the attention of the Transformers!



More Than Meets the Eye


The Autobots stranded on Earth, including Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), Bumblebee, the Mirage as mentioned earlier, and Arcee (voiced by Liza Koshy) recognize this crystal is part of the Transwarp Key and could reconnect them with their home planet. Still, they are not the only ones who are aware that the key has been activated. It isn’t long before it draws Scourge and his band to Earth, which will become Ground Zero for the Transformers’ continuing battle! Rise of the Beasts traverses the globe as the Autobots follow the clues and reunite with the Maximals and the eventual confrontation with Unicron and his evil forces.


Following in the tire treads of its predecessor, but more closely leaning toward simplifying the narrative premise as exampled in Bumblebee and limiting its cast to only a handful of players, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts puts the spotlight on the main attraction: the robots in disguise. The introduction of the newer faces and their interactions with the veteran heroes is perfectly situated. With only a handful of "humans" (2 actually) integral to the story, the real stars rise to the surface. The CGI has also been enhanced dramatically making the Transformers much more believable than ever before. It feels like the beloved animation has truly come to life.


The Maximals trend as among some of the most beloved characters in the Transformers mythology, so to see them come to life on the big screen, in such an emotive way, next to old favorites that feel more relevant than ever before, works beautifully elevating Rise of the Beast among one of the best in the franchise. The action is fast-paced, and as clever as any seen in an installment of the Fast and Furious series, with a touch of Indiana Jones as a real kicker. The story is also inherently authentic, and that will undoubtedly appeal to diehard fans.


In a forest of franchise features this summer, some hits, others miss, and others that are moving at the speed of light, Transformers: Rise of the Beast emerges healthy and ready to rumble. This is a big tub of popcorn, and a large frosty drink spectacle that is exactly what the summer was made for, and also proves the Transformers films are packing a lot of muscle.



Get your #FansEyeView of TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS trailer here:



TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS | starring Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Lauren Vélez, Dean Scott Vazquez, Tobe Nwigwe, and the voice talents of Peter Pete Davidson, Ron Perlman, Michelle Yeoh, Cristo Fernández, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez and Colman Domingo, directed by Steven Caple Jr. is in theaters now and available for pre-order on Digital Platforms.



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