Like Bumblebee (2018), Transformers: Rise of the Beasts places equal emphasis on world-ending crisis and human drama. That works.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Synopsis
Millennia ago, the Maximals abandoned their home world in a last-ditch effort to deny Unicron the Transwarp Key; ownership of the device would allow the planet eater to travel throughout the universe. Jump forth to 1994, down-and-out ex-military electronic expert Noah Diaz is forced to resort to auto theft to pay for his brother’s medical bills, only to end up in a deadly Transformers battle for the Transwarp Key. Noah and museum intern Elena quickly become instrumental in the fight for Earth’s survival.
I’ll keep this short since the movie was released over a fortnight ago. So many people have already written about it.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is the sixth Transformers live-action movie, the seventh if you include the Bumblebee spinoff, and for us in Singapore, promotion for it began back in March with the Primal and Prime display at Gardens by the Bay. The movie also had its glitzy premiere at Marina Bay Sands on May 27. This was fun but to me, weird, since Singapore doesn’t even appear in the show. We aren’t also particularly associated with, you know, gorillas and wildlife, or celebrated for our robotic tech.
Despite being crazy about these robots in disguise back in the 1980s, I didn’t particularly look forward to this movie too and that’s thanks to, you guessed it, the Michael Bay episodes. To be clear, I never downright hated them, but sitting through any was always a hollow, mind-numbing experience full of too many booms and bangs. More often than not, they were distasteful too because of all the racist and sexist digs.
But Hollywood has clearly learned its lesson, thank goodness. Has examined what made Bumblebee (2018) work too. While Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is no storytelling masterpiece, it does have its moments, with the action nicely intersected with interludes of attractive human drama. What happens between the squishy humans is nothing particularly memorable or insightful, but these scenes serve as effective palate cleansers. At the very least, they make the extended CGI-soaked battles less wearying. In certain ways, more enjoyable too.
As for the actual action, well, this is a Transformers live-action movie, so yeah, a lot of battle segments are dizzying and messy—the fast cuts often hit before you fully make sense of what has happened. But perhaps it’s the careful use of colour. Or maybe it’s the injection of dialogue at suitable moments. However messy it gets, you get an inkling of what’s going on. You’ll know who is hitting who with what and how. It’s nowhere near exemplary fight choreography but frankly, I don’t see much to complain about too.
All in all, mindless but fun action entertainment for two hours. No doubt a treat, of sorts, for Beast Wars fans too.
Looking back, I ought to have watched this sooner. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did.
Check out my other snappy movie reviews.