Clink, Clank, Calamity! ’Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’

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Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – When it comes to bad movies there are three types … fun bad, memorably bad, and ordinary bad. “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” belongs in the latter category. It’s a clinking, clanking calamity that fails on almost every level, which is about par for the course when it comes to this series.

In addition to a pared down group of Autobots led by Optimus Prime (voice of Peter Cullen), there’s now the Maximals. These are robots in animal form led by a gorilla named, wait for it, Optimus Prime-al (Ron Perlman). And that is the extent of the new offerings in this seventh installment of this headache-inducing series that commits a Cardinal Sin in a movie about cars that turn into talking space robots … It takes itself way too seriously. Someone forgot to tell the filmmakers that a Transformers movie is supposed to be fun.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

Set in 1994, this story operates as something of a prequel to the Michael Bay-directed original movies. The plot, such as it is, follows a small group of Autobots who must keep a MacGuffin – called the Transwarp Key – out of the hands of the Terricon minions of Omicron, a planet eating robot out to destroy all life.

Stranded a long way from Broadway is the human co-star from “Hamilton,” Anthony Ramos. He’s a former soldier named Noah, looking for work to help support his working mom, and he’s got a sick little brother too. The character development begins and ends with Noah working Brooklyn into every other sentence. Aiming to earn a little quick cash, he agrees to steal a car which turns out to be one of our Transformer friends, Mirage (voice of Pete Davidson) and he gets roped into helping save the world. They’re joined by museum research assistant Elena (Dominique Fishback), whose main function is to serve as an exposition machine, decoding ancient texts in an instant and keep the plot mechanics moving.

The less said about these human characters the better, since they have all the personality of a used Pinto. The voice cast fares slightly better. Peter Cullen continues to sound exactly like what Optimus Prime should sound like, while Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh is largely wasted as the voice of a flying robot bird named Airazor, and the talented Peter Dinklage fails to make an impression as the Terricon baddie Scourge.

Pete Davidson Voices Mirage in ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

The highlight is Pete Davidson as Mirage, who manages to wring a few chuckles essentially playing himself as a brash talking car. The action scenes are at least coherent, in that you can actually tell who’s fighting who, but they not inventive or thrilling. Watching a robot gorilla pound a robot scorpion may have some mild appeal in theory, but on screen it works out to just more CGI battle noise. 

And also, this movie wasn’t just bad, it was boring. There’s no heart, no thrills, and it’s laughably long leaps of logic don’t even qualify as dumb fun … it’s just a dumb downer.

”Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” is in theaters on June 9th. Featuring Anthony Ramos, Dominque Fishbeck, Pete Davidson, Peter Cullen and Michelle Yeoh. Written by Joby Harold, Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber. Directed by Steven Caple Jr.. Rated “PG-13” contributor Spike Walters


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