FILM REVIEW — More Mindless Mayhem by “Transformers: Beasts”

Published 12:04 am Friday, June 9, 2023

“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts”

Paramount Pictures

Directed by Steven Caple, Jr.

Starring Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Peter Cullen, Michelle Yeoh, Peter Dinklage, Ron Perlman, Colman Domingo and Pete Davidson

Rated PG-13

2 Stars

It can be difficult to remember all of the details in a long-running movie franchise.

That is why I try to rewatch the previous movies whenever Hollywood releases a major movie sequel. Sometimes the rewatch is a task I relish, and sometimes it’s a mind-numbing burden.

And sometimes, as in the case of the “Transformers” movies, it’s something I simply refuse to do. I fully admit I am not a fan of this franchise, but let’s be honest, does anybody care about the story details of any of these movies?

The fanbase has traditionally been happy as long as the film is stuffed to overflowing with big, eye-popping and extremely loud action spectacles.

Which is why I was a little shocked when the latest installment in the franchise, “Transformers: The Rise of the Beasts” went out of its way to give its human characters some meaningful backstories. It’s a welcome surprise, although no matter how good Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback are in this latest movie, they don’t matter nearly as much as the giant Transformers in the movie.

Once again, the heroic Autobots, led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), are fighting to save our world — this time the villain is a world eating entity known as Unicron (Coleman Domingo).

The Autobots have some help with the adventure, as we finally get to see the Maximals, which are like the Autobots except they transform into animals rather the cars and trucks.

Did you get all of that? Don’t worry if it’s all gibberish to you. All you need to remember is a couple of well-meaning humans team up with the giant robot-like creatures that turn into cars and the ones that turn into animals in a fight to save the world from the bad guys.

That’s basically the plot of every single one of the “Transformers” movies so far.

As is always the case, the transformation and fights/chases are still visually spectacular. I’m not a huge fan of the techno-mayhem computer generated effects, but I can’t deny the visceral punch of watching these giant creatures fighting to the death.

And for what it’s worth, I do appreciate the voice acting that animates these characters. Cullen is always great, but this time we also get Peter Dinklage playing a snarling bad guy, as well as Ron Perlman and Michelle Yeoh leading the band of noble Maximals.

If that’s not enough, we even get Pete Davidson playing a slang-talking character that is rather cheesy, but the performance should tickle younger audiences who will appreciate the character’s offbeat energy.

I suppose that’s the point. “Transformers: The Rise of the Beasts” has its sights set squarely on 10–16-year-old boys. If you fall outside of this demographic, you will probably roll your eyes at this latest film.

But if you are part of the target demo, then this is yet another appealing onslaught of pounding hip hop, cool visual images and one giant monster battle after another.

The prepubescent boy in me almost enjoyed this film. The grown-up critic in me doesn’t feel even the least bit guilty for not rewatching any of these exercises in mindless mayhem.

Movie reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week by Orange Newsmedia and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at