Hey there, movie buffs! Brace yourselves for the seventh installment of the beloved toy-turned-movie franchise, “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.” Unfortunately, this summer blockbuster fails to live up to its potential and lacks the spark that made its predecessor, “Bumblebee,” a standout. The movie takes us back to 1994, but apart from some great music and a brief nod to the O.J. Simpson trial, the ’90s setting doesn’t play a significant role.
The story revolves around the Autobots, led by the iconic Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), joining forces with animal-shaped Transformers called Maximals. Together, they must battle the evil Terrorcons and the planet-devouring threat named Unicron, who seems like a lesser version of Marvel’s Galactus.
Unfortunately, the human characters, played by Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, are given a thankless task of saving the world and spend most of their time in awe of the giant robots. Both actors deliver solid performances, but their characters feel underdeveloped.
They team up with Optimus in pursuit of a key that could either save the Autobots or unleash Unicron upon the galaxy if it falls into the wrong hands.
Aside from the star-studded voice cast, featuring Michelle Yeoh, Pete Davidson, Peter Dinklage, and Ron Perlman, the movie mainly revolves around the epic robot battles. These sequences are technically impressive but often chaotic, as expected from the franchise.
However, the movie falters during the downtime between the action scenes, especially when the focus is on the human characters. “Rise of the Beasts” falls into the trap of setting up future movies rather than delivering a satisfying standalone story, leaving a sense of assembly-line production rather than genuine enthusiasm.
“Transformers” has always been a visual effects spectacle, showcasing what modern technology can achieve. But even in that regard, “Rise of the Beasts” lacks the charming humor that made “Bumblebee” stand out. The attempts to make Pete Davidson’s character, Mirage, the funny sidekick fall flat.
Steven Caple Jr., taking over from long-time director Michael Bay, fails to bring any discernible change in tone or style. Perhaps the film’s main advantage is the six-year gap since the last movie, which might create some built-up excitement among die-hard fans.
But let’s be honest, beyond the loyal Transformers enthusiasts, the movie feels a little past its prime. “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” hits US theaters on June 9th, and it’s rated PG-13.