After a decade of heart-wrenching, headache-inducing hits and critical acclaim, director Michael Bay’s Transformers series is finally out of print with 2017’s The Last Knight.
But robot/car games are not expected to sell themselves. So Hasbro targets the new generation pocket money with a rebooted series.
Picking up the alternate timeline set by the 2018 spin-off Bumblebee, Steven Caple Jr’s Rise Of The Beasts points to the possibility of a quieter franchise emerging.
The setting is a hip-hop-infused 1994 Brooklyn, seven years after robotic alien refugees The Autobots arrive on Earth and take on vehicular disguises.
But ex-soldier Noah (Anthony Ramos) has his own problems. Unable to get a job on civvy street, he has turned to crime to pay for his sick child brother’s health care.
A plan to steal a Porsche goes awry when the German sports car turns into a robot Mirage (Pete Davidson).
Soon after, Noah meets the rest of the Autobots and good robot head Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) tasks him with another heist. To return to their home planet, they need the “Transwarp Key” – a space-time conduit being studied by New York Museum researcher Elena (Dominique Fishback).
From here, the human drama disappears as the film degenerates into a series of chases, CGI battles, and clumsy heroic speeches. Fortunately, there’s also a fair bit of comedy with mildly shocking double entries and knowing gags about the Autobots’ illogical human accents.
The new set of animal-based Transformers (Ron Perlman voices a metal gorilla and Michelle Yeoh a robotic hawk) also makes no sense. But, while not quite a huge shift, this new reboot offers a welcome change of pace from the Bay blast.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Cert: 12A, in cinemas now
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