June 5, 2023

CINEMA | 'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts' Maximizes '90s Hip-Hop

"There is more to them than meets the eye."
Cheetor Steven Caple Jr. | Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
Paramount Pictures / Skydance
Director Steven Caple Jr. capably extends the Transformers franchise into the '90s after the surprisingly fun 1987 set Bumblebee. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts introduces the popular animal-based robots called "Maximals", first seen in the Vancouver-produced 1996 animated series Beast Wars, as both a direct sequel or prequel to all six of the previous Hasbro toy-based films.

Starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, things start fast in 1994 Brooklyn with exposition dumps about a massive planet-devouring being named Unicron and an all-powerful, time-travelling beacon called the Transwarp Key. It's a lot of expected nonsense to keep things moving enough in thrilling fashion. Audiences must accept more contrivances about needing to integrate human characters into the dangerous action while explaining how they are not immediately ripped apart.

Original Transformers director and producer Michael Bay created the transforming toy franchise's trademark sense of manic cinematic mayhem. Caple, a much calmer filmmaker, spends time making the mess of mechanical CGI choreography more fluid to ground the scale of destruction seen on screen while riffing on influential Black crime genre films of the era. Still, much of the second, more action-heavy half descends into beats that feel repetitive or unnecessary departing from the initially zippy start.

Five separate screenwriters, most prominently Joby Harold, are credited with writing the breakneck script set over the course of two packed days of cross-continental battles starting in New York City before moving things to the isolated wilderness of Peru. It's mostly a more streamlined and enjoyable yet occasionally generic return to form from the first five Bay-directed films.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts features much of the same reckless sense of violence from constantly watching giant transforming alien robots fighting we know thanks to the durably exhausting franchise. However, this one feels much more visually coherent and narratively straightforward with enough genuine human elements to ground the insane events depicted. Caple's direction, much like in Bumblebee, refreshes the Autobots with some heavily '90s hip-hop culture influenced energy.

More | YVArcade / Polygon / Uproxx / Verge

0 reactions:

Post a Comment