Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, 2023.
Directed by Stephen Caple Jr.
Starring Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Luna Lauren Velez, Dean Scott Vazquez, Tobe Nwigwe, Peter Cullen, Ron Perlman, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Yeoh, Liza Koshy, John DiMaggio, David Sobolov, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Pete Davidson, Cristo Fernández, Tongayi Chirisa, Colman Domingo, and Michael Kelly.
During the ’90s, a new faction of Transformers – the Maximals – join the Autobots as allies in the battle for Earth.
This summer the Autobots returned to the big screen in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and now fans are able to take it home as part of their movie collection with the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray releases. With a fun and engaging story and over an hour of special features, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a great addition to anyone’s Transformers collection.
Rise of the Beasts picks up a few years after Bumblebee with Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and a new group of Autobots stranded on Earth and trying to find a way back to Cybertron. When a group of villains calling themselves the Terracons, led by the vicious Scourge, arrive on the planet in search of a powerful artifact it’s up to Optimus, his new human allies Noah and Elena and the ancient Maximals to stop them and protect Earth.
I reviewed this when it came out in theatres and my thoughts haven’t changed very much if at all from my original review. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is an enjoyable movie with a nice throwback feel to adventure films as Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback do a great job as the human leads. The Autobots get some great characterization, feeling like actual characters in their own movie for the first time in several entries in the live-action franchise, while more time could have been spent with the Maximals as their personalities and designs are quite cool and intriguing.
As always in a Transformers film, the visuals are fantastic with plenty of detail being put into the various bots, particularly the Maximals with their unique designs and animal movements. The film looks great in 4K Ultra HD with vibrant colours and smooth movements. Compared to Michael Bay’s later entries in his film, Caple Jr.’s direction offers clarity in the chaos where you can tell who is who and what is happening. The 4K presentation just adds to the clarity and really shows off the detail in the designs and choreography.
There is over an hour of special features that gives very interesting insight into the many aspects that went into the film’s production. The special features are:
- Human Affairs (7:32) – Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Steven Caple Jr. and the producers and writers discuss the casting process, what Transformers means to them and how they wanted to take Bumblebee‘s intimate character focus and blend it with the spectacle the franchise has become known for. Regarding Caple Jr., he offers interesting insight into his making first big blockbuster movie in his own personal style.
- Life in the 90s (6:14) – A discussion on why 1994 was chosen for the story’s setting and the amount of work going into production into making New York and the people look like the 90s. Particular focus is on costuming and set design, both on studio stages and on location shoots to dress everything up like the 90s.
- Heroes (10:12) – Moving away from the humans, this looks at the Autobots and Maximals. The production team gives their insight into why each character was chosen for the film and how they approached their designs, especially with the Maximals since their designs are unlike anything the live-action Transformers have done with their movements. There’s some behind the scenes looks at Pete Davidson and Ron Perlman recording, but nothing with the voice actors sitting down to discuss their approach to the role. It would have been great to hear from the legendary Peter Cullen himself, who Caple Jr. talked about with nothing but praise, but he and the other voice actors are nowhere to be found.
- Villains (8:36) – Unicron, the Terracons and Predacons get their own feature. Much like how the Maximals were different for the production team, they wanted to make sure Scourge and his underlings looked different compared to the Decepticons. A lot of time is spent on Scourge’s design and the performance from Peter Dinklage with some behind the scenes of his recording sessions.
- The Chase, The Battle of Ellis Island, Into The Jungle, The Switchback Attack and The Final Conflict examine the film’s biggest set pieces and the work that went into them, from the visual effects, stuntwork, locations and more.
- Deleted/Alternate/Extended Scenes – A batch of deleted, alternate and extended scenes, including the alternate opening where Optimus Prime hunts for a Decepticon on Earth. Most of these range anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes with a couple lines that were cut or extended sequences like Noah and Elena being chased in the catacombs by Cheetor and Rhinox. There are some character moments though that are upsetting to see cut like Noah with his mom, played briefly in the film by Luna Lauren Velez, or Elena and Airazor bonding.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is one of the best films in the live-action franchise with its focus on characters. Even the film’s odd pacing at times or the cluster of characters don’t damper much of the fun that is had. The amount of special features on the 4K is great even with some of the few lacking elements and the imagery is terrific.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.