Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Review: Here Come the Grease Monkeys
Things start out fun with this prequel, but frantic plot mechanics might steer your interest into a ditch.
No franchise asks more and less from its audience than Transformers. The spectacle-first, logic-second series has given us six films to adjust to Optimus Prime, a semi-truck who whip-whop-whoomps into a humanoid with windshield wipers that tickle his nipples. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, a goofy seventh installment that rattles along well enough until the wheels fall off, ballyhoos an evolution: a biomechanical gorilla who calls himself Optimus Primal. Optimus Primate would have been too sensible. And before you ask, the movie offers no explanation why a bionic biped would bother shape-shifting into another bionic biped. Silly mammal thats not the point.
In fairness, these metaphysical questions were explored in the futuristic and bizarrely engaging 90s cartoon Beast Wars: Transformers and its spinoff Beast Machines: Transformers, which felt like sipping on a spiked juice box in an ashram. When that Optimus Primal was asked if he was robot or animal, he mystically intoned, Both and neither. The key is finding the balance within yourself. Only then can you truly say, I am transformed.