Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Parent Guide
Despite its bloated runtime, this film is one of the better outings for the franchise. That's still a pretty low bar and it doesn't clear it by much.
Parent Movie Review
The universe is a dangerous place and perils lurk between the stars. The worst by far is Unicron (Colman Domingo), a colossal entity that consumes planets. Before he destroyed the home world of the Maximals (giant transforming mechanical animals, for those of you who didn’t have cable in the 90s), the Maximals hid a piece of technology called the transwarp key, a device which would allow for instantaneous transport across the galaxy. If Unicron acquired the key, the entire universe would be at risk. With the key safely hidden on Earth, Unicron is trapped in space – but he’s hunting for it through his right hand…erm, robot, Scourge (Peter Dinklage).
It’s Noah Diaz’s (Anthony Ramos) bad luck to get caught in the middle of this interstellar scavenger hunt. He’s just trying to steal a car to pay for his little brother’s medical bills when the car starts driving itself. The car, as it happens, is an Autobot named Mirage (Pete Davidson). Under the leadership of Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), the Autobots are dedicated to the destruction of evil in the universe – but they’ve been stranded on Earth for years. The key would allow them to return home to Cybertron in the blink of an eye, and as soon as they find part of it, Optimus is determined to bring them back. They’ll just have to find the other half, which the Maximals hid separately. To do that, they’ll need some human help from Noah and a young archaeologist named Elena (Dominique Fishback). And they’ll have to move fast. If they know about the key, then Scourge can’t be far behind.
Who would have thought that the root of my years-long problem with the Transformers movies was director Michael Bay? Ok, so everyone knew that already, but it’s nice to be vindicated. I’m not saying that this is the unexpected sleeper hit of the summer, but without Bay’s clumsy directorial touch, it’s more or less watchable, especially if you’re approximately 12 years old. Free of the constant (and pointless) crudities which littered the Bay films, or the inexcusable near-constant slow motion, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts settles down as another big robot movie. It helps that this flick has human characters who don’t make me want to test a theory I have about drowning in a medium fountain drink. Don’t mistake this for open praise: I’m just happy with the progress. Boring is a huge upgrade from the tedious characters typical of previous franchise entries, all of whom have the charm and human interest of a blocked sewer.
Both this film and its immediate predecessor, Bumblebee, have moved away from the violence against human characters which was common in earlier films. The giant CGI robots just shoot each other (completely ineffectually, I might add – I don’t think a bullet has proved fatal in a single Transformers film to date) or bash on each other with superheated edged weapons, which is much more effective. The human characters spend most of the movie explaining the plot, running around in terror, and serving as a mobile scale reference for the robots. It really helps sell the forty-foot robot gorilla from space – or, it would, if the scale felt at all consistent. The relative sizes of our space robots seem to vary from scene to scene based on animation convenience, but then again, I can’t imagine the intended adolescent audience either noticing or caring.
Since this is very much a film for younger teens, the filmmakers have kept content at a PG-13 level. Apart from the robot violence, there’s a smattering of profanity, and no substance use. I don’t think we see the characters eat or drink anything throughout the film, which isn’t important, but is a little odd once you notice it. Parents don’t have much to be concerned about except what they’re planning to daydream about for the patently unnecessary two-hour runtime, which is kind of a shame. I honestly think this movie would have been a blast at 80 minutes or so. I mean, what other franchise has a giant robot gorilla? Those things aren’t a dime a dozen, you know.
Directed by Steven Caple Jr.. Starring Anthony Ramos, Michelle Yeoh, Ron Perlman. Running time: 127 minutes. Theatrical release June 9, 2023. Updated June 9, 2023
Watch the trailer for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
Rating & Content Info
Why is Transformers: Rise of the Beasts rated PG-13? Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and language
Violence: Robots are frequently shot, blown up, stabbed, and decapitated. Several human characters are shot at and thrown around, but are not injured at any point.
Sexual Content: There are a few mild sexual innuendoes.
Profanity: There are nine scatological curses and infrequent use of mild profanity and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.
Page last updated June 9, 2023
Related home video titles:
Other films in the Transformer’s franchise are Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen, Dark of the Moon, Age of Extinction, and The Last Knight. This film serves as a direct sequel to Bumblebee. There are also references to another Hasboro toy franchise, GI Joe, which has been adapted for the screen in GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, GI Joe: Retaliation, and Snake Eyes.