By Kieran Burt.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts has released its first trailer, and it looks awesome. There is definitely a more return to the Michael Bay-esque explosion filled tale than the quieter Bumblebee films, with this one taking a stance that’s closer to a mix of the two.
One of the very first shots we get in the trailer is of Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots, meeting the Maximal leader, Optimus Primal. Primal doesn’t transform into a vehicle like the typical Transformer, instead disguising himself as a mechanical gorilla, beating his chest like King Kong.
Optimus Prime’s design looks much more in line with the 80’s show, with a more boxy frame and his face guard finally returning. His truck is also different from the Michael Bay iterations, being a vintage flat nosed truck instead of a 18 wheeler. Peter Cullen once again returns to voice the character, and his voice is so well known coming out of Optimus it makes an audience feel reassured by hearing it.
The meeting between the two is tense, but they’re destined to be great allies. The Maximals are descended from the Autobots, so there will probably be an explanation about why they’re in the film alongside Autobots. We also get a quick look at three other Maximals, Rhinox, Cheetor and the falcon-like Airazor.
New good guys also means new bad guys. The Decepticons aren’t in the trailer at all, instead making way for the new evil, the Terrorcons. Battletrap is the first one shown, and he does utilise a more traditional disguise, first shown in his armored truck mode shooting at Acree and Wheeljack, but he can be seen later in his transformed mode. His small but wide design hits at how much of a punch he can pack.
Humans thankfully don’t make up a huge part of the trailer, instead only being a few scattered shots. While the human leads, in this case Dominique Fishback’s Elena and Anthony Ramos’ Noah do make a brief appearance, there isn’t much to go off, other than their fear for their vehicles suddenly changing into robots.
The main evil of the film, Scourge, is shown towards the end of the film, stabbing Bumblebee. He is quite a serious threat, as both the Autobots and Maximals will have to work together to take him down. His design is only shown briefly, but it’s very different to get him confused for Megatron. It’s not currently known what he transforms into, as there are several iterations of the character. But one that might work with the Beast theme is a dragon.
What could be difficult is how the film handles all of this explanation to audiences who aren’t familiar with Beast Wars, particularly explaining the difference between all the factions in the universe. The difference between Maximals and Autobots is obvious enough, but the Terrorcons and Decepticons are more similar.
There are a lot more explosions and action in this film, dropping the smaller scale of Bumblebee. This is evident not just by the scale of the conflict, but the inclusion of more Transformers. The focus is also more on Optimus Prime, as director Steven Caple Jr explained in a Paramount virtual event in 2021.
“I want to discover more about Optimus Prime, get underneath the surface — get underneath the metal, if you would — and explore who he is and his experience on Earth.”
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will roll out in cinemas on June 9 2023.