Ahead of the latest film in the Transformers franchise – Rise of the Beasts – entering cinemas on 9 June, those behind the upcoming seventh instalment are pushing out the promotional ads to generate hype. But one split-second clip in a video shared earlier this month has left film fans alarmed.
With the film described as a “’90s globetrotting adventure” and appearing to be set in New York in 1994, the story unfolds several years before the tragic events of 9/11 which brought down the Twin Towers (or the World Trade Center).
And so, when just 12 seconds into the video tweeted on 10 May, thick black smoke can be seen growing behind the two skyscrapers, some viewers have questioned whether the imagery is at all sensitive.
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It wouldn’t be the first time a brand has faced criticism for its approach to the sensitive subject that is the September 11 attacks, as back in 2021 clothing company PrettyLittleThing was slammed for posting a “branded” tribute on what was its 20th anniversary.
In this particular instance, social media users soon reacted with concern over the optics:
\u201cAs far as I can tell it's just set in the 90s, but for some reason, Paramount have decided to market it around 9/11.\u201d— grace (@grace) 1684792014
\u201cthe transformers fighting a giant CGI battle around 90s new york but all the robots are very careful to avoid two specific buildings\u201d— ostonox (@ostonox) 1684858206
\u201c@transformers @ARamosofficial @ParamountPics @stevencapleJR @Domfishback @lizakoshy @perlmutations Hey, uhm, guys... could we maybe talk about this specific shot right here?\u201d— Transformers (@Transformers) 1683730843
\u201c@transformers @ARamosofficial @ParamountPics @stevencapleJR @Domfishback @lizakoshy @perlmutations Bro?!\u201d— Transformers (@Transformers) 1683730843
Anthony Ramos becomes the latest performer to play the human protagonist, the Hamilton actor follows in the footsteps of Shia LaBeouf (who played Sam Witwicky in the first three films) and Mark Wahlberg (who played Cade Yeager in the fourth and fifth films) with his character Noah Diaz.
While the human characters have changed, the films have continued to star popular Transformers such as Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, as well as the leader of the evil Decepticons known as Megatron.
Rise of the Beasts will introduce a whole new host of animal-like characters known as Maximals, drawing upon the popular animated series from the 90s, Beast Wars.
And although film director Michael Bay’s affinity for explosions has become a strong meme in the cinema industry, the filmmaker isn’t directing this movie (that’ll be Bumblebee director Steven Caple Jr).
He is now, however, on producing duties, after directing the first five films in the series.
Indy100 has reached out to Paramount for comment.
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