The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/3D Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 154 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English 5.1Discrete Dolby Digital, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Shia LaBeouf , Rosie Huntington-Whiteley , Josh Duhamel , Tyrese Gibson , Patrick Dempsey , John Malkovich , John Turturro , Alan Tudyk, Ken Jeong , Frances McDormand , Leonard Nimoy , Peter Cullen , Hugo Weaving
Directed by: Michael Bay
Music by: Steve Jablonsky
Written by: Ehren Krueger
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 31, 2012
"Mankind's finest achievement, our nation's proudest moment. A secret hidden for forty years"
A mysterious event from Earth's past threatens to ignite a war so big that the TRANSFORMERS alone will not be able to save the planet. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and the AUTOBOTS must fight against the darkness to defend our world from the DECEPTICONS' all-consuming evil in the smash hit from director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg.
I reviewed Transformers: Dark of the moon on Blu-ray when it was released in a barebones offering back in September. This review will include my comments from that review as well covering the new material found in this Limited Edition 3D four disc offering.
Whether you like Michael Bay or don't like him there is no denying that he knows how to make an action film. I tend to like his work, probably because I am an action junkie that loves to see and hear stuff blow up, and few do it better him. I was a teenager when Transformers toys/animated TV series was all the rage among young kids in the eighties. I honestly never once watched the cartoon but I can recall the theme pretty well. Needless to say when the first Transformers film hit theaters in 2008 I had little interest in taking the plunge and decided to wait and see what it offered on home video. As it turned out Transformers was a big hit which has spawned two sequels. Each of the films revolves around a continuing/age old battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons from the distant planet of Cybertron. After their war decimated Cybertron their epic struggle came to Earth, where a teenage boy, Sam Witwicky, is befriended by the Autobots and joins them in their fight against the evil Decepticons. Over the first two installments in the series the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers, is revealed and we learn more about the war, the players and their history (and its relevance with respect to events in our own history). Sam, along with a select group of U.S. Military/government personnel and civilians play an integral role in assisting the Autobots with putting down the Decepticon threat. Unfortunately the Decepticons and their leader Megatron won't easily give up their quest for the destruction of the Autobots and dominion over the Earth.
Transformers 2 Revenge of the fallen wasn't terrible but compared to the original it was largely disappointing. The announcement of Transformers Dark of the moon didn't hold out much hope for better so once again I opted to catch it when it made its way to Blu-ray. There was a bit of buzz surrounding the departure of Megan Fox from the cast. I thought she was okay in the first two films but didn't see her leaving as a big problem and it wasn't. In this third installment we once again see the uprising of the Decepticons and learn of Earth's detection of an alien landing on the moon (during the Kennedy Administration) which served as the true impetus for the space race and moon landing. There is a tie in to those events in our history as well as the alien war which leads to the discovery of an ancient plot by the Decepticons the key of which lies on the dark side of the moon. Of course things unfold pretty much as you might expect with Optimus and his Autobots squaring off against Megatron and his minions. There are some new faces on both sides of the alien and human equations while many of the characters return from the previous films.
Let's be honest, no one should sit down to watch these movies expecting grandiose storytelling, inspirational performances and original themes. We are in it for the action plain and simple. All we ask is for a fairly cohesive script, credible characters and rewarding mindless entertainment. I think that Transformers Dark of the Moon manages to deliver that and is certainly a better film experience than Revenge of the fallen. The cast is a little top heavy with supporting roles filled by Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Patrick Dempsey, Leonard Nimoy, Alan Tudyk, and Ken Jeong, but it works out well enough. Returning cast members, Shia LeBeouf, Josh DuHamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Peter Cullen and Hugo Weaving do well in reprising their respective roles. I wasn't impressed by newcomer Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who added little but took nothing away. The real star of this show is the dazzling special effects which are incredibly seamless and engaging to watch. For me this is the kind of popcorn entertainment that I like to revisit from time to time. It doesnt have a higher purpose or require strict attention to detail. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
The rating is for intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence, mayhem and destruction, brief sexuality/innuendo and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
3D Presentation: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Depth (Onscreen):
- Dimension (Beyond the screen):
- Color reproduction:
Transformers: Dark of the moon 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount HE featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 4.3 Mbps.
So far I have been satisfied with what I have seen of the natively shot 3D offerings that have come to Blu-ray and Transformers: Dark of the moon is no exception. While this presentation doesn't offer continual use of screen popping effects it makes for a natural and visually pleasing experience. Detail is well preserved as the image retains its high level of clarity as objects within the frame are delineated and sharp. Depth is appreciable as evidenced by the notable separation of objects or people layered in the foreground/background which serves to draw you in by creating a discernible sense of virtual space occupied by things of various sizes and shapes. There are sequences that provide a bit of reach out and touch dimensionality (which is fine) but what I enjoyed most was the impressive lifelike depth the image had. I wasn't drawn out of the film by odd looking proportions or hokey 3D for 3D's sake. In fact I would say that it was just the opposite. Comparing color and fleshtone reproduction to the 2D presentation I saw no discernible difference. The rendering of detail and clarity is similar although I would give the slightest edge for all around visual pop to the 3D version. I didn't notice any distracting signs of crosstalk/ghosting. For those hoping for all the 3D bells and whistles I would say that you won't find them here. That isn't to say that this isn't a worthwhile viewing experience. I found this to be an excellent 3D presentation that enhanced the enjoyment of the film.
This 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is not only of reference quality but is among the best surround sound experiences I have had in my theater room. I was treated to an impeccably detailed, powerfully dynamic, and demonstrative surround sound presentation infused with multi-layered sound effects and bolstered by a mix that makes effective and aggressive use of the surround channels to elongate the front soundstage to reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds of this demanding soundtrack. The front and rear sound fields are integrated with precision which enables a seamless transference during panning sequences. The listening position is submerged into a 360 degree web of sound that is sometimes riveting as it bombards the senses with a combination of well placed effects and ambience. Dialogue is supremely articulated with excellent focus, clarity and descriptive intonation. The extended dynamic range of the recording coupled with the inherently higher resolution of lossless audio renders the bombastic nature of battle with superlative high level sonics and authoritative bass transients that are deep, powerful and sometimes timber rattling. I love deep, clean, powerful bass and this track delivers it in spades. Low frequency effects can be substantial and occasionally reach seismic levels that will test the limits of lesser subwoofers. As viewers I think we sometimes miss some of the intricacies that go into the design of soundtracks such as this. Not so in this case as even seemingly inconspicuous minutia within the recording is detectable. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute with terrific soundtrack.
2D Video Quality:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Transformers Dark of the Moon comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps.
This is reference quality video presentation that simply looks stunning. Images are impeccably detailed with enriching transparency and three dimensional depth that seems to reach as far as the eye can see. Detail perception is nearly flawless with lucid visual acuity and fine rendering throughout. The extensive palette of colors, are vibrant, deeply saturated and visually stimulating. Primary colors are particularly striking which made the various blues and reds really pop. Flesh tones are tonally natural with appreciable delineation among the varied complexional types in the cast. Blacks are deep and rich, with extended dynamic range that compliments visual depth. Contrast is strong which emboldens colors and bright sequences without compromise to fidelity. Shadow delineation is equally impressive which provided a near infinite level of depth perception to dark backgrounds and low lit scenes. On occasion the mix of film/digital photography seems to soften some shots but its effects are innate and considering the amount if CGI I found the integration of live action/effects to be excellent. The end result is a superb looking Blu-ray presentation that delivers high level detail, razor sharpness and resolute definition that brings out the lifelike textures captured by the camera lens.
- 2D Blu-ray - Transformers: Dark of the moon
- Bonus Features (Blu-ray BD-50)
- (HD) Above and beyond: Exploring Dark of the moon ( 5 segments totaling 107 minutes)
- Rising from the Fallen: Development and Design
- Ready for Prime Time: Filming Across America
- Battle in the Heartland: Shooting in Chicago
- Attack of the Birdmen: Aerial Stunts
- Shadow of the Sentinel: Post-Production and Release
- (HD) Uncharted territory: NASA's future then and now - 26 minutes
- (HD) Deconstructing Chicago: Multi-angle sequences
- Previsualizations with optional commentary by director Michael Bay and previsualization supervisor Steve Yamamoto
- Previsualizations/Final Shot Comparison with optional commentary by director Michael Bay and previsualization supervisor Steve Yamamoto
- Visual Effects with optional commentary by visual effects supervisors Scott Farrar and Matthew Butler
- Visual Effects/Final Shot Comparison with optional commentary by visual effects supervisors Scott Farrar and Matthew Butler
- (HD) The art of Cybertron
- Weapons and gear
- (HD) The dark of the moon archive (5 segments totaling 18 minutes)
- 3D: A transforming visual art
- Moscow world premiere
- Birdmen featurette
- Cody's iPad (human interest story)
- The sound of Transformers: Dark of the moon
- (HD) The Matrix of Marketing
- Theatrical/Teaser trailers
- Marketing gallery- Posters, style guide, promotional/concession items
- 3D Blu-ray - Transformers: Dark of the moon
- DVD/Digital Copy - Transformers: Dark of the moon
Transformers Dark of the Moon is the third installment in the Transformer film franchise. It doesn't quite live up to the original however it improves upon the disappointing Revenge of the fallen and makes for the kind of rewarding popcorn entertainment that action junkies like myself enjoy revisiting from time to time. As I stated in my review of the initial Blu-ray release, I had high hopes for its high definition audio/video presentation and am happy to report that it looks marvelous. I was blown away by its 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack which is among the best surround sound experiences I have had in my theater room. This four disc limited edition package from Paramount adds 3D and a hefty supplemental offering that looks behind the scenes at the film's production and spectacular special effects. The 3D presentation won't bowl you over with ostentatious effects but I thoroughly enjoyed watching it with the added depth that made for a visually pleasing experience. If you held off waiting for this release you're in for a treat especially if this will be your first time experiencing it on Blu-ray. If 3D and bonus features aren't important to you the original barebones release should do nicely. Either way Transformers Dark of the Moon on Blu-ray is a demonstrative worthy experience that should have a place in the collection of those that love to show off their home theater systems.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package