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H D - S E N S E I
A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze
Transformers (Two-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
(Michael Bay, 2007)
Review by Gary Tooze
Feature Runtime: 2:23:27
Feature film disc size: 43.4 Gig
One dual-layered, more supplements on a single-layered second Blu-ray (18.7 Gig)
Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard sleeve
Release date: September 2nd, 2008
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
• Commentary by Director Michael Bay
Preview trailer for Iron Man (2:29) in HD!
TRANSFORMERS H.U.D. (Heads Up Display)—In this mode, viewers can access
running text-based behind-the-scenes background information on the production
during the feature. Users can also watch relevant picture-in-picture b-roll and
video with Bay, Spielberg and other filmmakers during select sequences.
From Script to Sand: The SKORPONOK Desert Attack
- An in-depth look at the making of this particularly
epic and challenging scene from initial storyboarding
through production and visual effects. (8:52)
On the face of it Transformers is a story as old as the Greeks versus the Trojans, the difference being that these warriors are visitors from another planet, the 1980s-sounding Cybertron, and there isn’t a jot of poetry, tragedy, beauty, meaning or interest in this fight. The Autobots are trying to locate some all-important cube that looks like a Borg starship from Star Trek: The Next Generation before it’s found by the Autobots’ villainous alien brethren, the Decepticons. During their mission the Autobots blend into the earthly backdrop by turning into zippy cars and mondo trucks, a strategy that works particularly well in Southern California. Curiously, though the toys originated in Japan, no robot changes into a Toyota.
It’s kind of nifty when the robots transform the first time; they furiously shake back and forth like wet dogs desperately to dry off. But by the 99th time there’s no fun left at all, even during the rock-’em, sock-’em knockdown that delivers the movie, in Spielbergesque pastiche, first to a violent and then to a warm-and-fuzzy close. The actors tend to be more engaging, notably Mr. LaBeouf, who brings energy and a semi-straight face to the dumbest setup. Just as easy on the eyes, though for other reasons, are the two female leads, the genius hacker in throw-her-down heels (Rachael Taylor) and the grease-monkey bombshell (Megan Fox) who helps Sam rise to the manly occasion.
Product Description: From director Michael Bay and
executive producer Steven Spielberg comes a thrilling
battle between the heroic Autobots and the evil
Decepticons. When their epic... struggle comes to Earth,
all that stands between the Decepticons and ultimate
power is a clue held by young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf).
Unaware that he is mankind's last chance for survival,
Sam and Bumblebee, his robot disguised as a car, are in
a heart-pounding race against an enemy unlike anything
anyone has seen before...
The, almost 2.5 hour, film alone takes up a whopping 43+ Gig of space on the dual-layered first disc. We can safely assume that this is an improvement over the older HD edition simply because that defunct format couldn't hold that much data on one disc. This new Blu-ray looks very good balancing nicely between saturation and brightness (never extending too far in either reach) with some very healthy detail. The only problem I found was more with the effects which constantly force a shaky camera so as to adhere to the haze-producing CGI (and whatever other brands of computer generated effects that were utilized). After a while you'd prefer to actually see some of the Transformers in action but the camera is moving at such a rapid, jittery, pace that nothing is very discernable, in detail, for too long. Colors can look very intense at times - perhaps artificially boosted (does the sky or the desert really look those vibrant colors?). In the end, without my ineffectual griping - the image is damn impressive - jaw-dropping at times. I don't suspect any Digital Noise Reduction used to compensate for artefacts but the image is as smooth as a baby's butt anyway - minor noise exists as it always does, and will, aside from digital animation in Blu-ray - but it's at the very lower end of the scale with Transformers - regardless. Resolution, on the other hand, is at an exceedingly high level - I just wish there were more opportunities in the film to showcase this and establish the disc as a demonstration reference. Transformers has some pristine detail - just not in abundance - and this is no fault of the transfer which could be described as 'flawless'. I can't imagine it being represented on this medium any better than this.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio & Music:
Disc 2 overflows with HD material - over 1.5 hours worth of featurettes (all in 1080) including interview segments with Bay, Spielberg, the cast, the writers - many involved in the production (also storyboards, scene-specific making of's, past animation references etc.) It is described by Paramount and listed above in more depth and detail than I could do them justice. Suffice to say - fans will be overwhelmed with all the post-input and observations by notables in the seven featurettes that run about 15 minutes each. Some may even consider the abundance overkill.
August 15th, 2008
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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