Transformers (2007) - Two-Disc Special Edition

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Fantasy / Science Fiction
Paramount, DreamWorks || PG13 - 143 minutes - $36.99 || October 16, 2007
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-10-11


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Michael Bay
Writer(s): Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (screenplay); John Rogers and Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (story)
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, Megan Fox, Rachael Taylor, Anthony Anderson, Jon Voight, John Turturro, Kevin Dunn


Theatrical Release Date: July 3, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director's Commentary
  • Our World Featurette
  • Their War Featutette
  • More Than Meets the Eye


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Transformers turned out to be the major blockbuster many predicted grossing well over $300 million and blowing its competition out of the water. As much as I don’t understand the whole “Transformers” love fest of the 80s, I do see why the movie was so popular. With the amazing special effects, a rising star in Shia LaBeouf, action director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg pulling the strings, one would think this would be the perfect storm of summer entertainment.

Well, it sure was a storm, but perfect it was not. My second viewing of Transformers didn’t yield much more understanding. Sure, the effects are incredible but everything else from story to characters were severely lacking. Realizing this is summer entertainment, one should not expect thespian acting, deep psychological character insight or award-worthy writing/direction, but at the very least Bay and the rest could’ve added something for me to care about. Problem is, if you don’t think robots fighting each other for over an hour is “awesome” and the rest of the film is filled with questionable acting from truly talented people, what more is there to like?

*RANT* Now, even if I were a fan of “Transformers” and still didn’t like it, I would not go so far to say that “Michael Bay raped my childhood”, that is an over-the-top and ridiculous statement. If a movie makes you feel that angry and you feel Bay deserves death or something, you truly need professional help. As a fan of “Batman” and being Batman (1989) was the first PG-13 movie I ever saw and growing up reading the comics, I would not threaten Chris Nolan if he royally screwed up the new franchise. Would I be disappointed and angry? Sure. But not to the point of insane statements. *RANT OVER*

Normally, these “mindless” action movies might not always connect with me upon first viewing. Sometimes I can watch the movie again on DVD and something will pop out on a positive note. Unfortunately, I can’t say this about Transformers. While the effects is the star and truly is amazing, the so-called “comedy” writing was glaringly awful and halted any momentum the film has going for it.

The comedy sometimes works such as the Anthony Anderson scene as he turns on his cohort (cliché but I liked it), yet when it fails, it fails miserably. Best example is John Turturro as a Federal Agent who looks and sounds like he’s in a different movie. One horrible scene comes toward the end as Turturro and Jon Voight try to come up with a way to communicate with the command center, their acting and dialogue looked and sounded like it came from a bad sitcom.

You can read my original review here.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

This two-disc special edition offers some good content, though I expected more from a major blockbuster like this...

Director’s Commentary – Michael Bay sits down for an informative commentary. He repeats some of the things in the two featurettes and there are quite a few quiet gaps, but overall it’s an OK track. Adding someone else in there with Bay probably would’ve made it better.

Out World (49:18) – This is a 4-part featurette primarily covering the pre-production. “The Story Sparks” gets into the story origins and concept art; “Human Allies” is the casting portion going through each of the major cast member from Shia LaBeouf to Josh Duhamel; “I Fight Giant Robots” is probably the most interesting one giving insight into the stunts and also training for the actors on military tactics; “Battleground” follows Bay and company as they shoot on location in various places like L.A., Detroit and elsewhere. This is a nice primer for how the movie was made. Of interest were the inclusions of 3 or 4 deleted scenes which are not included separately.

Their War (1:05:18) – A little more expansive, this is another 4-part featurette that gets more detailed on the “Transformers” from their origins in “Rise of the Robots” to creating and designing the vehicles – including the $500k 2008 Comoro – in “Autobots Roll Out”. Likewise “Decepticons Strike” goes through the decision to use military vehicles for the “bad guys” in the movie (with the semi-blessing of the D.O.D.). Last, “Inside the AllSpark” deals with the special effects done by ILM and Digital Domain and the complexity of creating realistic robots and importing them into a real environment. This featurette is well done, although I still think it could’ve been better.

More Than Meets The Eye – The biggie here is From Script to Sand (8:50), an inside look at the scorpion attack scene as the filmmakers shoot this scene in the desert and do what they can on location before adding in the robot. Also included are concepts and three trailers, including the fantastic teaser.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Transformers is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 2.35 OAR, and it looks like a perfect transfer. I didn’t notice any dust, grains or off colors and per Michael Bay, his style is usually brighter and the colors look crisp.

The audio is, however, a little disappointing. Certainly a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix would be fine and it is here, but I really hoped for something stronger at times. I thought back to Paramount’s Face/Off which including one of the best DTS tracks I’ve ever heard and one would hope the same for an action spectacle like this. Instead we get a normal track that will be fine for most, but I wanted those action scenes to have more weight.



.::OVERALL::.

For some, Transformers will be that fun popcorn movie they were hoping for. Others will hate it and blame Bay for “raping” their childhood, most will love it to no end and then there are those like myself in no-man’s land. I found parts enjoyable but the flaws are too much to ignore. Most of the time the comedy is absolutely dreadful and during those moments, the acting somehow matches wits.

As far as this “Two-Disc Special Edition” goes, it’s well packed with features that will entertain fans, though I wonder if an extended cut is down the line, because it’s strange that deleted scenes were no included. If you’re a DVD-holic, then this set will be satisfactory at $24, just don’t complain if/when Paramount double-dips.