Transformers (2007) - Two-Disc Special Edition [Blu-Ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Fantasy / Science Fiction
Paramount, DreamWorks || PG13 - 143 minutes - $39.99 || September 2, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-08-18


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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

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: 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
  • H.U.D.: Head's Up Display
  • Our World Featurette
  • Their War Featutette
  • BD-Live
  • More Than Meets the Eye


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

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.::THE FILM::.

After years of waiting a live action Transformers movie was announced being directed by Michael Bay (of Armageddon & The Rock fame) - but many fans were disheartened to learn that the Autobots would speak with moving lips. How dare they mess up a classic cartoon like that? Well, all is well as the lips are not that distracting and I would much rather see lips moving then trying to figure out which robot is speaking. None the less the film came out and broke records becoming the best selling DVD of 2007.

Transformers stars Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky, a young teenage boy who is trying to hock some of his great grandfatherís items on eBay so he can get enough money to buy his first car. His dad, who apparently makes good money, takes him to a cheesy used car lot run by Bobby Bolivia (played by the now late Bernie Mac) where he spots his dream car - a 1976 Chevy Camaro. While Bobby wants more for the car then Sam's dad is willing to pay, after the Chevy blows out all the windows at the used car lot (including a yellow VW Bug parked next to it - a cameo of the real Bumblebee), Sam is quickly on his way with his rusted Camaro and off to seek the attention of the beautiful Mikaela (Megan Fox) and he quickly finds out his car has a mind of its own.

I'll spare you the rest of the film as at this point I would imagine most people have either seen the film or plan on with the Blu-ray release. Considering how elaborate the plot gets, it would be tough to even comprehend that the Autobots are looking for something called 'The Allspark' which is being held under Hoover Dam and that the evil Decepticons are looking for Sam so they can get his fatherís glasses that he is auctioning off on eBay as it has some sort of map imprinted on the lenses. Yeah, itís a confusing story, but well worth the watch.

At first I was not a fan of the film - I thought it was way too long and took an unusual approach of including the military and making them out to be some sort of super heroes in the film. While I respect the military, I don't see why they should have had as much presence in the film as Bay put them in. Sure, when you have huge robots fighting in the city destroying buildings itís pretty obvious the military will be called out eventually to try and take them down, but the entire subplot including Captain Lennox and President Hoover commissioning the Hoover dam to be build around the Allspark... c'mon.

After now seeing the film at least six times, I have warmed up to it. Shia is turning into a great young actor with his roles in this film and the latest Indiana Jones, the future look bright for him as long as he does not screw it up like some young actors. Megan Fox does a decent acting job - but like most, we will always remember her from the fixing the Camaro scene (and in HD itís amazing!). Transformers is a great film - one of Bay's best - and I look forward to watching it yet again when the sequel hits theaters sometime next year.

For HD DVD owners - I would say keep your copy. The increase in picture quality is a null point, and for me I found the audio to be a bit better, but nothing mind-blowing like Michael Bay would have you believe. After comparing Picture and Audio quality between the HD DVD and Blu-ray version I found them to be nearly identical - only giving a slight edge to the Blu-ray for the simple fact that it is indeed carrying a lossless track (TrueHD) over a lossy one (Dolby Digital 5.1+). Special features are identical between both formats (as is the design of the case and slipcover) which means I will be keeping my HD DVD version.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Just like the previous HD DVD, this release of Transformers include a very nice slipcover that houses the 2 disc set.

A first for Paramount - this release includes the option to receive $10 back via mail-in rebate if you owned the previous DVD (not HD DVD Paramount?!?) release of Transformers. What's interesting is they also include a few other future Blu-ray titles here not yet announced like Sweeny Todd, Stardust, and the best movie of 2007 - Zodiac.

Audio Commentary with Director Michael Bay - While I despise Bay for his ridiculous statements he made during the format war, this track is really not that bad. He delves deep into many different aspects of the film and actors and rarely is there any type of break.

H.U.D. "Heads Up Display" (Profile 1.1/2.0 Players only) - Simply put - activate this feature. This is an amazing feature that has so many things happening on screen that it was a joy to watch. Easily one of the best PiP tracks Iíve had to pleasure of watching.

Disc 2:

Our World
- The Story Sparks
- Human Allies
- I Fight Giant Robots
- Battleground

An engaging look at the history of Transformers through the means of vintage commercials, cast and crew interviews and Hasbro toys. We also get some information on the casting of the characters, some of CGI/stunts in the film and a look at the military presence in the film.

Their War
- Rise of the Robots
- Autobots Roll Out
- Decepticons Strike
- Inside the Allspark

A much better set of features then the previous one which goes into great detail on the Autobots and Decepticons. The biggest feature here is on the CGI - which is marvelous in the film.

BD-Live (Profile 2.0 Players only) - Unlike what other studios are doing with this, Paramount has included tons of additional features available only through this service. I won't spoil the surprises that Paramount has planned, but if you have a 2.0 player, this is easily one of the best BD-Live features available for the Blu-ray format so far.

Other features include Concepts (~2 Minutes), From Script to Sand: The Skorponok Desert (~10 Minutes), Trailers, and Tech Inspector - which is a 360 look at the Atobots.

As a small note everything has been carried over from the HD DVD release.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Transformers is presented in its Original Aspect Ratio (AVC/MPEG4) on a 50GB Disc (Disc 2 is Special Features presented on a 25GB disc). Overall this is a very sharp transfer and while the film does have grain, it is intentional. Even though the Blu-ray version apparently has been re-encoded to take advantage of the extra disc space (20GB difference between the HD DVD and Blu-ray versions) I cannot see a difference between the two. I compared both using an XA2 (with an older firmware that does not produce jaggies on Paramount discs) and my Sony S350.

Paramount has dropped the previous Dolby Digital Plus track and instead included a lossless 5.1 TrueHD one. Just like with the previous HD DVD I found this to sound simply amazing. While I still believe the DD+ track is one of the best on the format, the same holds true for the Blu-ray version as well. Right from the start of the film all the way to the end we get nothing but explosions, car chases, more explosions, and some amazing bass. Easily the formats best sounding disc ever.



.::OVERALL::.

Easily one of the best Blu-ray discs of 2008 - and one of my favorite HD DVDs of 2007. While the movie may be questionable for some, the picture and audio quality is some of the best on the format and this 2 Disc set is loaded with so many special features that you can watch the film half a dozen times and still find something new with all the great special features attached to it. If you're new to Blu-ray, get this disc!