- Aspect Ratio: 2:35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: PG-13
- Run Time: 150 Mins.
- Discs: 4 (1 x Blu-ray 3D + 2 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
- Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: January 31, 2012
- List Price: $54.99
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Transformers: Dark of the Moon continues the over-the-top action we’ve come to expect from Michael Bay. This time around it’s discovered that the original moon race during the 60′s was in fact a mission to investigate a mysterious alien vessel. Many years later, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and the Autobots return to Chernobyl, where they discover an ancient Cybertronian vessel called the “Ark.” The Ark’s main purpose was to transport both Sentinel Prime, the former Autobot leader, and electronic pillars capable of carrying Prime and cargo from Cybertron to elsewhere. Traveling to the moon, Optimus and the Autobots succeed in recovering both the pillars and the Ark. Seems like everything is progressing smoothly right? Well, this wouldn’t be a movie then if something wasn’t churning in the background. Turns out the Decepticons, lead by Megatron (Hugo Weaving), have been waiting for this moment all in the hopes of trying to again…..wait for it….take over the planet and enslave humanity. Meanwhile Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) has a new lady in Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), but can’t seem to land a job despite having saved the world in Revenge of the Fallen. Lucky Carly’s boss Dylan Gould (Patrick Dempsey) is all but willing to employ Sam, only at a cost of which may surprise Sam. Such begins the action-fest known as a film directed by Michael Bay.
As is the case with any Michael Bay film, critical reception was mixed at best for his latest action-fest. Some called it a bloated, over-the-top action mess while others praised its state of the art effects, whether 2D or 3D. Where do I lie? More in the latter realm. Let’s begin this with simple facts. None of the Transformers films (or really any Bay film) will ever come up as an answer to “What are some of the best pictures ever made?” That’s not the man’s goal in creating films. While I clearly can’t read exactly what is on his mind, one may assume that Bay understands how to make a blockbuster. Whether it be any of the Transformers, Bad Boys I/II, Pearl Harbor or any other, he knows how to direct action. Whether it be the monumental action finale or some of the smaller moments, all of this is purely entertaining.
Entertainment and action aside, is there a story to be told here? Yes the run time is a bit long after the second viewing, but I found the background story (i.e. the first hour) to be necessary. All the explanation of what Sam was doing after the events of Fallen needed to be explained. Would the film have made much sense if it just suddenly began with action? Some may criticize Bay and company for how he mixes in action and story, but I’ve never really had an issue with this in any of his films (well with the exception of the PG-13 cut of Pearl Harbor, which was fixed with the much preferred Director’s Cut). Yes he’s known for his action but at the end of the day, Bay can tell a story. If you need any evidence outside of this series, simply watch The Rock, perhaps one of the greatest action films ever made, and get back to me.
Shot using a wide variety of cameras including the Red One, Transformers: Dark of the Moon makes a stunning debut on Blu-ray. Balancing out both material shot digitally and on film, each sequence blends together in one seamless, gorgeous transfer. Film sequences look as real as their digital counterparts. Colors are spot on, featuring vibrant reds and yellows and deep, dark blacks. Flesh tones are accurate as are contrast levels. There’s no real evidence of these levels being overly adjusted although our characters, particularly that of Carly, do have a very ‘tan’ look to them. This is more Michael Bay being Michael Bay though, as he likes his characters to look this way (one glance at his film library would indicate this). Depth is top notch with background locales coming alive holding an immense amount of detail. I could go on forever labeling this transfer with endless praise, but I’ll just end this simply stating that this transfer is one that needs to be seen. While the 2D presentation does stack up, how does the 3D presentation fare?
Well, I’m happy to report that the 3D counterpart is one of the stronger 3D releases in recent times. Shot natively with the Sony CineAlta F35, Zeiss Master Prime Lenses according to IMDb, DoTM offers up a a solid 3D transfer. In one of the accompanying features found on the 2nd disc included in this combo pack, Director Michael Bay mentions that James Cameron (you know the guy who brought 3D into our lives) urged Bay to shoot in 3D as Cameron feels 3D adds more to film making. While I won’t agree or disagree with that comment in general, I will say that the 3D elements do add quite a lot to DoTM. Most notably is the depth of the 3D, which is seamless throughout. Whether little items like Prime reaching his hand ‘out’ or varying explosions, every aspect of this transfer felt real, nothing felt overly added just to be added. Sure some of the action sequences can feel a bit overwhelming at times, but that all but adds to the fun.
Now, on that I will mention that those just getting into 3D for the ‘pop’ element of the dimension, may come out a tad bit disappointed with DoTM’s 3D. Bay purposely didn’t throw in random, cheap effects. As he mentions below, he wanted the 3D to have heart, to have emotion that blended well with the story. With that known element, Bay has succeeded in making 3D not only work with the 2D aspect, but actually make DoTM (if possible) more exciting in 3D.
Just like the video transfer, the provided English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD is an absolute stunner. I’m not going to say just about every aspect of this is amazing…no….every aspect of this track is downright impressive. Dialogue is well reproduced with no instance of drop out or any real sequence (well minus those action scenes that you want to crank just to crank) where you need to adjust the volume. LFE is deep, immersive and an absolute stunner. Take in point the final action between Optimus Prime, Sentinel Prime and Megatron. This 5-10 minute scene shall hereby be referred to as ‘demo-worthy’ in this reviewers book. Here clarity, precision, depth, LFE, etc all are perfectly balanced. Surround usage is seamless, especially between rears. Steve Jablonsky’s score, as it was with its predecessors, handles both the quieter (as few as their are) and ramped up adrenaline rushing scenes perfectly. Some may feel I may be exaggerating when I say this but trust me….I’m not.Transformers: Dark of the Moon is THE soundtrack to beat in this ever expanding high-definition format. Yes, the experience is THAT good.
AH! Now here are some supplements, all of which are presented in HD:
- Above and Beyond: Exploring Dark of the Moon – Running a whooping (1:50:46) in length, this feature is (quite possibly) one of the best features I’ve seen on any Blu-ray title to date. Here Bay, along with his entire cast and crew, cover nearly every aspect of the making of Dark of the Moon. From the discussion of why Fox was not cast, to shooting in Chicago, the strains of Washington D.C., NASA’s involvement, all the way down to the sound mixing, everything is covered here.
- Uncharted Territory: NASA’s Future Then and Now – At 26:15 in length, this feature looks into NASA’s past, present and future.
- Deconstructing Chicago: Multi-Angle Sequences – This feature is broken down into 2 different areas: Previsualizations (17:05) allows viewers the opportunity to watch certain moments from the film in raw visualization form or side-by-side next to the final product. Visual Effects (18:36) allows viewers the chance to watch either “VFX Breakdowns” individually or with the final sequence. Of note, Previsualization has the ability to be played with optional commentary by Director Michael Bay and Previsualization Supervisor Steve Yamamoto. Visual Effects has the ability to be played with optional commentary by Visual Effects Supervisors Scott Farrar and Matthew Butler.
- The Art of Cybertron – This is a collection of still galleries for Deceptions, Autobots, Environments, Weapons and Gears, and Ships.
- The Dark of the Moon Archive – This broken down into 5 different sections. 3D: A Transforming Visual Art (3:06) is a brief discussion with Michael Bay and James Cameron about 3D. Moscow World Premier (2:29) shows the film’s World Premier in Moscow. Birdmen Featurette (2:28) shows us how the film’s stuntmen prepared for a few sequences. Cody’s iPad (2:07) shows us one of the film’s biggest fans. Lastly, The Sound of Transformers: Dark of the Moon (9:17) shows us how the film was mixed.
- The Matrix of Marketing – This gallery shows both the teaser and final trailers for the film, as well as a bunch of posters and still photos.
- DVD – A DVD of the film is included on a separate disc.
- UltraViolet – An UltraViolet copy of the film is included for optional download.
The Definitive Word
Dark of the Moon was a complete stunner on Blu-ray. Now available with a 3D counterpart as well as a bunch of features? This is a must purchase for 3D fans as well as DoTM fans.
Additional Screen Captures