Transformers: Dark of the Moon - 4K Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray / Media Reviews' started by Michael Scott, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    Transformers: Dark of the Moon (#3)

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    Movie: :3.5stars:
    Video: :4.5stars:
    Audio: :5stars:
    Extras: :4.5stars:
    Final Score: :4.5stars:



    [​IMG] Movie

    As with Warner Brothers and the Harry Potter films, Paramount has decided to go back and give us all 4 of the original Transformers movies on 4K, to match The Last Knight that recently came out. I’m never one to complain about 4K UHD content, so I was happy to request these and luckily all 4 are here and available for review in the next week.

    Fans were NOT pleased with Revenge of the Fallen after the wild success of 2007’s Transformers, they (and I to a lesser extent) were not exactly hoping for much when Dark of the Moon came out. It wasn’t that we didn’t hope for something better after the debacle that happened in 2009, but it was just that most sequels tend to get worse with each progressive film released, not better. That being said, most of us were actually VERY pleasantly surprised when Dark of the Moon managed to pull the series out of the abyss and bring everything back on track. There are some flaws leftover from Revenge of the Fallen, and the loss of Mikaela was a big blow (along with Shia LaBeouf’s constant mental melt downs on camera), but overall the film had a lot of the same joy and entertainment value that the 2007 film brought to the game. The first half of the film tends to be a bit sluggish, but once the famous betrayal happens around the midway point the movie just goes in with both guns blazing and doesn’t let up till the credits roll.

    It’s been a few years since the events of Revenge of the Fallen and the world has slowly moved on. The Autobots are still allied with the U.S. government tracking down Decepticons, but their old enemies have slowly started to vanish into the shadows. Sam’s life (still play by good old Shia LaBeouf) has gotten a bit worse though. Even though he’s been given a medal by the president, and an Ivy league scholarship, the nerdy kid seems to be spinning his wheel. Mikaela apparently dumped him in the interim, and now Sam is hooked up with the stunningly rich and gorgeous Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), AND he’s getting a bit depressed that he can’t find a job. Well, at least a job that recognizes his “greatness” as Sam has a bit of an ego problem after helping save the world twice. When Optimus Prime runs into knowledge that an ancient Autobot spaceship has landed on the dark side of the moon, he and the rest of the government make a race to the moon to rescue it. Low and behold, it happens to be the ARK, an ancient Cybertronian vessel that houses Optimus Prime’s old mentor, Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy), who has knowledge of an incredible transportation device known as “the bridge” that could be used as a weapon in Decepticon hands.

    Unfortunately, good portions of the technology have been stolen from the craft, and it soon becomes evident by whom as the battered Megatron (Hugo Weaving) emerges from hiding with an army of decepticons trying to acquire Sentinel for his own megalomaniacal plans. However, not EVERYONE is who they seem, and one of the Autobots betrays the rest, giving Sentinel Prime’s power over to Megatron and his army, leaving Sam, Carly and the rest of the robotic good guys in a VERY bad place. Cybertron is being drawn here, and with it the defunct Decepticon army and their weaponry that will bolster Megatron’s forces and make him truly invincible. Leaving our world in a complete and utter shambles.
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    Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a bit of a split movie in some ways. The first hour and 15 minutes are a bit of a drag, with way too much character exposition and a look into Sam Witwicky’s miserable life. Sam is usually slightly insufferable at times (thanks to Shia), but he’s full blown horor case here. The entire first half of the movie is spend listening to him pout about how he’s too good for these jobs, and how he saved the world while he pouts about losing Mikaela, all the while his gorgeous super model girlfriend just dotes on him. Even when he’s facing off against Frances McDormand’s intelligence officer cliché he comes across as sickeningly revolting. There IS some necessary backstory here, and it sets up the re-introduction of Agent Simmons, who now comes with a bodyguard named Dutch (Alan Tudyck, who steals every scene he’s in), as well as the return of Megatron, along with the introduction of Sentinel.

    All that on the table, once the second half kicks off and the Decepticon forces have breached into earth, it becomes a non stop race to the finish with a story line that’s actually a lot darker than has been seen in the previous two films. The film’s end battle is nearly 50 minutes long and it simply ROCKS the viewer back into their seats with a spectacle so big that only Michael Bay could have conceived it. While I loved Tranformers and HATED Revenge of the Fallen, I was really please with how Dark of the Moon turned out. My biggest gripes have to do with Shia LaBeouf being an insufferable little snot and (I can’t believe I’m saying this), the lack of Megan Fox. Megan has always had the acting ability of a tomato, but her character of Mikaela had a really solid connection by the end of Revenge of the Fallen. SUPPOSEDLY, Fox was fired from the set due to comparing Michael Bay to Hitler in his directing style (and supposedly Spielberg got all in a snit and made Bay fire her), but they came forth years later and says she quit, so who really knows. The end result is a frustrating experience where the one person keeping Sam grounded leaves after ALL they’ve been through together (I mean, Mikaela and Sam’s big thing at the end of the 2nd film was how they would live and die for each) and we’re supposed to accept Carly. It leaves a gap in the film that could have made the film on par with Transformers, instead of just below it, in my opinion.





    Rating:

    Rated PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo




    Video: :4.5stars:
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    I almost feel like this portion of the review is unnecessary. 4 reviews on these 4K UHD releases, and 4 very similar write ups. I guess it’s to the credit all involved in the creation of these films that they look so stunning in 4K, as each and every one of these has been an amazing UHD experience. Dark of the Moon was shot with a combination of digital and 35mm film, resulting in a gorgeous looking experience that really looks fantastic in the jump from 1080p to 2160p. The fine detailing is a good bit better, with the textures of the Transformers looking more precise, with battle damage and scarring more visible to the naked eye. The giant structures that Shockwave and his monstrosities tear through show individual details that I couldn’t see in the Blu-ray, and the use of HDR (and DV) makes the largest difference in the whole experience. The colors of Sentinel Prime’s bright red frame shimmers in the light, and the shades of blue and red over Optimus Prime’s body shows up remarkably well. The visceral feeling of the colors actually lifting off the screen is so intense that I really felt almost overwhelmed by them at times. Blacks are deep and inky as could be, with no signs of any artifacting that I could see.






    Audio: :5stars:
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    I was honestly curious about Dark of the Moon the most when it came to the Atmos upgrade. I knew that the first two films would show a significant upgrade from 5.1 to Atmos, but with Dark of the Moon being one of THE BEST 7.1 tracks I’ve ever heard, I really wondered if we would notice THAT much of an increase. I’m happy to say that the if you have the equipment, this one will knock your socks off. There is just such a sense of immersion and directional shifting with the change to object oriented encoding that it’s not hard to see where the upgrades are coming from. The driller transformer that does Shockwave’s bidding has to show off some of the finest examples of the changes, with his snaking and twisting around the building shifting from one speaker to the next. At one moment coming from behind, then circling overhead and dropping down to the right. LFE is nothing short of perfection, with the sonic assault that Transformers fans are used to combined with pinpoint precision in the dialog. Dynamic range is simply huge, with quiet dialog being interrupted by skull pounding bass, and roaring action that just pushes the listener straight back into their seats.





    Extras: :4.5stars:
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    • Above and Beyond: Exploring Dark of the Moon
    • Uncharted Territory: NASA's Future Then and Now
    • Deconstructing Chicago: Multi-Angle Sequences
    • The Art of Cybertron
    • The Dark of the Moon Archive
    • The Matrix of Marketing










    Final Score: :3.5stars:


    Dark of the Moon was Bay coming back from total defeat after the abysmal Revenge of the Fallen two years prior. The film is certainly flawed, and suffers from changing out Megan Fox with Rosie, but the benefits of having a better script and a much more finely tuned story helps a LOT to alleviate the flaws. Personally I would put it as the second best film of the franchise, just behind the 2007 Transformers for being the most fun and entertaining. Sadly Bay goes over the deep end after Shia LaBeouf is gone and the Mark Wahlberg ones that come next are the cinematic equivalent of being waterboarded, but with good video and audio. The 4K upgrade from Blu-ray to UHD is once again well worth it, and the extras from the limited edition 3D release are ported over as well, making this one impressive package.





    Technical Specifications:

    Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson
    Directed by: Michael Bay
    Written by: Ehren Kruger
    Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
    Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0, French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1
    Studio: Paramount
    Rated: PG-13
    Runtime: 155 minutes
    Blu-ray Release Date: December 5th, 2017






    Recommendation: Good Watch

     
    Jon Liu, tripplej and Todd Anderson like this.
  2. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    First! And first to say: I’m buying this for demo reasons ASAP. I’ve used DOTM during reviews countless times and can’t wait to get this 4K version into the rotation!

    Great review Mike!
     
  3. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Wait... I just ordered and a suggested title: Cloverfield 4K UHD.

    Is that one getting Atmos? Have you heard?
     
  4. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    At the moment it's not been confirmed WHAT the audio will be
     
  5. JBrax

    JBrax AV Addict
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    Yep, I also still use this for demo material so it’s a no brainer buy for me. Thanks for the review.
     
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  6. tripplej

    tripplej Senior AV Addict

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    Thanks. Will check this out for demo purposes. :)
     
  7. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Cloverfield Atmos would be INSANE. Fingers are crossed.
     
  8. Jon Liu

    Jon Liu Active Member

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    I agree that this one was my 2nd favorite from the franchise. You're also not alone in missing Megan Fox's presence in this film too. As much as it shames us to say, she (and shia, and their chemistry) made it better. I'm really looking forward to watching this one again!
     
  9. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    You should be pleased with any of the 4K UHD Transformer films Jon.... they all look and sound great. Dark of the Moon still has the most VICIOUS track of the entire series though, and is probably my favorite of the 5 audio wise.
     

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