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As I stated in my initial DVD review, TRANSFORMERS ($40) could possibly be the best over-the-top, mindless action movie ever adapted from an animated television series that was inspired by a toy. Considering the source material, I certainly didnít have any expectations going into this flick for the first time; however, TRANSFORMERS really kicks ass and I seriously doubt it was taking any names. TRANSFORMERS is all action spectacle, and a perfectly realized one for that matter. Surprisingly, for a movie like TRANSFORMERS, the acting is really good, despite the fact that the script is little more than a springboard to propel the characters from one hypnotic, adrenalin charged, action sequence to the next.

The premise of TRANSFORMERS finds the warring factions of the Autobots and Decepticons from the planet Cybertron arriving on Earth, in search of the Allspark, a device capable of bringing machines to life. The Autobots and Decepticons are they themselves living machines, whose ongoing war has destroyed their home world- a fate that could befall the Earth, thanks to their presence. As we soon learn, the Autobots are the good guys, who want to protect humanity, while the Decepticons are the bad guys who will enslave or destroy humanity, that is, if they are able to locate the Allspark first. Shia LaBeouf is Sam Witwicky, the teenager who finds himself pulled into the middle of the conflict, due to the fact he possesses an artifact that is a virtual roadmap to the whereabouts of the Allspark. The cast of TRANSFORMERS also includes Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Rachael Taylor, Anthony Anderson, Jon Voight, John Turturro, Michael O'Neill, Kevin Dunn, Peter Cullen, Julie White, Amaury Nolasco, Mark Ryan, Zack Ward, Luis Echagarruga and the late Bernie Mac.

Dreamworks Home Entertainment has made TRANSFORMERS available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. My reaction to the initial TRANSFORMERS DVD release was that the disc signified one of the best looking standard definition releases I had ever encountered. On Blu-ray, TRANSFORMERS represents high definition at its absolute best, leaving the otherwise terrific SD DVD in the dust. The 1080p presentation is nothing short of jaw dropping! Sharpness, clarity image depth and fine detail are all first rate, and best of all TRANSFORMERS still looks like a movie, instead of digitally over-processed video. Every little nuance of the actorsí skin and hair, as well textures, bits of dust and sand are rendered with superb definition. The hi-def image allows the filmís intended look to shine through; the stylized cinematography provides a flavor of gritty realism, which also allows the integration of CGI effects to appear more seamless. Colors deeply saturated, plus the slightly overripe flesh tones come across as wonderfully appealing. Black are pitch perfect and the whites are pure. Shadow detail is first rate, while the contrast can sometimes push slightly towards appearing overblown; it is rendered here without a hiccup. The elements from which TRANSFORMERS have been mastered are free from flaws. TRANSFORMERS is intentionally grainy, but not to an extreme level; for the most part, there is a mild veneer, but it can increase depending on the lighting and other circumstances. Overall, the grain maintains a cinematic experience, as opposed to that of watching a video. TRANSFORMERS goes to the top of the pile demo discs to show off the virtues of Blu-ray.

TRANSFORMERS is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. What sounded great in standard Dolby Digital is just astounding in lossless TrueHD. A perfect complement to the visuals, the highly aggressive sound design places the viewer in the middle of a sonic assault that will leave them smiling- to say the very least. Sound comes at the viewer from all sides, but is never muddy or indistinct; there is a pinpoint procession to sound placement, plus things leap across the soundstage without effort. Fidelity is stunningly good; the music sounds great, plus the sound effects are weighty and totally convincing. Lash down the breakables, as the wonderfully potent bass channel will shake things off of shelves. Dialogue is crisp and maintains complete intelligibility. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been spread across both discs of this set. Please note that the majority of supplements have been ported from the previous DVD release of the film. Disc one features a running Audio Commentary with director Michael Bay. Also on disc one, are the hi-def contents that were not included on the DVD. Transformers H.U.D. is an augmented viewing mode for the film that offers, text and pop-up video (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Disc one is also BD-Live Enabled and will offer downloadable on-line features (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

Moving on to disc two, one will find the remainder of the supplemental programming, which is broken up into three sections: Our World, Their War and More Than Meets The Eye. Our World features four separate programs: The Story Sparks (nine minutes), Human Allies (thirteen minutes), I Fight Giant Robots (fourteen minutes) and Battleground (fourteen minutes), which cover various phases of story development and production. Their War also features four separate programs: Rise Of The Robots (fourteen minutes), Autobots Roll Out (twenty minutes), Decepticons Strike (fourteen minutes), and Inside The Allspark (seventeen minutes), which looks at the origins of the toys and characters, design changes for the movie, vehicle designs utilized for the movie and the CGI work. More Than Meets The Eye breaks down an action and effects sequence, provides conceptual artwork and two Theatrical Trailers.

As mindless action movies go, TRANSFORMERS is just about perfect. It provides all the entertainment value one could possibly hope for from this type of genre movie. As Blu-ray Disc release go, TRANSFORMERS is also just about perfect. The visual and audio qualities of this high definition release are demonstration quality to the nth degree. Absolutely, positively must have recommended.



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


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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