Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Steelbook (Blu-ray)

July 2, 2014 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Hollywood is throwing around the word “Reboot” much too often these days. Many (myself included) were less than eager to get a Spider-man reboot just ten years after the original debuted. Michael Bay has now broken that record with his Transformers films. As of this writing, the next theatrical film opens in theaters this weekend. Once again, Director Michael Bay is at the helm. This will be a meager three years since the last entry – Dark of the Moon arrived in theaters in the summer of 2011 and only seven years since the original debuted. It also seems strange that we not only get a quick turnaround for a reboot, but it’s all the stranger that Michael Bay would reboot the very films that he already directed. It’d be nice to get a fresh take, but what are you going to do, right? I understand the Transformers films have their fans, but I was never crazy about any of them, really. I do think the film reviewed here (Dark of the Moon) is the best entry, I still can’t say I’m overly fond of it. It was clear early on that Bay was making these films for himself rather than the die-hard fans. I have nothing against taking liberties with certain source material, but something about his take on the Transformers just feels off to me. One improvement with this chapter is that the action is much more thrilling. There are several sequences towards the end that do have a nice intensity about them. For this film, Bay also chose to shoot it in 3D (at least a large portion of it), and that makes the action much more comprehensible. He holds the camera still for longer shots, rather than quick edits which can become headache inducing.

There are also a handful of interesting characters this time around. Megan Fox has been nixed this time around, but she’s not really missed. Outside of her looks, she never really offered much in the previous films. We do get some mildly amusing performances from John Turturro and John Malkovich. John Cho even shows up in a small role as a man who’s convinced there’s a conspiracy going on. The film begins with Sam (Shia LaBeouf) struggling with his post-college life, trying to find a job and figure out what he wants to do with his life. He has a new girlfriend Carly, and she more or less takes care of him. This is also one of many films from 2011 that altered history in some way. Super 8 was set in the late 70’s, Captain America took us way back to the 1940’s, and even X-men: First Class went back to an earlier decade as well. This film is set in the present day, but attempts to rewrite history by going back to when John F. Kennedy was in office and the landing a man on the moon. There’s some early stock footage (obviously altered for this film) showing a cover up involving autobots and their landing on the moon. It was interesting to see this angle approached. Truth be told, that’s about as much about the plot as I could tell you. I’ve seen it now 3 times and I am still not entirely sure exactly what it’s all about. That hardly matters, however, as the action is what most people come to these films for. There are more than a few subplots here as well, including one with the character Dylan played by Patrick Dempsey. For one reason or another, I was more willing to turn my brain off and enjoy this film more than its predecessors. While the plot is fairly complex, I was more involved with it overall. I enjoyed many of that various interactions between all the characters. Another plus here is that Bay tones down the needless humor that plagued the first two installments. There are some light moments here, but they’re not overplayed like they were before. Unfortunately, the film isn’t without its share of problems. For one: it’s too long. At well over 2 hours, we reach the point of exhaustion long before the end credits roll. I am still not crazy about the transformers voices either. They just irritate me. Ultimately, I found this to be the most enjoyable film in this series (so far), but that’s more faint praise before anything else. It’s not something I can see myself revisiting too often, but I also didn’t hate it as much as I initially feared.  It will be interesting to see where the series goes from here. I do think it would be nice to bring a new director to freshen things up a bit, though. Time will tell.

Video: How’s it look?

This should come as no shock, but the transfer is virtually flawless on all counts. Colors are strong and bold, the print pristine and flesh tones accurate. Stubble is present on several faces, deep red lipstick, stray hairs, you name it. Background shots are nice and smooth with no major issues. The transformers are all nicely detailed as well. Reflections, rust, various little details, they all show up nicely here. We’re essentially watching millions of dollars of effects on screen, but thankfully, there are no issues. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.40:1 ratio. There’s also a 3D version available as well. Choose wisely.

Audio: How’s it sound?

We get a Dolby True HD track here (there’s also a discrete track as well). It delivers in full force. This is a very busy film and there’s almost always something going on. We get really involved in the film with this track. Things blow up, shots are fired, and planes hover over in a few scenes as well. Vocals remained strong and clear. Bass kicks in on several occasions as well. I could go on, but you get the idea. This track delivers full force.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Sadly, there are none here. This film has been out for a few years now and I’m sure most people know that there is a feature-loaded version out there. All we get here is the film. This edition is packaged in a steel-book exclusive to Walmart. There’s rear art that closely resembles the front and some inner art from an action scene in the film. The case has a nice, sleek finish to it.

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