BLU-RAY REVIEW: Transformers - Dark of the Moon 3D
Blu-ray 3D and bonus features finally hit hi-def home video...
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Fans of Transformers: Dark of the Moon have something to celebrate this week as the latest release features not only the intense action sci-fi extravaganza on blu-ray, DVD, and digital copy (previously reviewed HERE), but also the film on Blu-ray 3D and a load of bonus features.
There’s nothing new to report regarding the video and audio quality. The simple fact is Transformers: Dark of the Moon features one of the most impressive video transfers and audio soundtracks available today. As I mentioned before, the film's 1080p video transfer in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio captures the movie's big screen gorgeousness -- the bright, bold color and quick action scenes show no issues while the deep, dark cold of space is captured beautifully. Everything from the battle-damaged cityscape of Chicago to the damaged star cruisers battling in space, everything is gorgeous here. Likewise, the 3-D brings the film to life, adding a dimension previously unseen by all but those who caught the film in the theaters on the big screen. The 3-D transitions - while easily noticed - aren't overly apparent and seem more natural than some 3-D movies on home video. Likewise, while the 3-D is impressive, it's not over-the-top. Instead of distracting the viewing experience, the 3-D enhances it and provides added entertainment.
Likewise, the pulse-pounding 7.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless English surround track brings to life every laser blast, every scream, and every Autobot rally cry. For those with a 7.1 surround system, you'll catch yourself ducking for cover as explosions rock and bullets ricochet from rear and side channel speakers. As with the previous release, dialogue is always clear from the front channels and background noise is never too loud or interfering.
As for bonus features, this copy promises to impress all of those fans who - like me - hated the first release for teasing us with a great movie, but including nothing more. Finally, we're provided the bonus materials we've all been craving and it couldn't get much better! The set includes a nearly 2-hour long, five-part documentary exploring everything and anything there is to know about making the film. Entitled "Above and Beyond: Exploring Dark of the Moon," this beast of a bonus includes the 22-minute "Rising from the Fallen: Development and Design" focusing on the film's (you guessed it!) design elements, the 27-minute "Ready for Primetime: Filming Across America" focusing on the film's locales, the 14-minute "Battle in the Heartland: Shooting in Chicago" which focuses on the cast and crew's experience filming the movie's climactic battle, the 16-minute "Attack of the Birdmen: Aerial Stunts" which shows how the film's base jumper scene was made, and - finally - the 30-minute "Shadow of the Sentinel: Post-Production and Release," which explores the film's editing, CGI, sound effects, the film's premiere, and more. Awesome in length, breadth, and sheer amount of coverage, die-hard Transformers fans will be pleased.
More bonus features include the 26-minute "Uncharted Territory: NASA's Future Then and Now," which examines the USA's space program and its 60+ year history; the two-part, 35-minute "Deconstructing Chicago: Multi-Angle Sequences," which is broken down into "Previsualizations" and "Visual Effects." Both of these examine multiple scenes in the film in a variety of development levels. As a bonus, fans can watch these scenes side-by-side with their completed counterpart and with or without audio commentary by Director Michael Bay and Previsualization Supervisor Steve Yamamoto or Visual Effects Supervisors Scott Farrar and Matthew Butler.
"The Dark of the Moon Archive" provides viewers with a number of bonus featurette-type shorts, including "3D: A Transforming Visual Art" with Director Bay and James Cameron talking up 3-D tech, "Moscow World Premiere," which shows the film's debut; " Birdmen Featurette," a shorter look at the aerial base jumping previously seen in other bonus features; "Cody's iPad," a look at Director Bay working with a fan; and "The Sound of 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon," which examines the film's audio awesomeness.
Lastly, the film's teaser trailer, theatrical trailer, and a collection of images - including style guides, posters, promo pieces, and an impressive still gallery with images of the Autobots, Decepticons, Environments, Weapons and Gear, and Ships is all also included.
As I've said before, if you're a fan of Transformers and you're looking for the best home video experience available, this is it. Even if you don't have a 3-D TV (yet!), this is a great package to pick up as it's worth the extra price for the amazing assortment of special features.
Look for Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3-D Blu-ray/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy 3-Disc Set wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley