I must be one of the few people who despite hearing positive things, did not see Transformers in the theatre this past summer. The main reason being I’m just not interested in transformers, but then again so were most of the people I know who loved the movie. Regardless, here I find myself holding a copy of this summer blockbuster on HD DVD, I’m sure it’s going to blow me away, but only time will tell.
I couldn’t tell you how the film compares to the original cartoon, but from what I have gathered the premise is quite similar. I’ll give you the simplistic version; Cybertron is a very distant planet which is home to the transformers, but like all living beings war has erupted. The planet is eventually destroyed at the hands of Megatron who wanted to use the power of the All Spark for evil and domination. Meanwhile his main opposition Optimus Prime wants to use the All Spark for good. At the end of the day the All Spark end up on Earth, where Megatron followed it, but crash landed and became frozen in the Arctic Circle. Here explorer Captain Archibald Witwicky stumbles upon his body in 1897 and accidentally has the coordinates of the All Spark embedded into his glasses. Over a hundred years later Archibald’s great grandson Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf, Disturbia) is in possession of these glasses, not knowing the power it holds, trying to sell them on eBay. After his 1976 Camaro comes alive before his eyes, he learns that there are a group of transformers called the Decepticons that are out to get the glasses from him. Sam allies with the good group of transformers called Autobots and eventually fights to save the world.
I have to admit that I was rather surprised with this movie; it wasn’t anything like I expected it would be, in a good way. Sure I found some of the casting calls, i.e Shia LaBeouf to not tickle my fancy, and I might be the only one out there who speaks out against Spielberg’s new Tom Hanks, but I really can’t stand the kid. But that’s neither here nor there, I didn’t let my distaste of LaBeouf get in the way of my enjoying Transformers. Besides, there were numerous other well cast roles; Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, and Jon Voight to name a few.
The movie itself is action packed, one of those ones your going to want to turn your woofer and speakers up for. But what I liked was the inclusion of comedic elements, mostly sarcastic comments on the whim of our protagonist. When I wasn’t on the edge of my seat I was getting a chuckle or two in.
But the thing that interested me most about this movie, aside from the rather decent plot, were the spectacular special effects that looked just down right amazing on HD DVD. There were some great combat scenes that were completely CGI that flowed spectacularly, blending very well with the live action.
Well I don’t want to talk it up too much, because I didn’t think it was the greatest movie I’ve seen this year, I have to say I was very surprised with it. I thought I would dislike it immensely. But instead it turned out to be fun for everyone, young, old, transformer nerd, or newcomer, I’ve heard of all sorts of people who were impressed with this one.
Presented in 1080p 2.35:1 aspect ratio and encoded in MPEG4 Transformers joins the top tier HD DVD group with this presentation. Right from the start of the movie you will be in for a treat. The colors are fantastic, be it the bright yellow of Bumblebee or the dark blue and red of Optimus Prime; almost every color you could think of is rendered vibrantly throughout.
The CGI in this film looks spectacular and is actually enhanced in the high definition presentation. Instead of looking soft, (as a lot of CGI does on HD) the transformers look incredibly sharp and detailed. Skin tones do look good a lot of the time, unfortunately there are quite a few scenes where they look enhanced and over saturated. A minor complaint but one that is noticeable.
There is no denying that Paramount has done a spectacular job with this video presentation. Although it is not the best looking film I’ve seen on HD DVD it certainty comes close.
Paramount has included a 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus track which may surprise a few, but rest assured this track rocks. You may hate Michael Bay and all the movies he has ever directed but one thing is for sure, he does know how to make things explode. From start to finish you will be shaken to the ground by the rich deep bass that is present through 90% of the film. Action sequences sound superb, with both excellent support from rear channels and sub woofer; it really enhanced an already exciting picture. With all the explosions happening around you would think the dialogue track would be buried and impossible to hear, luckily this is not the case.
What surprised me most about this track is how good it sounded without being a TrueHD track. For all you audiophiles out there, this is the movie to show off your home theatre system.
Paramount has included another disc full of features all of which are presented in HD. Fans of the movie will want to check all these features out as they offer vast information on the films production.
- Audio Commentary – Commentary by Director Michael Bay
- Transformers Heads Up Display – Like Warner’s In Movie Experience, this feature plays throughout the movie and offers PIP commentary.
- Our World – A four part making of feature that covers a wide range of production information. We get audtion footage from Megan Fox and Anthoney Anderson, aswell as a look at the military training required for Josh Duhamel. Finally we are a given a look at set construction and a look at the machines themselves.
- Their World – This set of features focuses on the creation of the Transformers. This feature is a must see for fans of the movie or original show.
- More Than Meets The Eye – From concept to reality, an in-depth look at the Skorpinok fight.
- Concepts – A look at some concept art from.
For all of you HD DVD owners, if you like this movie even a little then it’s worth the purchase because it looks and sounds amazing. It’s vibrant, crisp, and booming in HD and comes packed with some solid extra features. Very well presented and a must have for fans, Transformers on HD DVD gets my approval.