Transformers Revenge of the Fallen (Blu-ray) Studio: Paramount Home Video Rated: PG-13 (intense scenes of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material and brief drug material) Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HD Encoding: 1080p HD Video Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Audio: English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio; Spanish, French 5.1 Dolby Digital Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese; English SDH+ Time: 149 minutes Disc Format: 2 SS/DL BD’s Case Style: Keep case Theatrical Release Date: 2009 Blu-Ray Release Date: October 20, 2009 So as not to break the precedent set with my review of the first Transformers picture, I’m going to keep my editorial comments to a minimum. Usually when I do reviews I spend some time going over the story, comment on the themes then critique the rest. This being Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen as directed by Michael Bay, I’m only going to say the following: The good and bad robots are still at it. There is a near-mythical artifact that, if recovered by the bad robots, could signal the end of the world as we know it. How, while only being a mere six minutes longer than the first picture, does this one feel 40 minutes too long. Robots fight while humans try to use their big brains to solve this mess, and Megan Fox is still pretty hot. Sometimes brevity is the best idea! Movie: **/***** Video: Note: I’m watching this title using a Marantz VP 11-S1 DLP projector, which has a native resolution of 1080p. I am using a Sony Playstation 3 Blu-Ray player while a Denon 3808CI does the switching and pass through of the video signal. I am utilizing the HDMI capabilities of each piece of equipment. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is encoded in the MPEG-4 AVC codec at 1080p with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Bay maintains a near exact look with this picture as he did the first, and similarly, this disc looks much the same as the first. The image is bright and punchy showing a boosted contrast level making the picture look hot, which is a trademark to Bay’s pictures. This picture, however, brings the heat even more with numerous shots set against sun drenched backdrops to cast a beautiful golden glow on everything. Colors are warm and rich and even though there is higher contrast levels, the colors still maintain accuracy. Black levels are exceptional showing great depth and detail in even the darkest of scenes. They maintain good delineation between the light and dark parts of the picture and I did not notice any black or color bleeds. Flesh tones are accurate for the most part, but the actors are always at the mercy of the numerous colors in the shot, radiating from computer monitors, environmental effects or robot’s rushing by. Sharpness and detail are excellent and I just wish things would slow down sometimes so I could take in the image a bit better (or just use the slo-mo button). I suggest you take some time to do some pausing and frame by frame examination of the robots (or Fox!) just to see the level of detail and work put into them. Video noise is very minor and some film grain is noticed; edge enhancement is not noticed nor was there any print dirt. Not surprising, this is reference material. Video: *****/***** Audio: The 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack was attained by the HDMI connection of the PS3 to the Denon 3808CI. This 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio track brings the rain and, not to sound too repetitive, is true reference material from the moment the logos and movie begins. I don’t recall hearing a more active soundtrack probably since the first movie and disc. Here all 5.1 channels are used almost equally. There were a couple points in the movie where I noticed the fronts were barely engaged and the two surround channels were doing all of the work. Transitions between each of the channels are seamless and I found myself looking up to see if the planes were flying over me. Fidelity is excellent producing a clean and clear presentation that is free from any distortion. Bass effects come alive in the action scenes, obviously, but they do not overshadow the rest of the soundtrack. It is still completely aggressive, but it works very well in harmony with the rest of the soundtrack. As the robots set off various explosives aimed at the viewer, the low bass rumbles your way, increasing in intensity as it washes over you. Voices are natural sounding but ADR is noticed in a couple scenes. Again, this is reference material and the sound designer on this soundtrack deserves an Oscar. Audio: *****/***** Bonus Material: Disc One: Feature Length Commentary by Director Michael Bay and Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman: the three keep the commentary rolling talking about the usual things: the story, characters and the shoot. Many of the stories we heard in the other docs are elaborated on, especially by Orci and Kurtzman who get a little shorted on the big doc on Disc Two. Bay as usual turns in a good doc, and Orci and Kurtzman keep up with some thoughtful insight into the story. Disc Two: everything on the disc is in HD unless otherwise noted. The Human Factor: Extracting Revenge of the Fallen (2:14:31) is an overriding title that contains the following parts: Seeds of Vengeance covering development and design; Domestic Destruction, Joint Operations and Wonders of the World charts the production in the U.S., the military parts and finally in the Middle East, respectively; Start Making Sense highlights the editing and Under the Gun explores the visual effects. Finally, Running the Gauntlet deals with post-production and the final release. This is one loooong documentary on about every aspect of the making of the movie, and everyone agrees the first one was really just a warm-up for this verbose sequel. It becomes almost laughable when everyone is commenting on just how big this picture is yet now we have a doc on the making that is nearly the same length. Regardless, it’s a very good piece on the state of big budget pictures today and some of the amazing things that can be done in CG. A Day with Bay: Tokyo (13:23): Bay guides us through the world premier of the movie in Tokyo and you see him still doing editing and tweaks to the movie up to minutes before the showing. 25 Years of Transformers (10:44) is a look at the continuing popularity of the Transformers from toys to comics to animation to the movie. Nest: Transformers Data Hub is an interactive set of menus that allows you to choose the various Transformers and get more information about them. It is split between the Decepticons and the Autobots, and gives you information from the animated series, a bio, pin-ups, their Marvel Comics and IDW comic inceptions, concept art, ILM production art and Hasbro toys. This is a fun primer to the characters and it’s interesting to see how they’ve evolved over the years. The AllSpark Experiment is your chance to unleash the power of the recently recovered AllSpark shard on Earth vehicles. You choose your vehicle and customize it with parts and accessories, and then you trick it out with the AllSpark. You first choose one of four vehicles (and they tease you with a Solstice!) and you apply certain custom combinations to get four new Transformers. Discover all four and this will unlock an all new fifth vehicle. Once you do that, you unlock a top secret message about the future… Once you pimp out your ride, you see it transform into a robot. This is a fun time waster with a nice tease to it! Deconstructing Visual Bayhem (22:46 total, also available by scene) is an aptly named title for a series of pieces on different scenes in the movie and the effects in them. You choose a scene then use your angle button to switch between pre-vis and pre-vis/ final comparison. Bay gives us an introduction on the importance of pre-vis and there is a commentary with Pre-Vis Supervisor Steve Yamamoto. We’ve seen this type of footage before, and while pre-vis is still pretty rough, it is still more detailed than one would expect. Deleted and Alternate Scenes (6:01): not so surprisingly, there are only three scenes here: “Sam and Alice at the dorm”, “The Witwicky’s in Paris” and “Leo Refuses to go to Egypt”. Completely unnecessary but here for completeness sake, these scenes just tend to make the more annoying parts of the movie even more grating. Giant Effing Movie (24:03) has the crew having a bunch of fun ripping on just how stupid big this type of movie making can be. This piece gives you some really cool behind-the-scenes footage of the explosions and stunts and makes you realize filmmaking can be dangerous. It also has the cast and crew goofing around as Bay and the cast try to downplay their hype. Linkin Park Across this Great Divide music video (4:40). The Matrix of Marketing contains the two theatrical trailers, the six TV commercials and Galleries shows us the theatrical posters and other promo/ marketing material. Bonus Features: ****.5/***** Conclusions: Bay says in one of his interviews that he will not listen to critics of his work when he has kids and parents coming up to him telling him how much fun they have at his movies and how it reignites childhood for them. I tend to agree with them, but I still don’t want to be bored at an action movie because it goes on too long. This Blu-ray is again, reference material all the way around, from a stunning picture to filling rattling soundtrack to an excellent documentary on the making of the picture.