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Transformers 2-disc Special Edition (2007) HD DVD

[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/photopost/data/500/transformers_HD.jpg[/img]
Director: Michael Bay
Staring: Anthony Anderson, Peter Cullen, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, John Voight
Studio: Paramount
Production Year: 2007
Media Year: 2007

Rating:PG-13
Runtime: 143 Minutes
Video: Anamorphic 2.35:1
Audio: Dolby Digital Plus 5.1

The Movie :3stars:

Despite the woes of studios over piracy, Transformers was a historic box office draw – the film has the distinction of being one of four summer 2007 blockbusters to crack the $300,000 box office gross.

But things didn’t always look so rosy for the Transformers movie. The generation that grew up on the Hasbro toy franchise Had reason to worry when it was announced that Michael Bay would direct the film. Loyal fans of the Transformers were sure a Bay-Hollywood effort would result in utter disappointment. But surprisingly, the result is one of the most intense visual spectacles on film. Transformers boasts the best use of CGI on film to date.

At the core of the film is the story of boy meets car meets girl. This time the car is a Transformer named Bumblebee. It’s through the boy, Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf), that the audience is introduced to the world of Transformers.

To provide plot details you haven’t already seen on the film’s well-circulated trailers won’t do it any justice. If you understand the basics you know it’s not a deep story. In fact, it has too many loose ends and meandering sub-plots, and is much longer than audiences require. Be prepared for a marketing onslaught! The film is peppered with product placements, as blatant as the Xbox360 theme-chime playing while the device is…well… transforming.


But the draw to this film isn’t its deep and compelling story, but rather some of the best CGI action ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) has ever created. Transformers could be the best visual thrill of the year. The transformations of common vehicles into giant robots are amazingly detailed and at times actually look plausible. Many of the spectacular CGI battles take place in broad daylight, so nothing is obscured
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/photopost/data/500/trans4.jpg[/img]
in shadows.

The transformations are fun to watch - they tumble and spin into new forms in a complicated mechanical sequence almost instantly, drastically altering their shape but not really their mass. The interaction between giant robots and the environment is simply stunning. CGI robots colliside with roads and vehicles spraying rocks in their wake, they’ll smash buildings and crack concrete as they walk. It’s the attention to these little details that makes the fantastic look so real. This film is the template for how CGI should be done.

Video :5stars:

Paramount used AVC Mpeg4 on the HD DVD. The source is said to be the digital interpositive of the film, also used as the source for digital prints and the Imax version. This 1080P representation on your HDTV is stunningly detailed and colorful. The HD DVD stays true to Michael Bay’s original color themes in various scenes - you’ll notice there are bluish scenes in the movie, then some scenes take on more of an orange hue. The subtle changes in color palette are never distracting, it works perfectly on HD DVD. Even though Bay chose to shoot this in a kind of grainy style, it’s truly one of the finest representations of video on a high def format.

Audio :4stars:

Transformers was encoded with a 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus soundtrack at 1.5 mbps. Sorry, no DTS-HD or True HD tracks to choose from. For those of us who like to compare different audio options, it would have been nice to have more audio options for comparison, even if we only imagine noticeable differences. Not on this disc.

Fortunately, the Dolby Digital Plus soundtrack is flawless! From voices in dialogue to the recruitment of your front speakers and subwoofer when the action heats up, the audio is always presented at a clear and consistent volume.

I tend to agree with comments made on the forum about the bass in Transformers being very-very low. But I thought 300 excercised my sub a little more frequently and shall we say - LOUD.

Special Features :3stars:

Web-Enabled Content: This is one of the key advantages of HD DVD over Blu-ray (for now). I have two HD DVD players, neither of which was able to obtain this extra content for me. The LG combo player doesn’t quite meet the HD DVD specification but will render HD DVD movies beautifully. The Xbox360 HD DVD add-on promised it was downloading something, but never got anywhere. I cancelled it and haven’t tried again since.

But I hear the web-enabled features are well done, especially for any Transformers fan. You can watch the film inside an Intelligence Mode widget that provides real-time info on the characters on screen. There’s also Sector 7, which Paramount promises will contain unique footage never before seen.

[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/photopost/data/500/trans3.jpg[/img]
Documentaries: A detailed list of documentaries covers every conceivable aspect of making this film. The first one called “The Story Sparks” is the most interesting because it demonstrates how the project emerged from concept. It has interviews with Spielberg on Transformers, and shows clips of early cartoons and toys from Hasbro.

From there the documentaries descend into the usual congratulatory stuff. The demonstrations of the actors training with the U.S. military are very interesting. Michael Bay called upon his close ties to Uncle Sam and had his actors trained on the use of various weapons. Seeing Hollywood actors dine upon MREs is worth a look.

Concepts: Is a quick look at the concept art that went into the making of the film. It’s visually and audibly entertaining with music accompanying pages of transformer fantasy art that was later turned into CGI.

Overall :4stars:

This HD DVD should sit close to your Home Theater system. Whenever you want to see what your system can really do with both audio and video, just pop it in. Although I found the movie too long and mostly corny, I expected as much from Michael Bay. I wasn’t as annoyed as I thought I would be by all the blatant product placements, maybe because again, I didn’t expect much going into the film.

But as an action film it’s an exciting edge-of-your-seat-visual thrill.
 

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Re: Transformers Special Edition HD DVD Review

Thanks for the review, since I will soon have a Toshiba A2 I will be picking up this move in HD. I hope this turns out to be a true WOW experience as I have not seen a movie in HD before.
 

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Re: Transformers Special Edition HD DVD Review

Nice review.

The web enabled features are quite neat. The Sector 7 downloads aren't great - and not really worth the download time, imo. But, the intelligence mode is very cool. The kids got a kick out of watching the fight scenes with the intelligence mode turned on and seeing the health levels of the characters.
Furthermore, when watching the final fight in this mode, I noticed something that is only evident in the intelligence mode.

Spoiler

Starscream never dies. Something I didn't notice watching the movie without intelligence mode. But, perhaps more importantly, it shows that Starscream transmits at the end. Maybe, he's trying to contact other bad guys?


Also, there are place holders for other features to be made active later. It looks like there'll be a "make your own compilation of clips" ala 300 which on the 300 HD-DVD I thought was pretty funny at times.



Mitch
 

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Re: Transformers Special Edition HD DVD Review

Spoiler

Starscream never dies. Something I didn't notice watching the movie without intelligence mode. But, perhaps more importantly, it shows that Starscream transmits at the end. Maybe, he's trying to contact other bad guys?
I smell a sequel.....or 3

Hakka.
 

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Re: Transformers Special Edition HD DVD Review

Thank you for the compliments on the review.

I figured this movie was destined for a sequel or two.
 

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Re: Transformers Special Edition HD DVD Review

I haven't watched any of the web enabled extras, I dont have my player connected to the net. Do you need to be connected to watch them or do you just connect and download them to the player and watch when not connected??
I can't have my player connected to the HT and the net at the same time.

That intelligence mode sounds cool.

Hakka.
 

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Re: Transformers Special Edition HD DVD Review

Spoiler

He dident transmit, he actually left earth in search of a "friend" you can see this if you watch through the credits, him flying out of the atmosphere.


I thought it was an excellent movie, enough plot to more or less explain the movie. The subsonics are amazing in this movie, they truly are sweet.
 

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Re: Transformers Special Edition HD DVD Review

It seems a little bit like they were afraid to take risk and perhaps make it more suspenseful at times but the action was intense when it was there!! I agree that the CGI was amazing but it could have used more movement of the camera angle times. When there is a sequel, I hope that they mix up the soundtrack a little more like a sequal usually does and I am anxious to see what they do with that. I watched the DVD twice as a rental then bought the HD-DVD. I thought there approach to sound was what really made it worth watching the most to me. The visual effects were what impressed me most about the picture.I am looking forward to more movies like this one. Thank you for the review.
 
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