Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Transformers (Two-Disc Special Edition, Blu-ray Disc)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7.5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
9 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky
Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes
Josh Duhamel as Captain Lennox
Tyrese Gibson as USAF Tech Sergeant Epps
Rachael Taylor as Maggie Madsen
Anthony Anderson as Glen Whitmann
Jon Voight as Defense Secretary John Keller
John Turturro as Agent Simmons
Michael O'Neill as Tom Banachek
Kevin Dunn as Ron Witwicky
Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime (voice)
Julie White as Judy Witwicky
Amaury Nolasco as ACWO Jorge "Fig" Figueroa
Mark Ryan as Bumblebee (voice)
Zack Ward as First Sergeant Donnelly
Jess Harnell as Ironhide (voice)
Hugo Weaving as Megatron (voice)

Special Features:
Transformers Heads Up Display
BD-Live Features
Commentary by Director Michael Bay
Our World - Explore the world of Transformers through interviews with the cast and crew, stunt training footage, and exclusive access to the on-set locations.
- The Story Sparks
- Human Allies
- I FightGiant Robots
- Battleground
Their War - Learn more about the Autobots and Decepticons with exclusive access to production design, military advisors, and digital special effects
- Rise of the Robots
- Autobots Roll Out
- Decepticons Strike
- Inside the Allspark
More Than Meets The Eye - An in-depth featurette on the making of the Skorponok Desert Attack scene and concept boards.
- From Script to Sand: The Skorponok Desert Attack
- Concepts
- Trailers

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 143 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD description:

"From director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg comes a thrilling battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons. When their epic struggle comes to Earth, all that stands between the evil Decepticons and ultimate power is a clue held by Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf). Join the fight for mankind in the extraordinary adventure.

The "Transformers (Two-Disc Special Edition)" Blu-ray Disc is rated PG-13.

The Movie:
I've been a fan of "Transformers" as long as they've been around. I bought the original G1 toys. I read all the Marvel Comics. I watched the cartoons. I saw the animated movie. I bought the soundtrack. I have 'The Touch'. So it was with a mixture of eager anticipation and dread that I awaited the live action "Transformers" movie. I was glad to hear that Steven Spielberg was involved, but I was a bit worried about Michael Bay's storytelling abilities. I was glad to hear ILM was doing the effects but I was concerned about the major changes to the characters and situations. In the end I found the movie to be a mixed bag of things done exceptionally well and things I wish would have been done differently. Overall it was an enjoyable movie.

On the plus side, the special effects are fantastic. Let's face it, you go to a "Transformers" movie to see giant robots fighting each other and ILM and Digital Domain delivers that in spades. The battles between Optimus Prime and Megatron, Bumblebee and Barricade, and other characters are all stunning. They are jaw dropping spectacles of destruction and mayhem. The effects alone are worth the cost of the DVD.

The other thing that worked really well in the movie was Shia LaBeouf. His improvisational style and sense of humor make him an appealing everyman. When the robots aren't on the screen he helps keep the story interesting and entertaining. It's to the point that you start dreading the scenes with all the other actors in the film. They don't have the personality of LaBeouf that stands out.

There were quite a few cringe-worthy moments in the film. We're treated to the sight of Bumblebee 'peeing' on John Turturro (but kids love it). Another scene where the Autobots comically linger outside the Witwicky house drags on way too long. Some of the logic seemed a bit faulty, too. The military knows the Deceptions are after the Allspark, so where do they go to have a final battle? The heart of downtown LA. It was obviously done because it would look cool, but it didn't make much sense. I also took my kids to see "Transformers" and was pretty annoyed by the whole "masturbation" scene. I think the scene showed Bay either didn't think about kids or didn't care. In any case, Hasbro should have pulled rank on them and had it removed. All this being said, I still enjoyed the movie. And while I wasn't crazy about the flames on Optimus Prime, I didn't mind it and thought it actually looked good on the big screen.

The Extras:
As you might expect with a big, genre summer film, this Two-Disc Special Edition is jam packed with bonus features. You'll find a commentary by Director Michael Bay on the first disc. And on the Blu-ray Disc, you'll find a pop-up trivia feature entitles "Transformers Heads Up Display" as well as "BD-Live Features".

The second disc has the bonus features divided up into three sections. Sprinkled through them all are deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage, and interviews with the cast and crew:

Our World - Explore the world of "Transformers" through interviews with the cast and crew, stunt training footage, and exclusive access to the on-set locations.
- The Story Sparks: In this section they discuss the script, the development of the script, bringing Michael Bay on board, and more. Steven Spielberg makes several appearances and discusses his involvement, too.
- Human Allies: This featurette discusses the casting of the film. There's a lot of behind the scenes footage and interviews with every cast member.
- I Fight Giant Robots: The training for the soldier characters is shown here. They talk about the training they did as well as the military's involvement in the making of the movie.
- Battleground: The various locations in the desert and downtown LA are discussed here. We also see a lot of behind the scenes footage of the stunts, explosions, and other coolness.

Their War - Learn more about the Autobots and Decepticons with exclusive access to production design, military advisors, and digital special effects
- Rise of the Robots: The development of the "Transformers" toys, cartoons, and storyline were shown in this featurette. The writers also discuss more about the script and some of the changes done to the characters. Neither Bay nor the writers shy away from the controversies and discuss them head on. It's a very candid discussion.
- Autobots Roll Out: Each of the Autobots is featured here. The promotion deal with GM and its effect on the car models for the robots is also shown. You also get to see the Bumblebee life size model being created and assembled.
- Decepticons Strike: The Decepticons get their equal screentime here. There is a lot of discussion about the various military vehicles chosen to be Transformers and the little changes made here and there to help them fit the story.
- Inside the Allspark In this featurette, the work by ILM and Digital Doman is discussed in depth. The development of the robot models is shown and you begin to understand more about some of their design decisions on the robots.

More Than Meets The Eye - An in-depth featurette on the making of the Skorponok Desert Attack scene and concept boards.
- From Script to Sand: The Skorponok Desert Attack: This scene is discussed from the script stage to the concept art to the filming to the addition of the special effects. It's an in-depth look at the filmmaking process.
- Concepts: In here you get to see the numerous pieces of concept art as music from the film is played.
- Trailers: Here you get to see the teaser trailers and two of the final trailers.

I also found two Easter Eggs on the DVD. There may be more. One shows the audition footage for the role of Mojo, the dog. Another shows a deleted scene where a video game comes alive on the street after being hit by the Allspark and it rips the dress off of a woman. Yup.

The Bottom Line:
If you're a fan of Michael Bay, Shia LaBeouf, "Transformers," or just big effects films, then this movie is required viewing for you.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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