Transformers: HD DVD Review


Robots never looked better. But the web-enabled extras are the real star of this disc.

Nov. 20, 2007 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Sure I liked Transformers growing up, but realized that the movie would have to appeal past us “fanboys” to succeed. So I wasn’t surprised that the story line juxtaposed an action film with soldiers and aliens versus the government, along with the nerdy kid who meets Optimus Prime and helps defeat the evil Megatron and his Decepticons.

Spending multi-millions on a film to make it ultra-detailed and realistic on the big screen didn’t mean jack when the results at home are lorez. But now we have 1080p so the war scenes can have a grainy look without losing resolution, and the thousands of moving parts on a robot can keep their complexity rather than ending up as on-screen mush.  And even through the actors benefit from this image clarity (Megan Fox exceedingly so), it’s the CG characters that gets the biggest boost from the extreme detail that results. Whether it’s big explosions or Robot beating up Robot, the feeling of believability is strong because the “look” is strong. It’s a sweet transfer to disc and makes for one fun ride.

Aided by really good sound that works the surrounds the way they should too - but controls the overall effect when dialogue needs to stand out so it’s not constantly trying to show off.  Of course arguing the nuances that DD Plus brings seems pointless when it’s all about playing this loud and with a subwoofer turned to chest-thumping agony, but yes it does enhance the audio more so than using conventional Dolby.

Now the extras are in HD and there’s plenty for everyone; from how-tos, back-story bits, moments with the actors, showing off CG technology, and on and on. But it’s the web-enabling that starts to push ahead what you can do with a player having an Internet connection. Let’s start with the “Intelligence mode” featuring an on-screen dashboard that provides info on the robots as the film progresses and plots their locations via GPS. But there’s also the option for new content to work its way to you at a later time - like the secret transmissions from Sector 7 that have been coming my way since the discs became available.  And upcoming includes My Clips - to create your own montage of scenes and share them with others online, being able to transform the menu bar into Transformer icons and having a Transformers profile for learning more about the film. Since even us fanboys can watch the film only so many times, this provides a reason for reinserting the disc a month or even a year later when we’ve moved on to other things. It opens the door for all kinds of cool things and we’re psyched to see what’s going to come next.

About the Author - A veteran of entertainment reporting, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) has the day job you’d like: watching movies and re-viewing high-tech.

Format reviewed: HD DVD
Video: N/A
Disc Size: N/A
Aspect ratio: 1080p, 2.35:1
Audio: Dolby Digital Plus
Director: Michael Bay
Screenwriter: Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
Starring:  Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Rachael Taylor, Anthony Anderson, Jon Voight, John Turturro, Michael O’Neill, Kevin Dunn, Peter Cullen, Julie White, Amaury Nolasco, Mark Ryan, Zack Ward
Studio: Dreamworks Home Entertainment
Rating: PG-13
Retail: $39

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