Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Blu-ray Review
PictureThe first Transformers movie came to Blu-ray with what was - at the time - a practically demo-disc quality video presentation, almost flawless in terms of visuals, the perfect material to show off your home cinema equipment with. And despite my misgivings about the overlong film, Fallen certainly keeps up the high standard set by the original. Presented with a 1080p High Definition video rendition in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen, this is yet another example of glossy big budget blockbuster at its best on Blu-ray, up there with the likes of Iron Man as a simple benchmark disc that you can show off to your friends should they need to be sold on the superiority of the format. Of course it helps no end having a bucket-load of amazing effects sequences to push the limits of the video (and audio) at the same time. Grain? Nope, not here. Softness? You've come to the wrong place. Edge enhancement? Well, there is a hint, but it is totally acceptable. Basically this is a picture-perfect presentation that you would really have to sit and study whilst projected on your wall to be able to pick the flaws in. The detail on the Transformers transforming is amazing, the overly-tanned characters all coming across skin pores intact, and the location shots (however ludicrous it is that the film jumps around randomly to so many exotic places) are simply stunning. The colour scheme is typically Bay - broad and vivid, with more daylight sequences than the original, more glistening in the sun-drenched locales, and some excellent setpieces set everywhere from the blazing hot desert to lush forestry. The night scenes we do get - like the opening action piece - offer up solid blacks, decent shadowing and a great contrast against the explosions and the shiny Transformers themselves. I really could find little to flaw here, and did not really want to try too hard to criticise this because it is basically one of the best transfers of a 2009 film on Blu-ray.
SoundTransformers: Revenge of the Fallen comes presented with a superb DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround mix that does this bombastic blockbuster justice. Dialogue definitely takes backstage to the dramatics, and you can find yourself reaching for the remote in these circumstances, but if you like your movies big and loud (and your neighbours don't mind) then it doesn't get much better than this. Effects are the mainstay, from the complex mechanical buzzing and whirring during the transformations, through to the smashing and crashing of the robots in action - both smacking the hell out of each other and tearing up the planet. Car engines racing, jet engines screeching, and all manner of military force in action (helicopters, tanks, battleship-mounted rail-guns) ignite your living room, making it a true battlefield. That epic, record-breaking fuel-air bomb detonation at the end will send tremors through your sofa, and tracks just don't get any more action-effects-packed than this. The score is a slight variation on the original, but still just as thematic, military and patriotic, all suiting the material well (the main military theme sounds like it is based on the Bitmap Brothers' score to the 80s videogame Xenon 2) and attempting (however futile this may be) to keep the energy flowing between action setpieces. Another benchmark-quality sound mix to follow on from the original's standard-setting performance on Blu-ray. Outstanding.
ExtrasThis release not only houses some extras to adorn the movie disc, but also comes with a whole jam-packed second disc of bonus features. But are any of them any good? First up with get a full-length Audio Commentary with Michael Bay. Sure he is accompanied by a couple of the Writers but, as with the movie itself, this is clearly Bay's baby and he takes centre stage in typical megalomaniacal fashion, bitching about just about everybody and everything like some demented despot dictator who everybody is too scared of to talk back to. If you've ever heard the adage that eccentricity is just a term to describe an affluent madman then Michael Bay is the epitome of this. He's not Howard Hughes but, annoyingly, in his mind that is exactly who he is - a visionary, an entrepreneur and a creator of masterpieces. Listen to this Commentary for proof of the madness.
The Human Factor: Exacting Revenge of the Fallen is easily the longest Documentary that I have ever encountered as a supplemental on a disc. It is almost as long as the movie itself, which really is not a good thing, and whilst it can certainly be described as comprehensive, nobody in their right mind is going to sit through two and a half hours of the movie and then two and a quarter hours of just the making of. There really are better things to do with your life. Still, if you're a film studies student and want to learn how to make a blockbuster, then you could do worse than sit through this Documentary, where you get to learn about the production from concept to post, and even see the tyrannical Dictator - sorry, I mean Director - in action.
Deconstructing Visual Bayhem is a multi-angle Featurette lasting 23 minutes, which allows you to compare key sequences, before and after the effects were done. A Day with Bay: Tokyo is a 15 minute video diary that follows the frazzled, snappy Director through his last day of post-production, just hours before the Toyko premiere. NEST: Transformer Data Hub offers up trivia and technical specs on 12 key Transformers. 25 Years' of Transformers takes ten minutes to look at the history of the toy/comic/TV franchise.
The Allspark Experiment allows younger viewers (those who, of course, are probably too young to have actually watched the PG-13 film itself) to create their own Transformer. It's a bit gimmicky. We get a few pointless Deleted Scenes (just more of the irritating human characters goofing around) as well as a whopping 24 minutes' of B-roll footage which ranges from Behind the Scenes stuff to just general goofing around on and off set. Fun but overlong. Finally we get a Linkin Park music video, the TV spots and Trailers, and an extensive Stills Gallery.
VerdictTransformers: Revenge of the Fallen is too long to work as a switch-your-brain-off piece of dumb fun. Although it improves upon the robot fighting, it also pads out the ridiculous human antics, adding to the already plentiful entourage of either irritating or pointless characters, and drilling a stupid amount of holes in an already Swiss cheese plot. Fallen is too long and too stupid to endure in its entirety, and many who sat through it in the cinema (and survived) would probably testify to this. Still, this kind of a mess of a movie makes for a great home cinema release - looks amazing, sounds awesome, has a plentiful wealth of (also overlong/comprehensive) extras, and is simply perfect to show off your equipment with and (if you have your hand on the chapter skip button) even pretty entertaining since you can avoid the hour-and-a-half of padding in the comfort of your own home. Oh, and Optimus Prime still rocks.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
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