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Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D(2011)
The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and learn its secrets, which could turn the tide in the Transformers' final battle.
For more about Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D and the Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D Blu-ray release, see the Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D Blu-ray Review
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey
Director: Michael Bay
» See full cast & crew
Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D Blu-ray Review
The most action-packed Blu-ray 3D release to date.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, January 21, 2012
In the name of freedom, we take the battle to them.
Fans figuratively declared war on Director Michael Bay's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for its excess bad humor, loose plot, and general mindlessness. That picture got everything buts its special effects and action-as-spectacle wrong, unlike its predecessor which emphasized not only the "wow" factor but its plot, too, while downplaying, but not eliminating, its comic relief. Bay's willingness -- or lack thereof -- to tone down or eliminate completely all of the goofiness that made Revenge of the Fallen such a drag of a picture was foremost in fan's minds leading up to the release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, perhaps even more so than the film's plot, its place within the trilogy, and maybe even the absence of star Megan Fox from the movie. How did Bay respond? Dark of the Moon is nearly everything a Transformers movie should be, at least as the franchise exists in Bay's skilled hands. The movie has its problems -- namely an overly long first half -- but once the action gets going, there's no stopping it. Dark of the Moon is hands-down one of the absolute greatest movie spectacles of all time. It's not an all-time great movie, of course, and it's not even quite as good as the original, but in terms of sheer entertainment value, seamless and absolutely believable special effects, total audio immersion, and pure fun factor, it's an unequivocal success.
Who knew a government project could be built around secret and ulterior motives? It turns out such was just the case in the space race. Upon learning that a mysterious alien vessel crash landed on the moon, President John F. Kennedy ordered American astronauts to that celestial body's surface before the Soviets could do the same. Soon, Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin discover the remnants of the vehicle and several massive robotic occupants. Years later, back on Earth, the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), serve as warriors defending mankind from its most dangerous enemy: itself. They're called to the radioactive ruins of Chernobyl to investigate the suspected presence of alien technology. There they find evidence of the ancient Cybertronian vessel known as the Ark which carried precious cargo: both the former Autobot leader Sentinel Prime as well as several electronic "pillars" that were to serve as a gateway between Cybertron and another world. The Transformers travel to the moon and recover both their leader and the pillars, but lurking in the shadows, watching every move, and anticipating the Autobots's actions are the Decepticons, led by the battered Megatron (Hugo Weaving), that are once again scheming to take control of Earth. Meanwhile, recent college grad Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) has a new girlfriend, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), but not a new job. Despite his familiarity with the Autobots and his hero status, he can't find work and, to make matters worse, his parents (Julie White and Kevin Dunn) are coming to town and are sure to admonish his lack of employment. Fortunately, Carly's put in a good word for Sam, and her boss Dylan Gould (Patrick Dempsey) is all too happy to employ him. But there's never a dull moment in the life of Sam Witwicky, and sure enough the recent Autobot discovery of their former leader and the radically advanced pillars -- not to mention a few other surprises coming Sam's way -- just might work into a devious plot that could spell the end of mankind.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a tale of two movies. There's the slog of a first half and the dark, violent, exciting, and adrenaline-overloaded second half. The first half isn't a total waste. There's some critical back story, some necessary exposition, a few Transformers-standard action scenes, and several character introductions, but there's also a bit of unnecessary bad humor, a bit too much exposition, and what is sometimes an overwhelming listlessness that's more prone to put viewers to sleep than get their blood pumping into overdrive. That's countered by several scenes where things develop almost too fast and the visuals spin around almost too quickly. It definitely lacks balance, even if all of the first half seems, in essence, as if it is in and of itself a much larger counterbalance to the incessant action that defines the film's second half, for even in a movie like this two-plus hours of nonstop action would be too much. The core Transformers story as it is constructed and furthered here is quite involved, very interesting, and a pleasure to watch unfold, but it's slowed down and lessened by needlessly long stretches where only a sliver of information requires minutes upon minutes of random nothingness to become revealed. The pacing is further hindered by forced comic relief, but as noted it's nowhere near as nauseating or even offensive as it was in Revenge of the Fallen. It's almost as if someone high up on the Transformers food chain demanded the movie clock in at about 150 minutes, resulting in far too much stuff -- on both ends of the movie -- that just isn't necessary. That's really the movie's main problem in a nutshell. It's too much of just about everything.
Then there's the dizzying destruction and robot-on-robot slaughter that defines the second half. Who knew Transformers "bled?" There's a whole lot of "bloodshed" as Autobots and Decepticons shoot, stab, and rip one another to shreds. It's the ultimate showdown and takes place on an epically large scale. The second half is basically Transformers meets 2012. Buildings crumble and explode, people are killed by the hundreds, and general chaos reigns. It looks like some high dollar alien invasion movie, which ultimately it really is, but this is very well-produced and epically-apocalyptic stuff. It's as grim as a PG-13 rating permits, as hopeless as the imagination allows it to be, as physically fatiguing as a movie may make one feel. Dark of the Moon practically places audiences in the middle of one of the most chaotic hours of action movie ever created. The strict attention to detail is nothing short of startling, too. From the tiniest piece of background debris all the way to the realism that makes up the robots, there's absolutely nothing left to the imagination, save, of course, for the true level of human carnage and suffering that would most certainly be evident in such a situation. Nevertheless, it's all perfectly seamless. It's an awe-inspiring display of digital trickery and technological advancement, leaving audiences to wonder just how it could -- and no doubt will -- be topped in the future, not to mention the possibilities in different applications. It's at once both exciting and chilling to imagine. Michael Bay is at his personal best in this stretch, too. For as energetic and chaotic as the action may be, his camera seems to always be in just the right place, capturing the excitement in such a way as to only further enhance its effective assault on the senses. He may take a lot of flak -- some of it maybe justified, some of it perhaps no so much -- but there's absolutely no denying his pure skill as an Action filmmaker. Transformers: Dark of the Moon's final, extended Action scene will go down as one of the best ever created.
The common theme that runs through the movie, and that was alluded to above, is the absolute precision with which Michael Bay's vision of Transformers is brought to life. The movie is literally packed with breathtakingly gorgeous displays of technical wizardry that's so real, so convincing, that even Avatar should be in awe. Unfortunately, the movie more often than not moves by a little too fast and makes it difficult to truly appreciate the level of digital craftsmanship involved, but there are those few scenes where things slow down, the camera lingers on a robot, and the true scope of each one comes into focus. Battle damage, dents, scratches, and the intricacy of the moving internals never cease to amaze, and that these creations are so smoothly and naturally integrated into real-world environments is nothing short of breathtaking. That's held true through the whole series, but Dark of the Moon even manages to improve on the other two films in that regard. Otherwise, Dark of the Moon proves to be a rocky ride but ultimately one worth taking. The plot -- when it's not taking far too long to reveal -- is surprisingly good and there are several twists and turns that will take audiences off-guard. The acting is nothing special but is certainly adequate, though the performances of the film's primary and secondary characters -- even by series newcomers like Patrick Dempsey, Alan Tudyk, John Malkovich, and the venerable Frances McDormand -- are simply overshadowed by the digital effects. Not to worry, though, that's exactly what the movie should be: a parade of special effects that break new ground with every click of the mouse, every save to the hard drive. Ultimately, the big winner here is the audience. It's a relief that this entry bests its predecessor. It could have been better, sure, but this is a marked improvement over Revenge of the Fallen. Everyone now, a big sigh of relief, and in harmony, please.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
It took several months, but Paramount has finally re-released Transformers: Dark of the Moon as a full-fledged, feature-packed Blu-ray 3D presentation that's pretty much everything fans could have ever wanted. The film's previous Blu-ray release remains a standard for video and audio excellence, so the question is whether the 3D presentation can improve on perfection? The answer is, not surprisingly, "no," but the added 3D goodness certainly doesn't hurt the Dark of the Moon experience, either. Unlike some Blu-ray discs that see a slight, but noticeable, drop-off in general quality on the way to 3D, Dark of the Moon's general attributes remain as slick and eye-catching as ever. Fine detail is truly exemplary in this go-round, as it was before. Viewers will be endlessly impressed with the complexities evident on both live and digital elements. Human faces reveal nearly infinite textures. Building fašades, heavily damaged debris, and most every element in the movie appears so intricately detailed that any scene rivals the finest the Blu-ray format currently offers. Clarity is stunning, too, which only aids in the transfer's ability to reveal incredible visual wonders. On the digital front, the various objects -- mostly Transformers -- take on so much visible complexity that one can only wonder how much painstaking work went into each creation, not to mention the horsepower required to display it all so pristinely for high definition home viewing. The scratches and dents of Optimus Prime and the rusty, worn, and battle-damaged exterior of Megatron are truly a sight to behold in every scene. Colors, likewise, are fantastic. The movie favors a warm appearance by nature, but it maintains that particular balance throughout. Each hue is incredibly vibrant, with Optimus' blue and red paint job particularly evident. Blacks remains strong, grain is retained where the movie was shot on film, and this is in every way the equal of the 2D release.
The 3D elements, conversely, are very effective, but not quite spectacular. The movie was, in large part, shot natively in 3D. The results are quite strong, given audiences approach it with proper expectations. This isn't the kind of release where Transformers will appear to extend beyond the screen with regularity. This is a 3D movie built on seamless natural depth, where it succeeds with regularity. To be sure, there are scenes here and there where audiences might be hard-pressed to notice any substantial differences between the 2D and 3D versions, but there are conversely many more scenes where the differences are readily evident. The image features very good natural separation in any setting. Whether the obvious spacing between the people watching the shuttle launch at the beginning of the movie or the breathtaking natural sense of space, volume, depth, and scale in the final downtown Chicago battle stretch, Paramount's 3D Blu-ray will leave its viewers satisfied and impressed. Better, many objects take on a very real shape. The robot complexities are always evident in close-up shots where the details seem to mean a little more when viewed from a more natural three-dimensional perspective. Slight changes in angle, minor protrusions, even dents in the metal all appear far more convincing in 3D. Still, viewers looking for something more dynamic in terms of "pop" may be disappointed. Prime's hand appears to extend through the screen in one shot, and debris regularly shoots out of the screen during action scenes, but there are next to "gimmick" shots in the film. There are a few brief and borderline inconsequential instance of crosstalk, perhaps most evident in a scene where the Jerry character points two pistols towards the camera. Nevertheless, this is a strong, natural 3D transfer that places the audience more on the sidelines than in the middle of the action, but rarely have so many complex special effects looked this stunning in 3D.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
No surprise here. Transformers: Dark of the Moon delivers one of the finest lossless soundtracks ever to grace a Blu-ray disc. Paramount's Dolby TrueHD 7.1 presentation is a true champion. Every musical note, every sound effect, every line of dialogue is so pristine, so natural, that there's never a moment where the audience isn't completely immersed in Michael Bay's chaotic world. The movie begins with a heavy pulsating electronic sensation as the Paramount stars fly on by and through the screen. The clarity, separation, and precision spacing and maneuvering of each one is second to none, and the real fun hasn't yet begun. Music is impeccably rich and satisfying. Its frontal delivery is seamless across each main channel, supported by just the right level of surround speaker activity. Atmospherics are naturally immersive as well. Light rain and a clap of thunder play in the background during Sam's first scene in the movie. It'll leave listeners believing it's the real mccoy. Minor directional effects are startlingly effective, too. One scene features a robotic character throwing an object towards the screen, and then it rattles around upon impact right in the back-middle part of the soundstage, just one instance proving the utility of the additional surround speakers. Needless to say, however, the real treat comes during the action scenes. Goodness, when did home theater audio get this good? Transformers has never been about raw volume, and Dark of the Moon is no exception. The film and its soundtrack instead strive for accuracy, stability, naturalism, and immersion over absolute power. Sure the low end rattles and bass rumbles, but it's the spacing, clarity, and perfect maneuvering of each and every sound, no matter how prominent or how tiny and supportive in nature, that make this one a real success of sound engineering. Everything plays in absolute harmony together, and the result is action so immersive, so real, that every sound -- whether familiar real world effects or make-believe robotic creaks, rattles, and rumbles -- comes together to create what is one of the finest surround sound experiences of all time.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Transformers: Dark of the Moon offers some pretty amazing supplements, including an enthralling and honest Documentary that explores much of the filmmaking process.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Transformers: Dark of the Moon bests Revenge of the Fallen in every way imaginable. The movie's first half threatens to bore the audience to death -- there's just too much filler -- but it's nothing but pure adrenaline the rest of the way. Bay responds to his critics with a movie that's more in-line with what the series promised to deliver in the first place: giant special effects robots doing battle, causing ungodly amounts of damage, and devastating theaters with some of the most immersive audio ever to accompany a motion picture. The movie is far from perfect, of course, but Bay took heed of the feedback and made a bigger, far more comically toned-down, but certainly not leaner picture. It's still excessive and too long at two and one-half hours, but it moves by very fast once the action begins to dominate the movie. Simply put, there's no greater example of 21st century special effects and movie spectacle as this. It's a very fun ride that's well worth taking, all its other flaws be damned. This Blu-ray 3D release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon is pretty special. The transfer is great and the 3D elements strong, but not quite as exhilarating as some may have hoped. The same awe-inspiring 7.1 lossless soundtrack remains, and this set contains a Blu-ray disc devoted entirely to supplements; the nearly two-hour documentary is arguably better than the movie. Despite the movie being "good" but not "great" and the 3D being "great" rather than "exemplary," this amazing package comes very highly recommended.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Other Editions
Blu-ray bundles with Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D (1 bundle)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway - Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D - January 29, 2012
Blu-ray.com and Paramount Home Entertainment are offering three Blu-ray.com members the opportunity to win one of three Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon prizes. One winner will take home the 7-disc Transformers Limited Edition Collector's Trilogy gift set while ...
• Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D Blu-ray (Updated) - December 27, 2011
Paramount Home Entertainment will release the 3D version of Transformers: Dark of the Moon on Blu-ray next month. The third installment in director Michael Bay's action series follows Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf, Disturbia) as he and the Autobots make a last stand ...
Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
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