DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Michael Bay
Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Rachael Taylor, Anthony Anderson, Jon Voight, John Turturro, Peter Cullen
Writing Credits:
Roberto Orci (and story), Alex Kurtzman (and story), John Rogers (story)

Their war. Our world.

For centuries, two races of robotic aliens - the Autobots and the Decepticons - have waged a war, with the fate of the universe at stake. When the battle comes to Earth, all that stands between the evil Decepticons and ultimate power is a clue held by young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf). An average teenager, Sam is consumed with everyday worries about school, friends, cars and girls. Unaware that he alone is mankind's last chance for survival, Sam and his friend Mikaela (Megan Fox) find themselves in a tug of war between the Autobots and Decepticons. With the world hanging in the balance, Sam comes to realize the true meaning behind the Witwicky family motto - "No sacrifice, no victory!"

Box Office:
$150 million.
Opening Weekend
$70.502 million on 4011 screens.
Domestic Gross
$313.588 million.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 143 min.
Price: $22.98
Release Date: 6/7/2011

• Audio Commentary with Director Michael Bay
• “Transformers HUD” Interactive Feature


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Transformers [Blu-Ray] (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 23, 2014)

Odd but true: in a summer jam-packed with sequels, a flick about decades-old toys seemed original. Such was the marketplace that greeted Transformers. When it hit the screens in early July 2007, viewers were burned out by the multitude of sequels, and I think that helped Transformers to its $315 million gross. Some very cool trailers contributed as well and made the flick look like a must-see effort.

At least until you actually saw it. I was excited to see Transformers on the big screen and forced my 72-year-old dad to go as well. I was in Arizona to visit when it debuted and wanted to be there opening night. The Old Man was less than enthused but put up with it to be a good host.

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s to admit to my dad that he was right about something. Unfortunately, I couldn’t avoid such an admission as we left the theater. Actually, I think I just said “You were right. Let’s never speak of this again” and left it at that.

Because Transformers offers an insanely muddled plot, I’ll try to make this as simple as possible. A powerful cube called the AllSpark ends up on Earth. Megatron, the leader of a group of evil robot aliens called Decepticons, comes to find it but gets trapped in the ice for millennia. Eventually his buddies come to free him and also release the cube’s powers, but some good robot aliens named Autobots travel to our planet to stop them.

In the meantime, we meet high school kid Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf). His great-great-grandfather (W. Morgan Sheppard) discovered the frozen Megatron years ago, and an imprint of the code needed to find the cube ended up on his glasses – the same antique spectacles Sam tries to sell online to raise money to buy a car. The various robots pursue the glasses to get the cube. Mayhem ensues.

Although I was just a little too old to get into the Transformers toys/cartoons, I looked forward to the film. The trailers made it look like a blast. They threw off a serious Independence Day vibe - that kind of crazy, over the top rollercoaster ride that makes summer movies so much fun.

For all its flaws as a film – and it suffers from many – I think Independence Day at least delivers the goods. Slam it all you want, but can anyone really say that the movie’s slam-bang action like the first alien attack didn’t wow them in 1996? I doubt it - Independence Day really rocked at times.

I’d love to say the same about Transformers, but I prefer not to lie. Quite possibly the biggest disappointment of the summer 2007 movie roster, the film not only didn’t live up to pre-release hype, but also it barely kept my attention for its 140 or so minutes.

In an attempt to be positive, I’ll list what I like about Transformers:

1) Shia LaBeouf. 2007 became his breakout year. First Disturbia became a nice little sleeper hit and then he got the lead in this flick. LaBeouf has real talent, and he brings great aplomb to his scenes – especially the comedic ones. He turns some otherwise insipid bits into amusing moments. I even sort of buy him in the movie’s action hero moments.

2) The aptly named Megan Fox. She plays Sam’s erstwhile love interest, and she’s a stunningly beautiful girl. Can she act? Yeah, I guess, but I was too busy swooning over her to notice.

3) The visual effects. Since so many of its characters – ie, all the robots – are computer generated, these elements become especially important. Transformers pulls them off well. For years, I’ve muttered the refrain that I don’t like CG, but as the technology improves, I find myself less able to criticize those visuals and maintain credibility. Transformers features excellent CG visuals at all times.

Thus ends the laudatory portion of this review, as I really can’t think of anything else positive to say about Transformers. As an action flick, it’s a dud. Except for the sight of Fox, at no point did it excite, thrill or otherwise stimulate me. Oh, I often thought I should feel that adrenaline rush, but it never happened. The battles come off with an almost monotonous predictability, and they never inspire awe, wonder or any other reaction I could detect.

How could this be when the whole thing looked so damned cool in the trailers? I don’t know how it could be, but it did be. And this is from someone who’s given praise to director Michael Bay in the past. I’ve always thought he was manipulative but effective in his work. I can’t say that about the shockingly dull Transformers, though. We got all the usual Bay trademarks – spinning, sweeping camera moves, rapid cuts – but none of the real style or sizzle that made flicks like Armageddon and The Rock entertaining.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in Transformers comes from that editing. I don’t care that Bay can’t avoid those ridiculously quick cuts; since everyone else edits that way, I barely notice anymore. However, the narrative suffers badly in this messy, virtually incoherent piece. If Bay tries to tell one storyline, he can do it. Heck, I’ll give him one and a half storylines.

Unfortunately, Bay tries to integrate at least four storylines here – and maybe more, as it sometimes becomes tough to tell where one ends and another begins. Bay doesn’t have the skill to do this, and Transformers becomes a narrative mess of mind-boggling proportions. This flick will vie with Pirates 3 as the most confusing tale of summer 2007. Actually, Pirates 3 wins; it had two prior movies to set up characters and story but still didn’t make a lick of sense.

However, at least Pirates 3 attempted some fairly complex story points along the way. Transformers seeks no such detail. My synopsis above obviously neglects to discuss some of the movie’s plot points; the end result is much more scattered than I make it sound. I didn’t mention those areas because they don’t matter. We get American soldiers in Qatar, some hackers in the Pentagon, a secret government agency, and a Chihuahua in a cast. They probably threw Amelia Earhart and Blackbeard’s ghost in there somewhere as well; the flick features so many points they your brain shuts down after a while,

And almost all of these plot areas matter not in the least. They certainly fail to come together in a remotely satisfying manner. I must admit that during the last third of the film, I found myself in a constant state of befuddlement. I almost yelled at the screen, “What the hell is this movie about???” Transformers throws so much extraneous noise at us that it becomes absurdly confused.

Look, I don’t go to a movie about battling alien robots and expect perfect logic and a concise plot. At some point you have to let go of those thoughts and ride with the action. I did that with Independence Day, Armageddon and any number of other brainless action flicks.

But at least those delivered the fun. You might hate yourself for liking such fluff, but you couldn’t deny that you got thrills from them. Unfortunately, no such pleasure derives from Transformers. Dull, muddled and generally inept, this is a thoroughly disappointing movie.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A/ Bonus B-

Transformers appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. From start to finish, the flick looked great.

Sharpness seemed strong. Virtually no problems emerged, so the movie looked concise and detailed at all times. Jagged edges and shimmering created no distractions, and source flaws remained absent from start to finish.

Since Michael Bay directed Transformers, it came with a stylized set of colors. Bay practically invented the orange and teal palette that dominates today’s movies, so those tones came out in force here. Within those parameters, the hues seemed clear and dynamic. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows showed nice definition and delineation. This was a very high-quality presentation.

When you dropped big bucks for your home theater, you did so for soundtracks like the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio of Transformers. While I wouldn’t call it the best mix I’ve ever heard, it definitely delivered all the auditory goods I expected. A full-on assault from start to finish, the soundfield created a terrific sense of place.

The various battle scenes – of which the film included many – used all five speakers to great advantage. Military elements and the Transformers themselves popped up all around the room to flesh things out in a dynamic manner. This was a consistently vivid, involving track.

And it sounded darned good, too! Effects carried the bulk of the load and provided stunning audio. Those elements were accurate and lively at all times, and they boasted awesome bass. Low-end was deep and firm as it tended to kick the viewer’s butt.

Music showed nice vivacity and dimensionality through the flick. Speech was natural and concise, as the lines lacked any edginess or other problems. This was a killer soundtrack.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original 2007 ? Audio sounded bolder and more robust, while visuals were tighter, smoother and more dynamic. While the DVD was very good for its format, the Blu-ray improved on it in every way.

This one-disc Blu-ray omits many of the DVD’s extras – more about that later. Also found on the DVD, we get an audio commentary with director Michael Bay. He provides a running, screen-specific Bay. At the start, Bay tells us how he came onto the project. From there we learn about “Transformers School”, cast and performances, working with the US military, sets and locations, character design and effects, dealing with fan reactions, stunts and action, music and audio, and various publicity pressures.

Say what you want about Bay, but he’s an interesting conversationalist. Sure, he comes across as rather full of himself, but he’s also honest about his work and various events. He makes sure we learn a lot about the movie and enjoy ourselves along the way; he’s not exactly a shrinking violet. Though we get more dead spots than I’d prefer, Bay provides a consistently informative commentary. Someone needs to tell him it’s not called “Industrial Lights and Magic”, though.

New to the Blu-ray, the Transformers HUD offers an interactive piece that runs alongside the movie. “HUD” stands for “head’s up display”, and this option gives us a text commentary as well as occasional video pop-ups. In those, we see animatics and footage from the set. We also hear from Bay, Holloman Airbase Base Commander Colonel David Moore, digital production supeervisor Jeff White, executive producer Steven Spielberg, casting director Janet Hirshenson, producers Tom DeSanto Ian Bryce, production assistant Mikey Eberle, special effects coordinator Jim Schwalm, transportation coordinator Randy Peters, and actors Kevin Dunn, Shia LaBeouf, Rachel Taylor, W. Morgan Sheppard, Anthony Anderson, and Megan Fox.

The “HUD” gives us info about military elements, cast and crew, visual effects and design, story, characters and Transformers lore, performances, stunts and action, sets and locations, camerawork, vehicles, and other film-related topics. The “HUD” drops out a bit more than I’d like – don’t expect wall-to-wall info – but it still gives us a good take on the movie. It covers a nice array of subjects and provides enjoyable glimpses of the production. The “HUD” adds to the experience.

As mentioned, the single-disc Blu-ray loses a lot of extras from the 2-DVD original release. DreamWorks also offers a two-disc Blu-ray that includes most of the 2-DVD’s bonus materials as well as a couple of others. For info about what you’ll find there, check out the review of the DVD.

Of all summer 2007’s big-ticket movies, none let me down as much as Transformers. I thought it’d be an action-packed blast but instead it was messy, confused and downright boring. The Blu-ray provides stellar picture and audio along with a few good bonus materials. The Blu-ray offers a terrific replication of a flawed movie.

To rate this film, visit the original review of TRANSFORMERS

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main