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Michael Bay
Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, John Turturro
Writing Credits:
Ehren Kruger

Sam Witwicky and the Autobots must fight against the darkness to defend our world from the Decepticons' all-consuming evil.

Box Office:
$195 million
Opening Weekend
$97,400,000 on 4013 Screens
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
English Audio Description
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 154 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 12/5/2017

• “Above and Beyond” Documentary
• “Uncharted Territory” Featurette
• Multi-Angle Sequences
• “The Art of Cybertron” Galleries
Dark of the Moon Archive
• Marketing Gallery
• Trailers
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Transformers: Dark of the Moon [4K UHD] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 29, 2017)

With 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the “trilogy” started in 2007 and continued in 2009 came to a close. As usual, we follow the battles between “good” alien robots called Autobots and “evil” mechanoids called Decepticons.

At the start, we learn that the Autobots had one final chance to win the war against the Decepticons but they lost important cogs placed on a ship referred to as “The Ark”. In 1961, the Ark crashes on Earth’s moon, and that triggers the US commitment to land there before the Soviets. In 1969, the Apollo astronauts arrive and retrieve some of the items.

From there we head to present day and the continuing battle between Autobots and Decepticons on Earth. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) helped save the world twice but now finds himself unable to land a job.

Inevitably Sam winds up involved with the Autobots and their attempts to fight the Decepticons and preserve humanity. Much destruction ensues.

In other words, Dark closely follows the template from the first two movies, with yet another loose, generally incoherent “plot”. The most significant change probably comes from the recasting of Sam’s love interest, as we lose Mikaela from the 2007 and 2009 flicks, apparently because Megan Fox butted heads with director Michael Bay.

This brings us a new character and a new babe, as sexy Rosie Huntington-Whiteley plays Sam’s Australian girlfriend Carly. A lingerie model, Dark represented Huntington-Whitely’s first acting performance, and it remained her only credit until 2015’s Mad Mad: Fury Road.

Can Huntington-Whiteley act? Not really, though her skills – or lack thereof – don’t matter a ton. Although I think the movie suffers a little due to the absence of Fox – who has some talent and personality beyond her looks – Carly exists as little more than eye candy, so Huntington-Whitely fills the bill.

No one goes to see Transformers movies for the humans anyway, which is a good thing since they become less and less useful as the series progressed. I thought LaBeouf stood out as a surprising highlight of the first film, largely because he allowed the audience a human connection amidst all the mayhem.

LaBeouf fared a bit less well in Revenge and becomes nearly superfluous here. Dark continues to feature Sam because we’re used to him and the filmmakers don’t want to tamper with the formula, but he serves no real purpose otherwise.

Other repeat characters reappear here, and they also don’t have much to do. Dark adds new talent like Frances McDormand and John Malkovich, but good as they can be, they’re buried among the chaos. Though I admire their willingness to attempt to bring some personality to the experience, there’s not much they can achieve.

That matches the experience of the first two films, and other similarities continue here. The effects remain top-notch, and despite the general incoherence and disorderliness of the “story”, Bay knows how to stage the occasional impressive action scene.

Without interesting characters or an involving narrative, however, Dark echoes its predecessors in the worst way: it provides a lot of action without meaning or impact. Many people seem to really like the Transformers series and get pleasure from the films, but I’m not among them. Dark has its moments but mostly ends up as another spotty entry in the series.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A/ Bonus B+

Transformers: Dark of the Moon appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this 4K UHD disc. This turned into a highly satisfying presentation.

At virtually all times, sharpness appeared positive. Other than a couple of slightly soft interiors, I thought the image seemed accurate and well-defined. I noticed no signs of shimmering or jaggies, and the movie lacked any print flaws.

Once again, teal and orange dominated the image. Though these choices remained tedious, the 4K replicated them as intended, so the hues offered appropriate tones.

Blacks were always deep and tight, and I saw good contrast as well. Shadows seemed clear and appropriately opaque. The 4K became a strong reproduction of the film.

I felt even more pleased with the movie’s impressive Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the mix used all the channels in a lively, involving manner. Vehicles, weapon-fire, robots and similar elements popped up from all around the room and delivered a smooth, engrossing soundscape.

This meant nearly constant material from the surrounds. The back speakers delivered a high level of information and created a great sense of place in that domain. All of this melded together in a vivid, satisfying manner.

Audio quality was also strong. Music seemed full and bold, while speech was consistently natural and crisp.

Effects became the most prominent component, of course, and packed a solid punch, with positive clarity and range. People invest major bucks in home theaters for flicks like this, and Dark delivered the goods.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Audio proved a bit more involving and robust, while visuals seemed tighter and more dynamic. The 4K improved on an already strong Blu-ray.

The package includes two bonus Blu-rays, and the second disc boasts all the set’s extras. Above and Beyond: Exploring Dark of the Moon provides a five-part documentary that goes for one hour, 50 minutes, 46 seconds and includes notes from director Michael Bay, producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Ian Bryce, editor Roger Barton, screenwriter Ehren Kruger, visual effects supervisors Matthew Butler and Scott Farrar, supervising art director Richard Johnson, art director Ben Procter, picture car coordinator David Urich, transportation coordinator Randy Peters, 2nd unit director Kenny Bates, transportation captain Joey Freitas, special effects supervisor John Frazier, special effects coordinator James Schwalm, additional 1st AD KC Hodenfeld, production designer Nigel Phelps, military advisor Harry Humphries, construction coordinator Jonas Kirk, location manager Jonathan Hook, location manager Ilt Jones, set decorator Jennifer Williams, assistant location manager Leann Emmert, unit producer manager Allegra Clegg, stunt skydiver JT Holmes, wingsuit cinematography Rob Bruce, editors William Goldenberg, Roger Barton and Joel Negron, model and texture supervisor Dave Fogler, digital effects supervisor David Hodgins, compositing supervisor Lou Pecora, associate animation supervisor Rick O’Connor, visual effects producer Wayne Billheimer, animation director David Andrews, associate visual effects supervisor Jeff White, animation director Scott Benza, supervising dialogue/ADR director Mike Hopkins, supervising sound editors Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl, re-recording mixer Greg P. Russell, and actors Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Julie White, Patrick Dempsey, Alan Tudyk, John Malkovich, and Kevin Dunn.

“Above” examines the film’s development and car/robot design choices, story/character areas, cast and performances. From there it digs into shooting 3D, sets and locations, stunts and action, various effects, editing and sound design, and the film’s release.

Whatever I think of Bay’s movies, I usually enjoy bonus features about his work, and “Above” continues that trend. Frank and funny, the program gives a lot of details about the production and entertains along the way.

Next comes the 26-minute, 15-second Uncharted Territory, a program with Bay, NASA former Chief of Public Information Jack King, NASA Headquarters Office of Communications Bert Ulrich and Robert Jacobs, NASA Kennedy Space Center Office of Communications Lisa Malone, and Pad Leader VAB Bob Williams. “Territory” looks at the current status of NASA, with an emphasis on the Space Shuttle. It becomes a fairly efficient overview.

We find two areas in Multi-Angle Sequences: “Previsualizations” and “Visual Effects”. “Previsualizations” offers 12 clips with a total running time of 17 minutes, five seconds, and it lets us view the material on its own or in a split-screen comparison with the final movie footage. We also can watch the “Previsualizations” with or without commentary from Bay and previs supervisor Steve Yamamoto.

“Visual Effects” offers another 12 snippets, and these occupy 18 minutes, 36 seconds. They also let us see the shots solo or with final film comparisons, and they present optional commentary from Scott Farrar and Matthew Butler.

I enjoy this sort of raw footage, and the addition of the commentary makes the material more interesting. Expect a lot of useful information in these two domains.

Under The Art of Cybertron, we get five galleries. These encompass “Autobots” (69 images), “Decepticons” (56), “Environments” (19), “Weapons and Gear” (11), and “Ships” (5). All these provide high-quality material.

Inside the Dark of the Moon Archive, we locate four components. “3D: A Transforming Visual Art” goes for three minutes, six seconds and offers a chat with Bay and filmmaker James Cameron, as they discuss the use of 3D in movies.

“Moscow World Premiere” (2:29) gives us a quick look at that event, while “Birdmen” (2:28) examines the stunt skydivers. “Cody’s iPad” (2:07) looks at a disabled Transformers fan, and “The Sound of Transformers” (9:17) covers audio.

Of these four, only “Sound” offers any form of real substance. The other three tend to be fluffy – even the potential “feel good” aspects of “iPad” get harpooned by its promotional bent.

In addition to two trailers, the package ends with a Marketing Gallery. It breaks into “Posters” (9), “Style Guide” (6), “Promo Items” (16) and “Concession Items” (3). These add some good elements.

With 2011’s Dark of the Moon, the Transformers franchise continues with a film that offers a virtual carbon copy of its predecessors. The movie occasionally musters decent action but seems too silly and disjointed to succeed. The 4K UHD boasts terrific picture and audio along with an informative set of supplements. The movie does little for me, but the 4K creates stellar home theater material.

To rate this film, visit the Blu-ray review of TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

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