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