Transformers: The Last Knight appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.90:1 on this 4K UHD Disc – most of the time. In an odd cinematic decision, some parts of the movie opted for 2.00:1 or 2.40:1.
Why did this occur? I have no idea. Varying aspect ratios make sense for some films, but in this one, the choices seemed virtually random and added nothing to the experience.
At least the varying ratios became less of a distraction than they did during Age of Extinction. That one leapt from 2.40:1 to 1.90:1 with abandon, choices that created a nuisance.
In the case of Knight, though, the film usually went 1.90:1, and that meant the occasional foray into 2.00:1 wasn’t really noticeable. The sporadic jumps to 2.40:1 became more of a potential pitfall, but they occurred too infrequently to stand out as a real negative.
Whatever the ratio, the Dolby Vision picture quality looked great – most of the time, with one exception I’ll get to eventually.
Sharpness excelled, as the movie consistently demonstrated stellar delineation and accuracy. No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes or source flaws.
Like virtually all Michael Bay films, Knight opted for a heavy teal and orange orientation. As tedious as these choices might be, the colors seemed well-rendered and true to the source. HDR gave added punch and power to the tones.
Blacks seemed deep and dense, while shadows boasted terrific smoothness and clarity. HDR added range and impact to whites and contrast – too much range and impact, though.
This became my only complaint here. Early 4K releases often went a little crazy with HDR and opted for whites that became overly bright. That happened here, and this made the image a bit too “in your face” on occasion.
Don’t get me wrong: much of the presentation seemed stunning. However, the sporadic overly-bright moments led me to give this an “A-“ instead of the “A+” it would’ve gotten otherwise. The overcranked HDR became a minor distraction through an otherwise impeccable presentation.
As expected, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack also dazzled. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the mix boasted near-constant action that fleshed out the speakers in an aggressive manner.
Of course, the slew of action/battle sequences fared best, as these delivered material that encompassed the soundscape. Robot fights and military information swarmed the room and turned the track into an exciting package.
Audio quality also held up, with effects that sounded full and accurate. Speech remained concise and distinctive, while music seemed rich and warm.
Low-end response prospered, with deep, tight bass. The movie brought us a great soundtrack.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Both offered the same audio.
As for the Dolby Vision image, it fared much better than the Blu-ray, as it provided superior delineation, colors and general impact. Even with the too hot HDR, the 4K offered the best presentation.
Matters complicate due to the existence of a 3D version of Last Knight - well, a complication for those of us with both 4K and 3D. If you fall into that category, which works best?
I’d lean toward the 3D version. Shot on real stereo cameras, it offered a truly immersive affair. Add to that the overdone HDR and the 3D edition became the superior one, albeit by a small margin, as the 4K clearly provided superior image quality even with the over the top HDR.
On a separate disc, we get six featurettes. Merging Mythologies runs 19 minutes, 53 seconds and includes comments from director Michael Bay, producers Ian Bryce and Lorenzo di Bonaventura, executive producer Mark Vahradian, screenwriters Ken Nolan, Matt Holloway and Art Marcum, production designer Jeffrey Beecroft, ILM visual effects supervisor Dave Fogler, property master Guillaume DeLouche, casting director Denise Chamian, co-producer Michael Kase, senior art director Sebastian Schoeder, ILM visual effects executive producer Wayne Billheimer, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Mike Gunther, battle coordinator Rob Inch, horse master Daniel Naprous, special effects coordinator Jim Schwalm, director of photography Jonathan Sela, and actors Mark Wahlberg, Liam Garrigan, Laura Haddock, Rob Witcomb, Trent Seven, John Hollingworth, Daniel Adegboyega, and Martin McCreadie.
The piece looks at story/character areas, cast, production/costume design, visual effects, action/stunts and the way Knight meshes Transformers and the Arthurian legend. “Merging” zips through a lot of subjects but it does so in an efficient manner, so it becomes a solid little overview.
During the eight-minute, 48-second Climbing the Ranks, we hear from di Bonaventura, Wahlberg, Bryce, Bay, lead project officer Lt. Col. Glen Roberts, military co-advisor Kevin Kent, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, Naval Air Forces Public Affairs Officer Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld, Naval Public Affairs Officer Lt. Christina Sears, associate producer JJ Hook, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs Officer Lt. Commander David Bennett, and actors Josh Duhamel and Santiago Cabrera.
“Ranks” looks at military aspects of the film and official involvement. It provides a decent take, though it leans to the fluffy side of the street.
Next comes The Royal Treatment: Transformers in the UK. It lasts 27 minutes, four seconds and features Haddock, Bryce, Bay, di Bonaventura, Beecroft, Naprous, Duhamel, 1st AD/co-producer KC Hodenfield, 2nd unit director Spiro Razatos, supervising location manager Chris Moore, polo captains Ben Lawrence and Issa Patel, special effects supervisor John D. Frazier, set decorator Richard Roberts, SPFX floor supervisor Terry Flowers, and actors Isabela Moner, Jim Carter, Jerrod Carmichael and Anthony Hopkins.
“Treatment” examines aspects of the UK shoot, with an emphasis on stunts/action, sets and locations, and related topics. “Treatment” benefits from a lot of footage from the shoot and becomes another useful show.
With Motors and Magic, we get a 14-minute, 47-second program that features Wahlberg, Vahradian, Beecroft, Billheimer, Moner, Kase, Marcum, Carter, Duhamel, DeLouche, Nolan, transportation captain Joey Freitas, digital artist supervisor Kelvin Lau, ILM animation supervisor Rick O’Connor, visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar, set decorator Karen Frick and driver Kyle Woods.
“Magic” discusses the movie’s cars and the design/execution of various Transformers. “Magic” provides a fairly engaging piece.
Alien Landscape: Cybertron occupies seven minutes, 15 seconds with notes from di Bonaventura, Farrar, Vahradian, Lau, Kase, Beecroft, Fogler, Billheimer, Duhamel, Roberts, Cabrera, lead animator Traci Horie and visual effects art director Thang Le.
“Alien” covers aspects of Quintessa’s design/execution as well as choices for Cybertron. We find another collection of good notes.
Finally, One More Giant Effin’ Movie takes up six minutes, 45 seconds and offers a compilation of footage from the various sets.
It’s not a blooper reel, but it gives us a semi-unvarnished look at the participants – and shows that Bay treats everyone on the set like crap, even his mother. It becomes a moderately fun collection.
Five films into the franchise, Transformers: The Last Knight lacks much creativity or excitement. It delivers the usual wild action but it fails to provide a coherent, enjoyable cinematic experience. The 4K UHD brings us excellent picture and audio – despite overdone HDR at times - as well as a decent set of supplements. Maybe someday we’ll get a well-made Transformers movie, but Last Knight isn’t it.
To rate this film visit the Blu-ray review of TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT