Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc - usually. The filmmakers shot a few bits with IMAX cameras, and those used a theatrical ratio around 1.43:1. For those scenes, the Blu-ray expands to 1.78:1, so it’s not the full IMAX image, but it’s closer than 2.35:1.
The first IMAX shots appeared at the 59:24 mark, and with a few exceptions, the movie stayed 1.78:1 until 1:03:33. After that, we got more 1.78:1 material at 1:51:26, and this ratio flipped in and out – though more “out” - until 1:59:34.
A whopping four seconds of 1.78:1 imagery popped up again at 2:03:52, and another five seconds could be found at 2:06:33. Why bother?
At least the other two sequences used the expanded ratio in a satisfying manner. The greater screen real estate added kick to the fight scenes involved.
Note that the IMAX version of the film ran a smidgen longer than the “standard” edition. That one went 2:29:53, whereas the IMAX cut lasted 2:30:24. The added footage gave us a bit more in terms of Transformer battles.
Whichever version, sharpness always appeared positive. This meant I thought the image seemed accurate and well-defined. I noticed no signs of shimmering or jaggies, and the movie lacked any print flaws.
Like most other Michael Bay flicks, Fallen favored stylized colors – all two of them! Teal and orange heavily dominated, and that could make the hues look goofy at times; the image favored so much orange that actors occasionally resembled Oompa-Loompas. Still, I couldn’t fault the transfer for Bay’s excesses, so this was an accurate representation of the source.
Blacks were always deep and tight, and I saw good contrast as well. Shadows seemed clear and appropriately opaque. The Blu-ray became a strong reproduction of the film.
I felt even more pleased with the movie’s impressive DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. A movie packed with mayhem and action, the mix used all five 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 Fallen delivered the goods.
When I compared this “Silver Screen Edition” with the ”standard ratio" Blu-ray, picture and audio appeared virtually identical. Sure, the IMAX footage boasted superior definition when compared to the 2.35:1 material, but because we got the expanded aspect ratio for only about five percent of the film, this didn’t make a notable difference. The slightly longer cut of the film also failed to cause a distinct change.
As such, fans who already own the “standard” Blu-ray don’t need to upgrade to this one. The few minutes of IMAX footage was nice but we didn’t get enough to require a repurchase.
Of course, if you don’t have any Blu-ray, you might as well go for the “Big Screen” disc, as it’s the slightly preferred version. If you want to see/hear Fallen at its best, though, you need to go for the 4K UHD release - if you have the equipment to play it, that is.
Only one extra appears on the movie disc: an audio commentary from director Michael Bay and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. It combines two separate tracks; Bay sits alone, while the writers chat together.
We learn about cast, characters and performances, challenges related to creating a sequel, story elements and influences, stunts and effects, sets and locations, and related topics.
As always, Bay offers a good look at his movie – along with plenty of dollops of his ego. He tends to talk about his own skills and achievements without much modesty, and that attitude gets a bit tedious.
Nonetheless, Bay covers an awful lot of useful subjects and does so in an efficient manner. If you can take his self-aggrandizement, you’ll find plenty of worthwhile material along the way.
The writers help flesh out their side of things as well. They lack the same level of ego as Bay and can be funny and entertaining. All aspects of the track mesh together to create a solid commentary.
On Blu-ray Two, we launch with a seven-part documentary called The Human Factor: Exacting Revenge of the Fallen. All together, these run a total of two hours, 14 minutes, 31 seconds and feature Bay, Orci, Kurtzman, executive producers Steven Spielberg, Brian Goldner and Mark Vahradian, director of photography Ben Seresin, producers Ian Bryce and Lorenzo di Bonaventura, production designer Nigel Phelps, writer Ehren Kruger, assistant art director Page Buckner, robot art director Ben Procter, Hasbro Senior Design Director Aaron Archer, Hasbro Senior Marketing Director Greg Lombardo, co-producer Allegra Cregg, art director Lauren Polizzi, visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar, Special Air Service Forces Matthew Marsden, 2nd AD Chris Castaldi, special effects coordinator Jim Schwalm, 1st AD KC Hodenfeld, special effects supervisor John Frazier, supervising art director John Billington, DOD Project Officer Lt. Col. Greg Bishop, Air Force Liaison Lt. Col. Francisco Hamm, Air Force Entertainment Liaison Office Deputy Director Capt. Bryon J. McGarry, DOD liaison Phil Strub, stunt coordinator Ken Bates, location manager Ilt Jones, editors Thomas A. Muldoon, Joel Negron, Paul Rubell and Roger Barton, visual effects producer Wayne Billheimer, digital artist supervisor Dave Fogler, associate visual effects producer Jeff White, animator supervisor Scott Benza, animation supervisor Dan Taylor, visual effects supervisor Matthew Butler, compositing supervisor Lou Pecora, CG supervisor Paul George Palop, animators Peter Kelly and Charles Alleneck, digital artist supervisor Richard Bluff, lead digital artist Kaori Ogino, visual effects art director Alex Jaeger, digital production supervisor Jason Smith, supervising sound editor Erik Aadahl, re-recording mixer Greg P. Russell, and actors Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Julie White, John Benjamin Hickey, Isabel Lucas, John Turturro, and Ramon Rodriguez.
“Factor” looks at the success of the first film and the processes that went into the creation of the sequel. This means details about story/script/characters, robots and visual design, sets and locations, various effects, cast/performances, editing, audio and music, and the film’s release.
Say what you want about Michael Bay, but he ensures his movies often come with comprehensive “behind the scenes” materials, and “Factor” reminds us of that. The documentary covers a wide array of subjects and does with reasonable honesty – especially when it reminds us that Bay can be a prick. “Factor” moves well and becomes a lively view of the production.
From there we find a bunch of featurettes, and these begin with A Day With Bay. It lasts 13 minutes, 23 seconds and lets us follow Bay through a press visit to Japan. It offers a few insights into the way these junkets work, but it’s not a great program.
During the 10-minute, 44-second 25 Years of Transformers, we hear from Lombardo, Goldner, Archer, and Hasbro design director Jared Wade. This looks at the toy franchise and its adaptation into the films. “Years” offers a smattering of good notes but it often feels like an advertisement.
Next comes the Transformer Data Hub. It presents an interactive feature that gives us extensive information about a bunch of Transformers. It proves to be surprisingly detailed.
The AllSpark Experiment delivers another interactive piece, one that lets you design your own Transformer vehicle . This might be fun for some but it does nothing for me.
Under Deconstructing Visual Bayhem, we locate 15 segments, all of which come with commentary from pre-vis supervisor Steve Yamamoto. After a 25-second intro from Bay, we get 22 minutes, 46 seconds of pre-vis footage.
Actually, we can view the pre-vis material on its own or on a split-screen that compares pre-vis with the final footage. The shots offer a nice view of the scenes’ conception, and Yamamoto throws in a decent array of notes.
Three Deleted/Alternate Scenes fill a total of six minutes, one second. We find “Sam and Alice At the Dorms” (2:10), “The Witwickys in Paris” (2:54) and “Leo Refuses to Go to Egypt” (0:57).
“Dorms” expands Sam’s arrival at college, while “Paris” offers a painfully extended look at Sam’s parents. “Refuses” just throws out some minor footage. None of these seem enjoyable.
Giant Effing Movie goes for 24 minutes, three seconds and takes us to visit the shoot at various stages. It tends toward the comedic side of the production – it’s not quite a blooper reel, but it veers in that direction. Still, it offers some fun shots.
A music video for Linkin Park’s “New Divide”. As usual, the movie mixes lip-synch performance with movie clips, though it gives the band shots a stylized flair. It’s still not a very interesting video or song, though.
In addition to two trailers and six TV spots, we find two Galleries. These encompass “Theatrical Posters” (22 stills) and “Promo/Marketing” (41). Both are good, though I like the glimpses of movie merch in “Promo” best.
With 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen, the second Transformers film offers an experience much like that of its predecessor. That’s great if you liked the 2007 flick but not so good if – like me – you didn’t care for it. The Blu-ray offers excellent picture and audio along with a nice selection of supplements. Expect a highly stylized, incoherent and generally mediocre action film here.
To rate this film, visit the Blu-ray review of TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN