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Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg); Bumblebee; an English Lord (Sir Anthony Hopkins); and an Oxford Professor (Laura Haddock). There comes a moment in everyone’s life when we are called upon to make a difference. The hunted will become heroes.  Heroes will become villains. Only one world will survive: theirs or ours. (From Paramount’s official synopsis)

Hello everyone. I simply don’t have the fortitude to write a critical dissertation of another Transformers movie. Perhaps if I wasn’t so busy researching more interesting releases from boutique labels, I’d be inclined to discuss the franchise’s trademarks – nonsense plotting, dopey jingoism, casual racism/misogyny, brutally unfunny jokes, et cetera – or to dissect the headache-inducing intricacy of the endless action sequences, but not today. Besides, I think it’s safe to assume that the series’ fans and detractors have pretty much established their opinions on the subject. However, I can assure you that Transformers: The Last Knight isn’t going to be the film to change the minds of either camp.

Without further ado, what follows is my technical breakdown of Paramount’s Blu-ray release.

 Transformers: The Last Knight

Video


Transformers: The Last Knight continues the series’ tradition of mixing and matching formats to serve director Michael Bay’s zero attention span style. The imdb.com page lists Arri Alexa IMAX, Red Epic, Red Dragon, Red Weapon, and 16mm among the tools used to create the largely IMAX-friendly feature. The Last Knight is, as of this writing, also the only 2017 release to feature native format 3D photography (via the Arri Alexa IMAX cameras), though, obviously, quite a bit of the footage was also post-converted. This 2D, 1080p Blu-ray (there are also 3D BD and 4K UHD versions available) maintains the theatrical aspect ratio, or rather ratios, as it constantly changes between 1.90:1, 2.00:1, and 2.40:1 framing, quite often for no apparent reason. Dumb ratio-skipping aside, the HD transfer is in-keeping with previous Transformers releases. The image’s chief job is to maintain differentiation between the insanely complex textures during digital effects-heavy scenes. Elements are sharply separated without any notable compression and any grain/noise appears to fit format limitations. Despite being an unmistakably Michael Bay-infused film, cinematographer Jonathan Sela utilizes slightly more diffusion than typically seen from the high-contrast-loving-director’s work. Those hyper-deep blacks and blown-out whites are still here, but the softening of some edges helps create a more texturized total image. As one of the originators of the whole Orange & Teal phenomenon, it is no surprise that the latest Transformers movie features a limited, hyper-graded palette of...well, oranges and teals. These colours remain consistent and vibrant throughout and include considerably vivid yellow and red highlights.

Audio


Transformers: The Last Knight comes fitted with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack; though, because I still am not Atmos compatible (and honestly probably never will be, based on the small size of my apartment), this review pertains to its core Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track. It is appropriately explosive and dynamic enough to work as your next demo disc. These may be bad movies, but they always have fantastic and, most importantly, imaginatively weird sound design. This particular mix is perhaps more eclectic, due to the occasional emphasis on Earthbound forms of combat, like the medieval battle prologue and human army scenes. Either way, things remain loud, clean, and lively for the entire...sigh, 149-minute runtime. Composer Steve Jablonsky, who has scored every single movie in the series, returns with more perfectly serviceable music that tries its best to tell the audience what they’re supposed to feel at any given moment (it’s not like we could tell based on the acting, storyline, or any of the film’s other merits).

 Transformers: The Last Knight

Extras


  • Merging Mythologies (19:53, HD) – An exploration of the ever-changing secret history of the Transformers movie franchise, specifically the way it now connects to Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, and the fact that there were multiple historical pitches that might be used for future movies.
  • Climbing the Ranks (8:48, HD) – A look at military training and the other influences from the actual American armed forces.
  • The Royal Treatment: Transformers in the UK (27:04, HD) – Behind-the-scenes of the British location shoot, such as the big London car chase and the various castle exteriors and interiors.
  • Motors and Magic (14:47, HD) – Concerning the various Transformers vehicles, character re-designs, and new special effects technologies.
  • Alien Landscape: Cybertron (7:15, HD) – On the design of Cybertron and new villain, Quintessa, their places in the story, and bringing them both to life using CG.
  • One More Giant Effin’ Movie (6:45, HD) – A catchall of behind-the-scenes footage.


 Transformers: The Last Knight

Overall


Transformers: The Last Knight is more of the same, but all of these movies are stupid messes, so I honestly couldn’t tell if it was better or worse than the previous entries. How can anyone even keep track of these movies when the plot is almost identical to the last one and any narrative differences are taken from the one before that? In fact, the only difference I can surmise is that someone finally told Michael Bay that making grotesquely sociopathic children’s movies was probably a bad idea. But do you know what’s worse than a grotesquely sociopathic children’s movie? Michael Bay trying to reproduce empathy on film. That said, I do wish that movies I liked recieved such a generous treatment on home video. Paramount’s Blu-ray looks and sounds basically perfect, and features considerable extras (perhaps not as many as the two-disc treatment might imply).

 Transformers: The Last Knight

 Transformers: The Last Knight

 Transformers: The Last Knight
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray, then resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.


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