Transformer: Age of Extinction Blu-ray Review
One of the most successful movie of the summer 2014 and the only billion dollar entry thus far, so naturally it is also one of the most critically panned movie of the year too, so rest assure that this movie is going to make on many critics top 10 worst movies of the year list, as for me well I do agree with most of the point made by those critics, but I couldn't deny that I haven’t enjoyed the flick.
Transformer: Age of Extinction is the fourth entry in the Transformers franchise, and though it is hugely successful in terms of box office revenue, the movie itself doesn't enjoy any critical success, in fact none of the Transformers movies can be deemed as critical darlings. This is how the Transformer movies are positioned on top movie ranking sites.
Now, as you have noticed none of the movie in this franchise has gained any substantial critical acclaim. So, what does that mean are these movies just plain bad, well that depends on who you are really, if you are one of those who like big dumb action blockbuster with a tag line leave your brain in your home, then you will enjoy these movies, if you are one of those who demand pointless things like coherent story, proper screenplay, good dialogue and the overall character arc then stay as far away from these movies as possible. Now, with that out of the way, let’s get started with this review.
As established before Transformer: Age of Extinction is the fourth movie in the Transformer franchise, helm by Michael Bay who directed all three previous entries and sworn (to the audience delight ) that he will never return to the director's chair for this franchise again. But he did and he presented well, the usual. This movie adds nothing in the canon and more or less the same. The movie takes place five years after the event that unfolds in “Dark of the Moon”. The Autobots are no longer a military ally, in fact, they are their primary targets. The head of the CIA Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) and his on field leader James Savoy (Titus Welliver) hunting Autobots down. The base of this operation is formed on protecting American lives from these alien refugees, but there is much more sinister plans brewing behind the doors. Also, there is an alien bounty hunter named Lockdown who is helping human to terminate these Autobots one by one and wants Optimus Prime alive.
There is also a small town inventor name Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) a run out of luck generic guy, his super-hot daughter Tessa Yeager (Nicola Peltz) and her super annoying boyfriend Shane Dyson (Jack Reynor) who caught in the middle of the crossfire between greedy humans and destructive Decepticon. Like I wrote before there is nothing new, intelligent or remotely logical in this movie. The entire plot point exists just to showcase shinny CGI (computer generated Imagery) and elaborate set pieces with lots of destruction and explosion. If you are into those types of things you will thoroughly enjoy this movie, if you are not, then this will be a real waste of time and I literally mean that because this movie clock at 165 minutes.
Blu-ray Picture Quality
Transformer: Age of Extinction is a reference quality Blu-ray release. The disc is coded in AVC with the aspect ratio 2.35:1. Traditionally Transformer movies have higher bitrate averaging around 30mbps, this one however clocking around 24mbps, the colors are perfectly saturated and the contrast is just right, Black levels are constant and deep. The movie is shot in Panavision Panaflex Millennium, Red Epic Dragon and Phantom gold, IMAX 3D-Lenses. Because it is shot using both traditional and digital camera the picture quality at times appear little bit imbalance for instance, there are certain scenes which have a considerable amount of graining not strong, but noticeable while most scenes appear perfectly smooth, that's been said these are all minor quibbles. Transformer: Age of Extinction 2D version picture quality is an absolute blinder and it should please the long standing fan of this franchise.
If I have to personally recommend between the 2D and the 3D version, I will say take the 3D version any day. Because it’s not just 3D, its IMAX-3D. Many sequence in this movie has been shot using the new IMAX cameras, which means the picture quality of this sequence increases immensely from their 2D counterpart, also in this version, 60% scenes are in IMAX quality which increase the movie viewing experience, also the 3D is top notch, in fact I will go ahead and say this is the best 3D release till date. The depth of field is perfectly aligned with the sequence, making the scene much more impressive, especially if you have 40” inch screen. Take a look at the scenes where Cade, Tessa and Shane mounting a thin cable from a considerable amount of height to get inside the building. Or the Arctic expedition. It also has a lot of pop-up effects like the scene in the freeway where Tessa is trapped inside a car and Cade and Shane are running to rescue her with confetti flying all around them, this scene not only showcase how doing 3D right but also show that you can add a pop-up effect while keeping it subtle.
The colors are warmer than the 2D version while contrast been the same, the aspect ratio is constantly changing from 2.35:1 to 1.90:1 which could be annoying at times but once your eyes gets use to it, it won’t be a problem. Also, due to the constant change in aspect ratio the decrease in picture quality of the non-IMAX scenes are very noticeable, but again, these are nothing issue. Transformer: Age of Extinction 3D version is the best Blu-ray release so far and triumph the 2D version in every way.
TRANSFORMER: AGE OF EXTINCTION: 2D VS IMAX-3D
Blu-ray Audio Quality
Transformer: Age of Extinction is the first Blu-ray release ever to have encoded Dolby Atmos in their Blu-ray disc, Dolby Atmos has been playing for quite some time in theaters now but this is the first time it’s been available for home theater experience. If you are wondering what is Dolby Atmos? What happens to Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio 7.1? Well, it will take an entire article to write the pros and cons of Atmos. Let's just say it’s the next big thing or the “IT” thing at the moment.
Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology capable of distributing an unlimited number of audio tracks to the loudspeakers. Not only can it play back the usual 5.1 or 7.1 channel tracks, but it allows speaker to differentiate the sound in terms of distance, height and location. Transformer movies traditionally have a very bombastic soundtrack and this movie is no different, what's different is the level of clarity and direction that is present here, explosion on your left, chopper on your right, space ship above your head. This the first time, where I have seen the audio so much in sync with a scene, a missile coming from left to right, you can literally hear it. Dolby Atmos is a true depiction of what surround sound should be.
Now, the billion dollar question is, is Dolby Atmos better than Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio 7.1? NO. The reason why I said no is because it is the first time Dolby Atmos deployed in the Blu-ray disc. Now, if you remember when Blu-ray was newly launched back in the day, it uses to encode in VC-1 format, have minimum bitrate and the picture quality is to be grain less and smooth. But over time Blu-ray evolved, it started to encode in AVC format, the heavy DNR process that use to happen with every release in not the case anymore, the picture quality of today’s Blu-ray disc are infinite more superior than it used to be. That’s the same problem I have with Atmos, it is newly launched and there might be some glaring problem which we are not aware of yet, which will rectify in due course of time. On the other hand Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio 7.1 are absolutely evolving and are top of their game. So I will say this, Dolby Atmos may not be superior, but it’s certainly very different than TrueHD or DTS HD and it’s only going to get better.
P.S; Dolby Atmos will play just fine on your Blu-ray player, but if you want to play this on your computer, then you have played it on Power DVD because another player such as VLC, Window Media player or any other player are not compatible to play it.
List of Extras
- Bay on Action
- Evolution with Extinction
- Just Another Giant Effin Movie
- A Spark of Design
- T.J. Miller: Farm Hippie
Overall, Transformer: Age of Extinction is reference quality Blu-ray release, with standout video and audio presentation, you may have a quarrel with this movie but this Blu-ray release will leave you completely satisfied.
My recommendation: Buy it