"Transformers: The Last Knight" Blu-Ray Set Review
On September 26, 2017 "Transformers: The Last Knight" will be released on DVD, Blu-Ray, 4K and 3D. The kind folks at Paramount Pictures were cool enough to provide Ben's World of Transformers with the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital release for review. This set includes three discs altogether: The movie on Blu-Ray, a Special Features disc and a DVD. There is a paper included inside to download the movie on Digital. Average retail for this version will be around $19.99.
The menus on this disc are fun. They are basically an aerial ride through the final act of the movie where Ospreys fly below you and parts of Cybertron are swinging in the air. As you do this scenes from the film float by. It is definitely eye catching and the menus themselves are easy to navigate and not overcomplicated.
When reviewing the Blu-Ray disc, I watched it via my PS4 on a 55" screen with an HDMI connection, so I expected a really nice image and I was not let down! The print is absolutely beautiful, with vibrant colors, brilliant lighting and I would almost swear I can see more detail than I recall seeing in theaters. For instance, in the scene where Megatron is leading his troops into the abandoned town after Cade, there are moments where the sun shines on him just right and you can see a bit of dirt and scarring on his armor. They are tiny details but they look fantastic. Color saturation is also beautiful in the third act when the Autobots and humans invade Cybertron. The bright green grass contrasts so brilliantly against the black dirt and rocks it is a bit shocking at first.
The DVD print is good as well, but of course nowhere near as sharp and brilliant as the Blu-Ray. I mainly use the DVD versions of the films to watch on the small TV in my home office or when I travel on my laptop so it will do nicely in a pinch.
Part of the reason I favor the Blu-Ray/DVD releases are the extras. Sadly there are no deleted scenes included with this set, but there are several short documentaries that give an excellent behind-the-scenes look at the production of the film. For some fans this may not be a huge deal, but I am a big fan of "movie magic" and I love seeing what was going on behind the camera. There are several of these video extras, each focused on a theme. Links below to different sites with video clips were provided by Paramount Pictures.
This video focused heavily on the integration of Arthurian legend into the Transformers universe. It discussed the famous "writer's room" where a dozen or so writers were given a crash course in Transformers lore by Hasbro before they were each asked to develop individual stories set in different time periods. One was called "Operation Skyfire" and looked like it took place in either World War 1 or 2. However the one that stuck was the "Knight" themed one and the World War 2 themed story. This video focused heavily on the Knight theme and got into heavy detail on the filming of the film's opening Medieval battle scene. There were plenty of interviews with the actors and the crew that really gave you a good sense of what a herculian task that scene was. There was a lot of practical wire work and effects. You can see a clip of this extra on ComicBookResources.
Climbing The Ranks
This video focuses heavily on Michael Bay's relationship with the military and how real military officers and resources were involved in the filming of "The Last Knight". Bay has a long record of working with the military on his films, but sometimes it is easy to forget that in the midst of Hollywood Magic there is a lot of reality. For instance for some scenes there were real United States Navy SEALs mixed in with actors. In other scenes the jet fighters and vehicles seen were all actual vehicles at a United States Air Force base. Josh "Lennox" Duhamel talks about having to train with SEALs as part of preparing for the film. Overal it is a very impressive display of cooperation between Hollywood and the military. You can see a clip from this video on Under the radar.
The Royal Treatment: Transformers in the UK
This was one of the longest documentaries on the disc and perhaps the most gorgeous. This video focuses on the myriad locations used in filming in the UK. Ranging from Rievaulx Abbey to Bamburgh Castle to Stonehenge you get a gorgeous look at the locations "The Last Knight" used as backdrops or integral parts of the story. I had assumed a lot of the places in the film were sets, but they were in fact real homes, universities or tourist sites. There were a lot of fun behind-the-scenes videos of Sir Anthony Hopkins as well, and it was fun to see a bit of ad-libbing going on at the scene filmed at the real 10 Downing Street. You can see a clip of this extra on Coming Soon.net.
Motors & Magic
For many Transformers fans, I think this will be their favorite of the extras. This one focuses solely on the Transformers themselves, running through several of the key characters and how they have been redesigned for this film. Interesting highlights include Hound being called out as a medic who often saves people in battle and how Hot Rod's head was designed with (what appears) to be scratch instead of starting with the G1 character's head. It was also interesting to see Cogman's design being largely based on old watches, hence all the fine details underneath his outer armor. There were no "in story" discussions however, which was a bit disappointing. For instance, they talk about Megatron having a whole new look, but no mention of how he went from Galvatron in "Age of Extinction" to Megatron in this film. Still, I appreciated that one of the videos focused on the actual Transformers themselves!
Alien Landscape: Cybertron
In another video that will either annoy or delight fans, the designers focus on Cybertron and its appearance in "The Last Knight". They discuss adopting the hexagonal appearance from previous films but adding some dirt and rocks to it, giving it more texture. This is hardly the first time Cybertron has shown evidence of organic bits. "Beast Machines" took that idea to an extreme over fifteen years ago. However it was interesting seeing the thought process behind it. This video was also fun because it focuses a bit on Quintessa. It was good to hear the writers acknowledging the Quintessons and their influence on the character of Quintessa who they described as an "Apostle of the Transformers". They also call back to Cybertron being about six billion years old. This was a really interesting one to watch since the first few videos focused so much on the human characters and actors.
One More Giant Effin’ Movie
This is more of a sizzle reel, showing various behind the scenes bits without a central theme. There are some cool moments, some funny ones and it sort of acts like a teaser for the other extras (though it is listed last, go figure).
Despite the lack of deleted scenes (or even bloopers) this is a solid set. The movie looks gorgeous and the extras are very informative and fun. This is a great way to enjoy the film and learn more about it. Recommended!
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