Review

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review

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Jan 30, 2012 | 6:45am EST

Transformers Dark of the Moon 3D Blu ray Box ArtWho would have thought that Transformers: Dark of the Moon can join the ranks of a very elite list of threequel films that don’t suck. That might not be saying much considering the subpar Revenge of the Fallen but the third Transformers film is actually way more enjoyable than the first two combined thanks to non-stop pulse-pounding action sequences that showcase why like him or not Michael Bay was the perfect director for this saga.

In the early '60s during the Galactic Civil War of Cybertron between the oversized toasters an Autobot crash lands on the dark side of Earth’s moon. To cover up the investigation of what really happened President Kennedy authorizes NASA to put a man on the moon and in 1969 when Apollo 11 lands astronauts Aldrin and Armstrong investigate the crash site. Fast forward to a few years after the second movie. The Autobots and the U.S. Government are working side by side to ward off evil doers be it foreign domestic or Decepticon. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is unemployed and frustrated about it. After all the kid did save the world twice now. Luckily his frustrations are alleviated by new girlfriend Carly Spencer (newcomer/model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). Things turn haywire for Sam and Carly when they head to N.E.S.T. headquarters to meet up with BumbleBee and the rest of the robopals to brainstorm the Autobots’ next move. Also along for the ride are Patrick Dempsey John Malkovich Frances McDormand and the returning John Tuturro to all beef up the films thespian quota making the the time between robot on robot violence scenes enjoyable.

As with any Bay movie action and spectacle trump story and in Transformers: Dark of the Moon there's so much of both there’s not even a proper synonym to use for it. Critics like Roger Ebert trash movies like this but that’s because they forget the film’s true audience are people who want to see the megaton mechs. So if you can check your brain at the door you’ll have a great time with the concluding chapter (?) of the Transformers saga.

Oddly enough the limited 3D edition is not cheesily named the "More Than Meets than Eye" Edition but damn it if it shouldn’t be. The film is available on every format imaginable except for the artifacts known as VHS Beta or Laserdisc. Armed with a conventional Blu–ray 3D Blu-ray DVD and Ultraviolet Digital Copy each version of the flick looks crystal clear and pumps sensational surround sound through whatever listening device you’re using. As for bonus content this is the most in-depth set of features on a Blu–ray I've seen in a long time. The only thing missing is a commentary track from Bay LaBeouf et al; but the sheer dearth of behind-the-scenes documentaries more than make up for it.

"Above and Beyond: Exploring Dark of the Moon"

After Bay Shia and other members of the crew all but denounce Revenge of the Fallen the cast and crew of Dark of the Moon discuss the genesis and production of the film. This expansive making-of doc is the meat and potatoes of the special features. It takes you through the entire conception and filming process of the movie. Interesting tidbits from the doc are the concept cars behind the Autobots the funny story of how Bay got to shoot inside the Lincoln Memorial the perils of filming in 3D and many of the film’s out of control  Inception–inspired set pieces along with a piece on the crew of Winged Suit Skydivers that flew through the streets of Chicago in one of the most exciting sequences of the movie.

"Deconstructing Chicago: Multi–Angle Sequences"

There are 24 scenes split between Previsualizations and Visual Effects with optional commentary by Bay VFX Supervisors Scott Farrar Matthew Butler and Pre–viz Supervisor Steve Yamamoto. They're all brief sequences but also intriguing to see in shot-by-shot comparisons.

"The Dark of the Moon Archive"

Here’s where the disc’s fun little puff pieces lie. "3D: Transforming Visual Art - A Conversation with Michael Bay and James Cameron" is the highlight of this group of miscellaneous features. If you’re a fan of action movies from the past thirty years chances are you have seen more than a fair share of films from these titans. Hearing them speak about the benefits of 3D technology gives me hope for the progression of the format. Also included in the archives are shots from the film's World Premiere in Moscow Russia another look at the spectacular birdman sequence and the importance of sound design. Rounding out the puffery is a heartwarming piece "Cody’s iPad" in which Bay presents his friend Cody who has special needs an iPad to use for communication.

If these three multi-part features aren’t enough for you the Dark of the Moon Blu-ray also contains concept art galleries teasers theatrical trailers and a look at NASA’s history.

To sum it all up the Transformers: Dark of the Moon Limited 3D Edition Blu-ray is the Blu-ray you pull out to showcase your entertainment system and make the rest of your collection jealous. If any of your friends scoff at the idea of watching this movie sit them down shut them up and crank your speakers up to level 11 for one of best balls to the walls action movies in a long time.

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