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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Science Fiction > Toys > Transformers (DVD-Video Set with special fold-out Megatron packaging)

Transformers (DVD-Video Set with special fold-out Megatron packaging)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: B-     Film: C+



Just when we though we had reviewed every version of Michael Bay’s Transformer film, Paramount/DreamWorks and Hasbro have come up with a new idea.  Our previous coverage is of the film in all three formats for which it was released:





Blu-ray Set




This is specifically a DVD set, a repackaging with one big twist…


It includes a toy!


Well, a toy of sorts.  Two versions (so far?) have been issued, one being of Optimus Prime and the other of the evil Megatron, which you can see in the picture included with this review.  The DVDs are exactly the same of course, so before we talk about this new toy version, here are the technical specs again:


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is poor, with a strange Video Black problem that makes it look phony and never good.  At least the BD/HD image comes close, but it may be hampered by too many extras taking up space, even with a second disc.  The DVD is just plain weak and a disappointment.


Shot in a mix of Super 35mm and even better anamorphic Panavision by Director of Photography Mitchell Amundsen, this even looked better in the DVD copies of the trailer that circulated prior to its theatrical release versus the DVD-Video version.  Needless to say, only the HD can give you an idea of the material that could have been blown-up to IMAX size and the digital effects are not as much a problem as expected in either version.


Like the now-defunct HD-DVD version, the DVD sound is not that good.  Fortunately, the Blu-ray offers Dolby TrueHD 5.1, but the DVD versions demonstrate the limits of the AC-3 format with strident performance when the old compression system is overwhelmed, a problem that also persists (to a lesser extent since it is the lesser mix) in the standard DVD version.  Bass is constant, and the old Dolby Digital just cannot handle it.  As sound for films like this becomes more dynamic, Dolby Digital AC-3 will continue to show it just can’t cut it.  Audiophiles do expect film soundtracks to be bright, but this not a good enough excuse here.  Steve Jablonsky’s score is fairly good.



And you get the same other disc-bound goodies:


Extras include a feature length audio Commentary by Michael Bay, 13 featurettes (Our World, The Story Sparks, Human Allies, I Fight Giant Robots, Battleground, Their War, Rise of the Robots, Autobots Roll Out, Decepticons Strike, Inside the AllSpark, More Than Meets The Eye, From Script to Sand: The Skorponok Desert Attack and Concepts), DVD-ROM Content, trailers, fancy packaging and even four Easter Eggs.  The HD adds web-enabled features if you machine is hooked on line, a picture-in-picture Transformers: Heads Up Display audio commentary with images that takes a different approach to avoid monotony with no overlap from featurettes or other interview sources as none are used and Transformers: Tech Inspector that allows for a crash course on all the machine characters, especially so you can get the toy if you want.


So that leaves the toy.  There is an open window at the top (only protected by dirt by the cellophane the paperboard case comes in) that is naked after you unwrap it and out slides a Megatron (with a flat back, save the DVD holder) that opens in three steps.  This novelty might be good for decoration and you could play with it, but that is somewhat limited in scope.  However, I can only see this as a fans-only proposition and after one too many reissues, should have limited appeal.


Since VHS & Beta arrived, gift boxes have been a staple of home video.  The 12” LaserDisc upped the ante with fancier gift sets and even with that format dead, there are people who will buy titles even if they do not have a player just to have the packaging or select big pictures on the album-sized sleeves.  As DVD recedes, there will be collectible packages from the U.S. market, as well as abroad.


The only thing fans might wonder is why this is not being offered for Blu-ray.  Maybe each robot could hold one of the two Blus.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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