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Transformers: Age Of Extinction (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Now, we’ve come to a close on our Thanksgiving marathon session of the Transformers films. Maybe if I feel the need, I’ll write some thoughts on The Last Knight so that this site will have an archive of all my thoughts on every Transformers film. Seriously, I’ve done all but that one including the animated one from the 80s that I covered a year ago. Anyway, we are onto the staying in continuity soft reboot of the series with Mark Wahlberg taking the lead. My memory is super hazy on it (I may have fallen asleep when I first watched it), but I think I liked it more than most people maybe (Which isn’t some sort of high endorsement). But, lets see how I feel now, eh? It arrives on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray to complete your set on December 5th (Possibly earlier according to some Amazon users).

Film 

After an epic battle, a great city lies in ruins, but the Earth itself is saved. As humanity begins to pick up the pieces, a shadowy group emerges to try to take control of history. Meanwhile, an ancient and powerful new menace sets its sights on Earth. A new group of humans, led by Cade Yeager, helps Optimus Prime and the Autobots rise up to meet their most fearsome challenge yet: a worldwide war of good versus evil.

Well, after three films it was time to head into a new direction for the Autobots. Oddly, Michael Bay returns to guide that new path. What’s interesting is that while this does have Bay’s slick look, style and characters, it does look and feel different from what came before. What comes around this time is a story that isn’t afraid to go a little more out there, delivers on the Transformer goods, but is also just way too damn long (nearly three hours).

What a relief it was to move on from Shia LaBeouf to Mark Wahlberg. That kid was wearing me out. While Cade Yeager is not perfect and has some pretty out of touch parenting and gender issues, I’ll accept that maybe its because he’s from some po-dunk backwoods place in Texas. These characters all have a bit more to them than they have been so far. And the most important part: the Transformers are actual characters in this movie. They aren’t just reactionary one-liners, they have actual dialogue, feelings and purpose in this story. We aren’t just limited to wise-cracks and Optimus Prime speeches.

While I think this movie is SUPER long, which really kneecaps it in terms of enjoyability its going to be odd that I praise the editing of it, but here we go. The dialogue in this movie doesn’t feel like cocaine-fueled, unhuman, dribble and just shouting all the time. There are beats and pauses when people speak. It also seems to be a little more void of out of place, juvenile humor. In terms of the action, shots are allowed to sit and have us take note of their spectacle. Granted, there is a lot of slo-motion involved, but still, its quite refreshing.

Unfortunately for this movie, while things are much different once again, the way the action is filmed in this one feels like Bay’s well on the Transformers may be running dry. Its still above what many others can do, but for the first time in the series, I feel like there was nothing here to offer in terms of set pieces and style. A bit of it felt like stuff I’d seen before and much of the action was static in nature. There were no memorable set pieces from this one like there were the others.  There was a whole lot of madness to Age of Extinction, but the method too it wasn’t really all too interesting. But hey, Optimus Prime rode a fire-breathing Dinobot while yielding a giant sword and you can’t tell me that’s not cool.

Tranformers: Age of Extinction is just another in a series’ line that sets out to be no more than popcorn entertainment. I didn’t really hate it at all, though its not the greatest. I appreciated the reboot aspect, scaling things back to start the film and following some new characters. Cade Yeager isn’t perfect but man is he a refresher compared to Sam Witwicky. This one starts calm and builds to some ultimate insanity. Its no better or worse than a lot of the others and definitely was far more enjoyable for me than Revenge of the Fallen. Is that an endorsement? No, but I’m saying you could do far worse than this as it is pretty entertaining for the most part.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Age of Extinction comes in with all the benefits seen on the other 3 releases, but also looks the most clean and clear of the movies. And its not damning to any of the effects either. They still look very good and detailed. With it taking place in Texas, we get a lot more desert and homegrown settings that look quite lovely with different shades of rock, dirt and mountains. The film features many a beautiful sky to it, too whether it be blue, a yellow dawn or night.  Funny enough, picture quality-wise, one of the most impressive moments in the image is when we first meet Stanley Tucci and see his office and labs and it includes a VERY VERY awesome display of whites. Overall, this is a razor sharp image that probably stands just above the rest in a top tier set of new transfers for these films.

Depth:  Being a 3D movie, of course this lends itself to a multidimensional look with good spacing and a nice pushback and loose separation between foreground and background.  Movements come across natural, smooth and fluid with no distortions.

Black Levels: Blacks are quite lovely and deep here. There is some real good saturation, allowing night scenes to look as clean as the daytime ones and objects with dark substances to keep their detailed information with different shades and visible textures.

Color Reproduction: This one has the most colorful looking Transformers of all, green blasts off the screen and blues and reds are gorgeous. HDR comes in with the energy beams, glowing, Transformer eyes, cigar cherries, floating ambers, fires, explosions and more.

Flesh Tones: Like all the rest, these are on the side of warmth for the entirety of the movie. Sweat, makeup, stubble, lip texture, dried blood, dirt and most every facial texture is clear as day.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 Discrete Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Discrete Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital & English Audio Description

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish & Portuguese

Dynamics: While this is just as good as the rest of the tracks, the logo portion at the beginning which I have called so much for for the other movies isn’t too playful this time around. No worries though, this movie rocks the house and gets you involved in every battle or calm office setting. Sound travels accurately and the mix is well balanced and gets good, distinct, layered and lifelike sounds.

Height: Things float above for sure, its your typical battle noises, choppers flying over or slow-mo vehicles roaring overhead.

Low Frequency Extension: Once again booming comes from Transformer stomping, blasts of energy, explosions, rockets zooming through the air, helicopter blades, guns firing and overall destruction.

Surround Sound Presentation: This track is like the others in this series. Its roaming around and an impressive account of what is happening on the screen in front of you. Every environment and every character or action is accounting for no matter the shot or the movements. Its immersive and fun.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are very clear and crisp. All actor diction is wonderfully captured and audible during all turns.

Extras 

Transformers: Age of Extinction is a 3-Disc set that comes with 1 4K Ultra-HD disc, 2 standard Blu-ray discs and an UltraViolet digital copy. Aside from the commentary, all bonus features are on the second Blu-ray disc and are the same as featured on the previous release.

Bay on Action (HD, 10:45)

Evolution within Extinction The Making of TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (HD, 2:02:50)

Just Another Giant Effin’ Movie (HD, 10:03)

A Spark of Design (15:24)

T.J. Miller: Farm Hippi (HD, 19:43)

Trailers

  • Trailer 1 (HD, 2:34)
  • Trailer 2 (HD, 2:34)
  • KRE-0 Transformers: Take us Through The Movies! (HD, 3:42)
  • Angry Birds Transformers: Origin Story (HD, 1:16)

Summary 

I guess a lot of people could call this Age of Ex-STINK-tion, but I’d be hard pressed to wonder why this one is so bad where the others aren’t? I sort of appreciated this different approach to the series and it had a much better lead to follow. This 4K Ultra-HD release holds true to the other three films in terms of the terrific video and audio quality, while keeping all the extras from before.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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