Release Date(s)2017 (September 26, 2017)
Studio(s)Hasbro/Di Bonaventura Pictures/Angry Films (Paramount Pictures)
- Film/Program Grade: D
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A+
- Extras Grade: C+
Good Lord. Transformers: The Last Knight is quite possibly the weirdest, most preposterous, and over-the-top thing I have ever seen in my life. I don’t know where to start here. Hell, I’m not even sure how to explain it. This is a movie about robots fighting robots fighting people fighting more people and all of them fighting planets. Plus submarines. Everything comes to life and is either a Camaro or a celebrity or not, and there’s dinosaurs, and King Arthur for some reason with wow is that Stanley Tucci as a drunken Merlin (?!), and Marky Mark is in this sharing screen time with a bird-flipping Anthony Hopkins, and if you’ve survived the cognitive dissonance so far there’s also a three-headed RoboDragon, and everything spouts fire, or bullets, or dialogue so bad it could only have sprung from the unholy mind-meld of Michael Bay and Akiva Goldsman, and it’s all just batshit bananas.
Basically, we’re supposed to believe that the Transformers have been on Earth for thousands of years and their history is intertwined with ours to the point that even our ancient mythology and ruins were inspired by them. But this story’s ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ approach leaps past mind-numbing almost to the point that it actually becomes oddly compelling. Seriously, if Nicolas Cage’s Superman had flown into the battle here on a cyborg unicorn with Phyllis Dilller, Grover from Sesame Street, and Shaq dressed as Frankenstein’s monster in the sidecar, and they’d all broken into Swedish folk song, it would only have been marginally more absurd than this.
But boy… how ‘bout that 4K, though? Transformers: The Last Knight was almost entirely shot digitally using ARRI Alexa IMAX cameras (with some Red Epic cameras and even 16 mm film) in the ARRIRAW (6.5K) and Redcode RAW (6K/8K) codecs. Interestingly, it was finished as only a 2K Digital Intermediate that switches aspect ratios throughout the film (from 1.90:1 through most of the film to 2.00:1 and also 2.39:1). But as was the case with Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2, this is very much a case of better pixels captured leading to a higher quality result. The image looks spectacular for a 2K upsample, with impressive clarity and clean, crisp detail and texturing. This is further enhanced by a Dolby Vision HDR grade that renders gleaming-bright highlights, deep shadows, and intensely luminous colors. It’s a palette that goes past life-like to the point of punchy, hyper-realism, which actually lends itself to the subject material well. If you don’t have Dolby Vision capable equipment, you’ll see a very fine HDR10 presentation that will also not disappoint. Either way, this is pure visual eye-candy.
It’s ear candy too, but more of the Pop Rocks variety, with a bombastic English Dolby Atmos sound mix (7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible, of course). The soundstage is huge, impressively wide, and offers great vertical extension during action sequences. Imaging is blustery and precise, with smooth panning, and outstanding clarity, all of it built upon a rock solid foundation of bass. This is a mix that will rattle the windows and shake the walls, just as you’d expect it to. Additional audio options include English Descriptive Audio, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, and English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, with optional subs available in English SDH, English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
The 4K Ultra HD disc contains no extras, but the package also includes the 2-disc Blu-ray. One of those is a movie only disc with the movie in 1080p HD and Dolby Atmos audio. The other is a special features disc that contains the following (all in 1080p HD):
- Merging Mythologies (19:53)
- Climbing the Ranks (8:48)
- The Royal Treatment: Transformers in the UK (27:04)
- Motors and Magic (14:47)
- Alien Landscape: Cybertron (7:15)
- One More Giant Effin’ Movie (6:45)
These extras are solid for what they are, it’s just that the film and its story are so outrageous that it’s damn strange to see grown men talking seriously about it all. Note that optional subs for these extras are available in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. You also get a Digital HD copy code on a paper insert in the package.
In the end, the only thing I can say for sure about Transformers: The Last Knight is that it’s a thing that happened, and I need to go stop this seizure I’m having from watching it. I’ll give the film this though: I couldn’t take my eyes off it for its sheer outlandishness, especially in 4K Ultra HD. So that’s something… or at least not nothing. This title is certainly recommended as an Ultra HD A/V demo experience, if not for the film itself.
- Bill Hunt