Transformers: The Last Knight
In "Transformers: The Last Knight," humans and Transformers are at war and Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager (Wahlberg); Bumblebee; an English Lord (Hopkins); and an Oxford Professor (Haddock). There comes a moment in everyone's life when we are called upon to make a difference. Here, the hunted will become heroes. Heroes will become villains. Only one world will survive theirs, or ours. (Gary Reber)
Special features on the Blu-ray Disc include six featurettes: Merging Mythologies (HD 19:53), Climbing The Ranks (HD 08:48), The Royal Treatment: Transformers In The UK (HD 278:04), Motors And Magic (HD 14:47), Alien Landscape: Cybertron (HD 07:15) and One More Giant Effin' Movie (HD 06:45) and an UltraViolet digital copy.
The 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture was photographed with the Arri Alexa IMAX (dual-strip 3D), Arriflex 416 Plus, Red Epic Dragon, Red Weapon Dragon and Red Weapon Helium camera systems in Panavision® and Hawk Scope, mastered to a 2K (not 4K) Digital Intermediate, and reviewed on a Sony Bravia XBR Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display. As the 2K Digital Intermediate has been unconverted to 2160p, there is no real gain in native resolution. This is Paramount's first 4K Ultra HD release in Dolby Vision. [If your display device does not support Dolby Vision, the movie will play in HDR10 format.] As for aspect ratios, they do shift throughout the film between various sizes, mostly though in 1.78:1 (from the negative's 1.90:1/2.00:1) rather than a more infrequent 2.35:1 ratio. The light film grain is barely evident during the segments photographed on film and is never distracting. Overall, the picture is absolutely pristine. Resolution is incredible, as is clarity and sharpness. Fine detail is exhibited throughout in every frame, from facial features such as skin pores, hair and beards, to clothing to object textures, and of course, the Transformers and the intricate composition of their animated parts. Close-ups of human faces are noteworthy. The fineness of detail in the production design is mesmerizing. Contrast is superb, enhanced with HDR for deep blacks, revealing shadow delineation, and tasteful bright highlights, such as whites and the intensity of sky brightness and lighting design. This makes for an extremely dynamic picture presence throughout, with shadows and black-level gradations stunning. Bright daylight scenes are perfectly natural. The color palette exhibits a wide gamut of hues that portray naturalness, yet at times really pop. Fleshtones are warm in hue and perfectly natural throughout, no mater what the lighting condition. The green of English grasses is lushly hued. Fire flames, such as explosions, are complex in hue, and primaries such as reds and blues are strongly hued. There is a wonderful sense of color depth throughout. WOW! segments are from 0:03:01 to 0:06:36, 0:22:19 to 0:23:28, 01:08:48 to 01:11:15 and 01:42:14 to 01:42:54. This is an exemplary 4K Ultra HD HDR presentation, with incredible visual effects, that is exceptional reference quality throughout. (Gary Reber)
The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is super dynamic sounding opening with the Paramount stars sweeping through the soundstage from front to back with a digitized, robotic sound, accompanied by a deep low-end presence and fully-engaged surround channel energy. From there on there is pounding .1 LFE deep bass extension to sub-25 Hz in seemingly every scene, from Transformers falling or attacked to relentless explosions, which are numerous and will stress out a home theatre system not fully capable of reproducing such intense bass. Additionally, artillery gunfire is intense and directionalized. The surrounds are aggressively engaged and directionalized throughout, and the final battle scene to save earth is absolutely spectacular in terms of powerful dynamics. In a scene earlier on, Anthony Hopkins' voice shifts from one channel to another in a complete circle. The added two surrounds deliver a compelling fuller soundfield experience. The sonic detail in all the mayhem is extraordinary. At ear-level, the panning of sound effects is strong throughout the soundfield, delivering a truly engaging sonic experience. Throughout the mayhem, dialogue is intelligible, and while at times dialogue is wanting in spatial integration due to extensive ADR, overall, the dialogue fits well to the on-screen settings.
The Immersive Sound element is nicely supported of the focused ear-level soundfield, beginning with the electronic sound elements during the opening Paramount credit. In addition to the low-level extension of the orchestral score, object-based sounds consist of ambient sounds, wind, a robot voice singing overhead, a helicopter overhead (but not consistent), underwater bubbles to the surface, a spaceship, jet fighters zooming overhead (but not consistently for all overhead aircraft), an occasional explosion (but not consistently for all explosions), low-level gunfire, occasional Transformer grunts, electrical rays, and other punctuated sound effects and levels of ambient support. Some of the sound effects carry some SPL weight and are effective with exceptional power and precision, while with others, the perception is subliminal. While this may seem to be a sound design that is more immersive and more visceral, when active it certainly adds to the sense of a spherical experience, but for the most part the height sonics never really stand out on their own but blend into the ear-level sonics, or are never there in every scene. Still, while limited, this adds a real extra dimension to the soundtrack when engaged. Unfortunately, as with all of the Transformers Dolby Atmos Immersive Sound releases, the soundtrack's height potential is often neglected by the sound designers. The Immersive Sound element is inconsistent and could have been so much more effective in supporting the soundscapes suggested by each scene.
This is a terrific, reference-quality holosonic® and with at times a good spherical surround-enhanced soundtrack that pushes the throttle full on for an excitingly engaging and fun experience. (Gary Reber)