Ultra HD
For Fans Only
3 stars
List Price
$37.99
Amazon
$26.99 (29%)
3rd Party
$17.99
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»
Overall Grade
3 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
0.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
4.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
5 Stars
Supplements
0 Stars
High-Def Extras
2 Stars
Bottom Line
For Fans Only

Transformers: The Last Knight - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Street Date:
September 26th, 2017
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
October 1st, 2017
Movie Release Year:
2017
Studio:
Paramount
Length:
150 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Release Country
United States

Editor's Notes

Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of the standard, day-and-date Blu-ray release, also written by M. Enois Duarte. Specifically, this review features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections, while both reviews share The Movie Itself, Audio, and Special Features.

For a full in-depth review of the Blu-ray SDR HERE.

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

About a quarter of the way into Transformers: The Last Knight, viewers will be wishing Michael Bay's fifth installment in the rock 'em, sock 'em franchise would transform into a different and far better movie. Or perhaps, they might fantasize a knight in a shiny white Dodge Charger crashing through the screen and saving everyone from having to ever watch this spectacularly jaw-dropping mess of a motion picture. The real deception perpetrated by the Decepticons is in convincing any studio production to allow Bay to continue pumping this disastrous garbage. About halfway into it, you'll practically be begging for Earth's annihilation by some unremarkable robot creator — which also happens to be female for absolutely no reason whatsoever — whose only motivation is... Is to, uhm... Is? Actually, the robot sorceress Quintessa — who wears a long flowing dress, speaks in a sexy voice even when angry and voluptuous for a planet of non-gender-specific robots that are nonetheless absolutely masculine — never explicitly makes her motives clear, except that she wants the staff the mythological wizard Merlin used in King Arthur's war against the Saxons.

If that little factoid throws readers, as well audiences, into a mind-bending loop, then buckle-up because it only grows progressively and mind-numbingly worse. In this ever-expanding universe of warring sentient robots that can transform into a variety of complex machines, Arthur and his roundtable of knights make an appearance, and a drunken Merlin — because in Bay's universe, that's comedy — risks DUI charges on a horse to retrieve a magical staff from ancient transformers. Apparently, this brings all previous entries, which themselves are worse than their predecessor, into a larger — much, much larger —whole, and it somehow is supposed makes sense. Only, it absolutely doesn't! It simply makes for a more spectacularly massive, muddled mess of confusion. The cold open is inconsequential and doesn't affect the rest of the movie in the slightest, done purely to satisfy the filmmakers' egos. To shorten the 150-minute runtime, it could easily have been done in some random conversation of exposition. Oh, wait! That's exactly why Sir Anthony Hopkins makes an appearance in the first place, to redundantly reiterate those events to an equally confused and bewildered Mark Wahlberg, reprising his role as Cade Yeager.


A good point of comparison to better illustrate this frustrating junkyard as a prime example of bloated movie badness is The Fast and the Furious sequels. After eight entries to the franchise while revving up for a ninth, how is that the series continues riding into the sunset with a full tank of gas, but the Transformers movies continue to chug along on fumes and four flat tires. The answer is that those movies rely on simple, straightforward plots with a single objective in mind to fuel the engine. Bay's only claim to fame currently, on the other hand, is being pushed down the road by too much plot. It's up in the air if Megatron wants to destroy the humans of Earth, rebuild Cybertron or is in cahoots with Quintessa. Hopkins's Sir Edmund Burton is the last remaining survivor of a secret organization hiding the existence of Transformers and their involvement in major, world-altering historical events. Optimus Prime is easily seduced by the dark side. There's a spunky, sassy preteen always getting in the way. Wahlberg is lonely but discovers he's predestined for bigger things, and the sole purpose of robots is for delivering one-liners.

This makes up a good chunk of everything one must follow in The Last Knight, but there's also other ridiculous nonsense bashed into the heads of audiences, namely characters mentioning the name of Unicron, which is purely done for the sake threatening moviegoers with a sixth installment. Ultimately, though, the real disaster is the filmmaking itself, which should serve as a master class of everything that could go horribly wrong when excessively editing a movie. The edits are rapid, trivial and irrational, making the action incomprehensible, rarely allowing viewers a moment of respite even when characters are simply talking. On the other hand, this reveals Michael Bay doesn't know how to compose a frame for storytelling outside of making it look cool or how to visually give importance to objects or characters. Ironically, Laura Haddock is always nicely shot and glamorous in her tight-fitting clothing no matter the situation or chaos erupting around her. Her character pours more fuel to a troubling fetishistic "male gaze," repeatedly reminding us of her extensive qualifications, touting her genius, but never allowed to use her intelligence.

But that's another discussion for us to ignore some other day. Look over here and enjoy loud, gas-guzzling vehicles making big, ear-piercing explosions while also saving Earth from an imaginary threat.

Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray

Paramount Home Entertainment brings Transformers: The Last Knight to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as a three-disc combo pack with an UltraViolet Digital Copy, which can be redeemed via ParamountMovies.com or VUDU. Inside the black, eco-vortex case with a shiny, lightly-embossed slipcover, the triple-layered UHD100 disc sits opposite a Region Free, BD50 copy, which rests atop another BD50 disc containing the supplements. At startup, viewers are taken directly to a static menu screen with the usual selection along the bottom and music playing in the background.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

The fifth rock 'em, sock e'm spectacular in the robot franchise comes crashing down to Ultra HD with an often stunning and terrifically satisfying HEVC H.265 encode in Dolby Vision, which defaults to HDR10 for those not yet equipped for the newer format and marks Paramount's first entry in this particular format.

Like its Blu-ray counterpart, the freshly-minted transfer is highly detailed and revealing, but this 4K presentation enjoys a noticeable uptick in definition and resolution. Shot in a combination of Super16 and digital cameras capable of up to 8K resolution, the image displays far more clarity in objects in the distance while those in the foreground show clean, resolute lines along the edges of robots, exotic vehicles and weapons. From the individual metallic parts of each Transformer to the fine threading in every person's costume, the freshly-minted transfer is consistently razor sharp. The tiniest scratch and dent on the robots from the many battles survived is plainly visible, and facial complexions in the humans are highly revealing with incredible lifelike textures, exposing every pore and negligible blemish.

As before, there are a couple very minor instances of softness, but they are far and few in between, mostly the result of the particular photographic intentions of the filmmakers rather than a defect in the encode. Some of this could also be related to the awkward and continuously distracting alternating aspect ratios, switching between 1.90:1 and 2.00:1 to traditional 2.39:1. On the whole, the presentation is gorgeous to look at, feeling every bit like Bay's music video stylings, but it most definitely is not CIH friendly.

In Dolby Vision, contrast is significantly brighter and more radiant, allowing for many of those looking-through-a-window type of visuals, particularly when the action moves to England. From the clothing and the fluffy clouds in the sky to the clean pavements and the various computer screens, whites are continuously punchy and brilliantly crisp. Superb specular highlights provide the edges of each CG robot a dazzling shine and glowing glimmer, especially in the glistening body of Cogman, while allowing viewers to make out more of the inner workings of a Transformer's eyes and making light sources appear tighter. Black levels also receive a welcomed jump in quality, looking richer and truer to life than before. Shadows are incredibly opulent and silky with outstanding gradational differences between the various shades, and background information remains perfectly visible during the darkest, poorly-lit sequences, such as when our heroes explore Cybertron.

Arguably the biggest and most apparent improvement is in the far wider color gamut. An extraordinary array of sumptuous secondary hues lavish the screen with incredible animation and energy, such as in the true-to-life yellow of Bumblebee and the enthusiastic orange of Hot Rod. Some of the impressive moments are the early morning and afternoon shots of the sky, showing a passionate combination of a fiery orange sun bleeding into a purplish-magenta light that then smoothly blends into deep, dark blue sky. Speaking of which, primaries are intensely luxurious, but sadly, only green appears consistently accurate. Blues and reds tend to feel exaggerated and overly saturated, especially the latter color, making the whole presentation appear as though having a slight red push, which is most apparent in the faces of the cast. Explosions, for example, almost look cartoonish and distractingly unrealistic, but on the whole, the Dolby Vision presentation is quite pleasing and beautiful, sure to please a more forgiving audience than me. 

The Audio: Rating the Sound

Along with a beautiful Dolby Vision presentation, The Last Knight comes crashing to home theaters with the same bombastic, rowdy Dolby Atmos soundtrack enjoyed on the Blu-ray.

Right from the start, the battle between King Arthur and his knights against the Saxons ignites the room as balls of fire fly through the air, above the listening area, and land with thundering explosions either in the back of the room or just off to the sides. When Merlin comes charging in while riding the robot dragon, the roars echo into the overheads, and the fire spewing from its mouth torches the land in the sides and rears. The rest of the design does much of the same during the many action sequences, as debris rains down from above and lands all around. Although the ceiling speakers go silent during quieter moments, other subtle sound effects pick up the slack, discretely traveling from one channel to the next with flawless panning, generating a satisfyingly immersive soundfield.

Across the front soundstage, imaging is wonderfully expansive and spacious with a variety of noises fluidly moving from one side of the screen to the other. A richly dynamic mid-range exhibits crystal-clear clarity during the loudest, ear-piercing moments, allowing for every clang, crash and clank of metal against metal to be remain distinct and continuously audible. Vocals are precise and very well-prioritized so that listeners can still enjoy all the silly, mawkish dialogue when the rest of the world seems to be on the brink of annihilation. As expected, a robust and highly responsive low-end delivers an authoritative wallop to every explosion, reverberating throughout the entire room that the neighbors can surely feel. 

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

Other than a Blu-ray version and an UltraViolet Digital Copy, the supplements are exclusive to the Blu-ray. 

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

Other than the UHD Blu-ray with Dolby Vision, all supplemental material is exclusive to the high-def package and contained on the second Blu-ray disc.

The Royal Treatment: Transformers in the UK (HD, 27 min): Collection of cast & crew interviews and BTS footage explaining the shooting locations in England and the care that went into action scenes.

Merging Mythologies (HD, 20 min): A discussion on the Transformers' involvement in human history and how the filmmakers pieced these conflicting ideas together.

Motors and Magic (HD, 15 min): A closer look at the Transformers, individual personalities and what each contributes to the story.

Climbing the Ranks (HD, 9 min): A piece on training the actors and the military's involvement.

Alien Landscape: Cybertron (HD, 7 min): Learn more about the Transformers' home planet and Quintessa's role in the sentient robot race.

One More Giant Effin' Movie (HD, 7 min): Several minutes praising Michael Bay's work ethic on set.

Final Thoughts

Shy of celebrating ten years since Michael Bay first introduced moviegoers to the warring sentient robots, Transformers: The Last Knight is a grueling, punishing test on one's patience, featuring a needlessly complicated, bloated plot, questionable camerawork and terrible editing. As the fifth rock 'em, sock 'em installment, the movie ultimately adds nothing to the ear-piercingly loud franchise, except forcefully expand the mythology while also offending and exhausting the senses. 

Thankfully, the Ultra HD crashes to Earth with a reference-quality Dolby Atmos soundtrack and a beautiful 4K Dolby Vision presentation that actually makes the movie somewhat tolerable. With an exclusive collection of supplements, the high-def package is ultimately for fans only, the daringly curious or those hungering for more Dolby Vision HDR goodness. 

Technical Specs

  • Three-Disc UHD Combo Pack
  • UHD-100 Triple-Layer Disc / 2 BD-50 Dual-Layer Discs
  • Region Free

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 2160p HEVC/H.265
  • Dolby Vision

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.90:1
  • 2.00:1
  • 2.39:1

Audio Formats

  • English Dolby Atmos
  • English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles/Captions

  • English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish

Supplements

  • UltraViolet Digital Copy

Exclusive HD Content

  • Featurettes
  • 2 Blu-ray Discs

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about our gear.

Puzzled by the technical jargon in our reviews, or wondering how we assess and rate HD DVD and Blu-ray discs? Learn about our review methodology.

List Price
$37.99
Amazon
$26.99 (29%)
3rd Party
$17.99
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»