Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 4K UHD Review

Revenge of a Cinematic Felon

Revenge of the Fallen’s frivolous moment comes as an evil Decepticon flies onto the Brooklyn Bridge and in a petty gesture, knocks over an American flag. There’s no reason to topple the stars and stripes. It’s in the film as a prop. Since Revenge of the Fallen concludes in Egypt, there’s only one way for an American audience to care – spite America.

Despite a change in international venue, the Michael Bay-directed sequel languishes in connection to the same bloated themes. The anti-government, ooh-rah pro-military action feeds into the center of a pale blockbuster. At its peak, Revenge of the Fallen transforms Steve Jablonsky’s heroic Autobots theme into a military march. Behind it, jets take off from an island-sized aircraft carrier. Chatter discusses 2,000 pound bombs, because no one has heavier bombs than the USA.

It’s a mess of trope-riddled screenwriting, stretched to an unbearable 150-minutes

The series typically leaned right, but with hindsight, Revenge of the Fallen predicated what was to come. With a nearly all-white cast (excluding Tyrese Gibson’s handful of lines), Revenge of the Fallen introduces two slathering racial stereotypes, Skids and Mudflap. One has a gold bucktooth; both speak in perverted slang. Worse still, neither contributes anything of consequence. They exist as background decoration.

Transformers suggested George Bush as President. An unnamed President sat on Air Force One, asked for doughnuts, face unseen. Maybe it was Bush. Revenge of the Fallen confirms Obama as Commander-in-Chief by name. No wonder then Obama’s appointment of a badgering bureaucrat is a sore spot. Intelligence runs successfully because of military foot soldiers, boots on the ground and jets in the sky. The fervent anti-Obama distrust runs through Revenge of the Fallen. Pile on 2,000 pound bombs, explosions, and racism. Revenge of the Fallen is replete with a specific ideology.

Again, Transformers relies on a story of geeky heroism and blatant sexism to sell itself. Megan Fox runs in slow motion for no reason other than the obvious. She also straddles a motorcycle in a way no regular human being does. Shia LeBouf’s college encounter with a classmate – Isabel Lucas – ends with an upskirt peak. An astronomy professor spews sexually charged dialog; the giggling girls in the front row of course adore this.

Somewhere in this pile of outmoded political dreck is a killer robot popcorn movie. That’s pretty awful too. Revenge of the Fallen expects viewers to believe the events of Transformers were covered up by the government. More distrust, tinged with preposterous conspiracy, not long after the advent of Birtherism. How timely. Roped in is the dual hero’s journey, shared by Autobot leader Optimus Prime and Shia LeBouf. Revenge of the Fallen goes far enough to suggest a religious connotation with the Transformers. They can grant life after death. That’s a new level of absurdity.

It’s a mess of trope-riddled screenwriting, stretched to an unbearable 150-minutes. To think these things would only get longer.

Video

Finished at 2K, Paramount’s Dolby Vision UHD release is an absolute delight. Bay’s penchant for hyper saturated, mega contrasted visuals begs for this format. Brilliant color captures the rich yellows of Bumblebee. Desert scenery bleeds blue skies and earth tones. Overly orange flesh tones, traditional for Bay, take on an even denser hue now with the HDR treatment.

Vivid black levels pair with exceptional contrast. Limited black crush produces fantastic detail on the CG robots. With sunlight gleaming from their metal exteriors, it’s a visual pleasure with ridiculous levels of depth. An opening scene in Japan, composed entirely at night, loses nothing to the darkness.

A limited grain structure poses minimal trouble to Paramount’s A-grade encode. Occasional spikes add little grit, remaining natural and film-like. Maintaining grain means detail well above expectation, resolving facial definition to remarkable levels. At times, Revenge of the Fallen butts up against true 4K masters in terms of fidelity.

Audio

One of the pinnacle reference discs on Blu-ray goes all-out for a perfect, standard-establishing Atmos mix. Chapter nine remains one of the aural greats, beginning with a thundering overhead helicopter, into massive Megatron footsteps, pulsating soundtrack stings, and a forest fight. That fight spreads dialog between the front and rear soundstages. Panning Transformers whip around LeBouf, flawlessly staged.

Ludicrous dynamic range is bested only by the pulsing city lift from Age of Extinction. Every explosion, every bullet, every missile, every engine pressures this Atmos mix. Revenge of the Fallen’s ability to let listeners feel the action is almost unparalleled. Bay’s films deserve every A/V award bestowed on them, and this one more than most.

Extras

Paramount carries over the original two-disc Blu-ray set inside the package. It’s so 2009, a pair of BD-Java features reside on the extras disc. On the UHD, the commentary from the Blu-ray is shared, featuring Bay along with writers Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci.

The included bonus disc begins with The Human Factor, an over two-hour, seven part documentary flooded with production details. While often high on itself, the info is worth waiting for. A Day With Bay is fun as the director sits through repetitive press junkets as the movie is still being finished for the Tokyo premiere later that the evening. Hasbro’s fluff piece is 25 Years of Transformers, now clearly out of date. Fifteen animatics with commentary detail the early part of the production process, while three deleted scenes offer little of value. Giant Effing Movie is the final featurette before the requisite trailers, a 24-minute look at the various location shoots.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 26 Revenge of the Fallen screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 8,000+ already in our library), exclusive UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.