Fourth instalment in the blockbuster sci-fi series is more of the same, only writ larger than ever
In the five years following the 'Battle of Chicago', humanity has grown fearful of the Transformers, causing the US military to sever all ties with the Autobots. Meanwhile, an elite CIA black ops unit tasked with hunting down and destroying all surviving Decepticons has secretly been targeting Autobots as well, and supplying captured tech to robotics corporation KSI, which is attempting to build its own controllable Transformers.
Over in Texas, struggling inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) gets his hands on a dilapidated truck, which turns out to be Autobot leader Optimus Prime. When he and his daughter (Nicola Peltz) are threatened by the black ops team, they join forces with Prime in an attempt to save the remaining Autobots. Yet they don't realise that there is another player in the game, a robotic bounty hunter serving the creators of the Transformers, who has plans of his own for Optimus Prime…
It may boast an all-new cast of humans and robots, but this latest entrant in Michael Bay's money-spinning Transformers franchise is ultimately just more of the same – a breathtaking, bloated, flashy and soulless cavalcade of destruction, explosions and product placement presented on a truly epic scale. Indeed, movie mayhem doesn't get much bigger than this, and as far as fans of Michael Bay's hyperbolic style of action cinema are concerned, that's all that really matters.
Picture: With all the fuss that's been made about …Age of Extinction's Dolby Atmos soundtrack, it's easy to overlook the fact that it's also one of the best-looking Blu-rays released this year.
Despite being shot using a mixture of digital and film stock (leading to the odd transitions from pristine clarity to grain and back again) the AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode is nuanced and offers startling detailing at all times. Colours are bold, giving the entire composition a hyper-real look, blacks are unfathomably deep and the image looks sharp enough to cut yourself on. Quite simply, reference-quality.
Picture rating: 5/5
Audio: As mentioned above, this Blu-ray is notable for being the very first to feature a Dolby Atmos soundmix. We previously covered this particular aspect of the Blu-ray in some detail right here, but suffice to say that we came away pretty impressed with the 'object-tracking' audio and the creative opportunities it opens for sound design.
For those of you without the requisite Atmos kit, the disc defaults to a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix that proves just as impressive on its own terms. Bursting at the seams with surround effects and room-rattling bass, the horizontal 7.1 incarnation delivers the sort of phenomenally powerful and expansive experience that buyers will expect.
Audio rating: 5/5
Extras: All of the bonus features are relegated to a second hi-def platter. Here you'll find a fascinating two-hour Making of… documentary, an interview with Bay about his directorial style, a featurette about designing a Transformers toy, and more. Not bad.
Extras rating: 4/5
We say: With its Atmos mix and stunning visuals, this is one of the best demo discs around. The film however, is merely okay…
Transformers: Age of Extinction, Paramount, All-region BD, £25 Approx
HCC VERDICT: 3.5/5
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