“TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT” is now on Blu-ray and it delivers a hefty collection of special-features. Before getting into this bonus content let’s talk about the film itself. One that has been moderately panned by many, but appreciated by others. There is a LOT to take in throughout the course of this two-and-a-half-hour bonanza of melodramatic dialogue and special-effects. It doesn’t stray too far from the recipe of the four prior films. It does provide some entertainment, as well as some fatigue unfortunately.
I did enjoy the various story elements. They were all (on their own) interesting concepts that could have provided a fun science-fiction narrative. But as they were in this one, they didn’t land with the impact they could have. There was nearly a trilogies worth of story here and by having it shoehorned into one film, it didn’t explore the story elements like it could have. Instead of flowing from one scene to another with a nice smooth progression. It felt like a series of segments clipped together resulting in a very fragmented feel as the story jumps all over the world and through various time-periods. This could have been the story that fueled a reboot of the franchise, rebuilding it from the ground up, with a mildly darker tone. But as it was in this universe of films, it felt over-bloated.
It was a beautifully crafted film however. From top-to-bottom this movie is visually spectacular with amazing backdrops, appealing settings, great use of practical-effects and a buffet of cutting-edge digital effects. The action is well imagined and spectacular as the camera puts you in the right place at the right time to get your adrenaline going as battles ensue. But the story-line woven in between these sequences does sort of kill the enjoyment. Without enough development to them it is hard to connect with the characters or the plot overall. It is a wild adventure and something to sit back and gaze at. It’s very polished and loaded with a lot of intense action-sequences. But it tried to do a little too much and could have spread this story out more to build a stronger foundation to it.
Those are my general thoughts of the film itself. Let’s get into the special-features that are included in the Blu-ray edition of the film that is now available for purchase.
One More Giant Effin’ Movie
This was an entertaining featurette that covers the making of this film with a broad scope. Using an overview perspective, the segment touches on the technology used in making a blockbuster film. The world-wide locations the film was shot at. A look at the new directions the story-line would be taking the franchise. As well as a peek at some of the techniques used in the creation of the film from a variety of elements. It includes commentary from the cast and crew, and it gives great surface level insight into the filmmaking process, and it is a great set-up for the more detailed special-features in the Blu-ray package.
This was easily my favorite of the special-features collection. This segment was close to thirty-minutes and really dove, with detail, into the mythos of the story-line in this film. The featurette covers how a writer’s-room was created to begin cultivating ideas and how teams of writers were formed to write story-treatments for the Transformers, each covering a different era. From the King Arthur era, to World War II Germany, this segment covers the creation of the story angle that the Transformers have been around the entire time. Throughout history, with a much older connection with the humans.
This informative segment provides loads of fantastic footage that truly takes you behind-the-scenes to see the filming of the movie. It is intriguing to see the detail and pride that was put into making a movie with such a large scope. It gives a film lover a different perfective of what goes into making a film, and it is hard not to appreciate the effort taken into trying to create a cinematic experience. The coverage shows off some of many film props, and some artwork made for the various story-treatments. In addition to providing a steady flow of insightful commentary.
Royal Treatment: Transformers in the UK
This featurette focuses on the shooting in the United Kingdom, from the streets of London, to the castles in the countryside. It showcases the technical aspects of shooting intricate car-chases on the busy streets of downtown London. With informative commentary from the crew it explores all the issues with filming on location. How certain streets could only be closed off for minutes at a time. And that despite the difficulty of the sequences, every shot, and minute counted in creating well-crafted, visually appealing scenes.
From there the segment shifts to the beautiful countryside locations that were used for certain sections of the story-line. It gives an inside look at the strict rules for filming inside historical castles and palaces. All of which were filled with priceless artifacts. This segment shows how much effort the crew had to take to ensure their filming didn’t leave a single footprint. It was informative in giving a deeper look at some of the other aspects and concerns that must be taken into account when filming scenes on location. As well as capturing the collaborative effort of stunt-work, camerawork, and several other elements needed to create spectacular action-sequences.
Climbing the Ranks
This was another very interesting segment in the special-features. It dives into the military aspect of the films story-line. The featurette introduces the S.E.A.L. team that was used for the characters in the film. As well as exploring the technical aspects of shooting the battle-sequences and making them as realistic and visceral as possible. The featurette gives an inside look at filming on location at Luke Air Force Base near Glendale Arizona, and shooting scenes aboard the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego. It explores the weaponry used as well as the incorporation of new weapons technology such as the F35 fighter jet. Commentary captures the detail taken by the crew into making the military element as believable as possible in the finished film, and it was an entertaining look at this aspect of the creative process.
Motors & Magic
Another of my personal favorites in the special-features, this segment covers the designs and creative concepts being the cast of Transformers. One-by-one each of them are covered through commentary giving a new perspective to the groups new look in this fifth-film. This segment explores the design and upgrades made to the appearances of the various Transformers, as well as the cars that inspired them. In addition to providing some insight to why they look the way they do, and what the creators were hoping for in their finished products. This featurette overlays a hefty amount of film-footage letting the viewer get to see the specific robots in action and it was a very visually appealing feature for the disc collection.
Alien Landscape – Cybertron
Everyone who knows the Transformers knows Cybertron, the home world of the robot civilization and this featurette explored the concepts behind designing the planet. Filmmakers discuss the remote locations of Iceland that were used for the landscapes of Cybertron. As well as talking about how the desire for practical-effects in every shot, and not just CGI, was always a primary focus. The filmmakers provide a rich commentary giving insight behind the mindset for creating the Quintessan race as well as the designing of Quintessa the infamous space sorceress. This segment takes a look at the design process and story-boarding concepts for the building of Cybertron and Quintessa. It overlays some film-footage to show the end result and it was interesting. Behind-the-scenes footage is shown of the filming process during this section of the film and it gives a great perspective.
“Transformers: The Last Knight” may have been a divisive film but it does provide some entertainment. The special-features included in the Blu-ray definitely make the film worth the addition to the home library. The film itself looks fantastic on a home theater system and with all the bonus content it doesn’t just provide a behind-the scenes look at the filming of this movie. But it gives a great insight to the film-making process in general, and all the work that goes into putting a blockbuster movie together. If you are a fan of the Transformers films then this Blu-ray is a must-have as it is dense with features for not being a Special Edition release.