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'Transformers' Coming to Blu-ray Sept. 2

2 Jun, 2008 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Michael Bay feels vindicated. Paramount Home Entertainment is finally releasing his box office hit Transformers on Blu-ray Disc, nearly a year after the studio's decision to only issue it in the rival HD DVD format triggered an angry Web tirade from the director.

“I've been waiting for Transformers to be released on Blu-ray for a long time, and it was worth the wait,” Bay said. He called the Sept. 2 release of the two-disc set “the complete high-definition package for fans.”

“It looks stunning and really allows you to engage with this movie in new ways,” Bay said. “Remember, I told everyone Blu-ray was best.”

Last August, when Paramount stunned the industry by announcing it was dropping its support for Blu-ray Disc and would henceforth release films only in HD DVD, Transformers was the flashpoint of the controversy. It was the biggest title Paramount/DreamWorks had in store for the fourth quarter, and a Blu-ray Disc edition had reportedly already been mastered and prepped for release.

On his Web site, Bay blasted Paramount's decision to go HD DVD only and threatened to take his sequel somewhere else.

“I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible,” he wrote. “For them [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks! They are progressive by having two formats. No Transformers 2 for me.”

Bay subsequently backtracked, writing in a post the next day that he “overreacted” and “might be back on” for the sequel. (Bay said principal photography on Transformers 2 is set to begin June 2.) But he was still reportedly steamed that Transformers only came out on standard DVD and HD DVD, a format doomed to extinction when principal developer Toshiba Corp. threw in the towel Feb. 19.

The Blu-ray Disc edition of Transformers that Paramount is preparing will include extensive extras and special features, including a commentary from Bay and two documentaries that provide an in-depth look at the film's human and robotic stars. Segments include executive producer Steven Spielberg discussing his love for the franchise and the early concept for the movie, a detailed look at the casting process and real-world weapons provided by the military to lend authenticity to the film, and a chronicle of the evolution of the robots from Hasbro toys to big-screen stars.

Paramount also will utilize BD Live technology to give viewers a variety of Web-enabled features. Among them are an onscreen dashboard that provides information about the robots and their weapons, their strength levels, a GPS locator and more; a “Profiler” that allows viewers to access detailed information about the cast, voice talent and filmmakers at any point in the movie; and “Menubots” that can be downloaded from the Web so fans can customize their in-movie menus.

“We're so happy to finally bring Michael Bay's true vision to life with this release,” said Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount Pictures. “Because of Blu-ray's expanded capacity, we are able to elevate the bit rate used for the picture as well as present uncompressed audio in the form of Dolby True HD.”

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