Review: Bumblebee (4K)

Hailed as “fun, action-packed and exciting”, director Travis Knight’s thrilling new film BUMBLEBEE lands on Digital March 19, 2019 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD April 2 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

Boasting an impressive 93% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, BUMBLEBEE is filled with “personality, wit [and] imagination.”  The Digital, 4K Ultra HD, and Blu-ray releases are packed with over an hour of exciting special features, including an all-new BUMBLEBEE motion comic following the beloved AUTOBOT on his next adventure. Plus, check out deleted and extended scenes you didn’t see in theaters, including the original opening of the movie, enjoy hilarious outtakes, and see G1 Tranformers robots on Cybertron through the eyes of Bumblebee with exciting Bee Vision.

The perfect gift this Easter, BUMBLEBEE on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack or Blu-ray Combo Pack also includes an exclusive printed version of the new motion comic featuring BUMBLEBEE in a standalone side story (for a limited time only).

The 4K Ultra HD disc and 4K Ultra HD Digital releases feature Dolby Vision, which brings entertainment to life through ultra-vivid picture quality with spectacular colors, highlights that are up to 40 times brighter, and blacks that are 10 times darker.  The film also boasts a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for the home to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.  In addition, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo Packs include access to a Digital copy of the film.

Plot: On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie, on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.

Director:  Travis Knight

Aspect Ratio: 1:85:1

Runtime: 114 min

Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 93% & IMDB 7.1/10

Unboxing (See below)

Review:

This movie was shot with ARRIRAW camera’s in a 3.4K format and given a 2K Digital Intermediate. As per the norm with UHD releases, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in Dolby Vision.

This disc has a really clean, sharp image with little to no grain for the majority of the movie. You will see some moderate, arguably heavy grain in later stages of the film — but nothing that takes away from the overall quality. With that sharp-detailed image you will get some reference grade material, and with that full screen ratio — you will get that full screen of 4K goodness. Outside of that, there will be some soft scenes mixed in, but nothing that takes away from the overall look.

Another side note: the Blu-ray disc holds a solid image on it’s own, but the 4K UHD disc brings out a whole other level of detail and sharpness.

The HDR and black levels are pretty solid across the board as well. You will see black levels demonstrated in low lit scenes inside the car, garage, inside the US Special Operation Headquarters, the police chase at night, etc. All doing it’s job — giving great contrast to the color on the screen. (There were a some scenes where a lot of atmospherics were in effect which made some blacks appear with a grey-ish hue.)

HDR will come into effect in the various colors of the Transformers — while more noticeably on Bumblebee himself. The boosts to his yellow armor and especially the blue hue in his eyes. This continues in the various beach scenes, rides along the coast and (even though brief) the Carnival scenes. It’s the 80’s… color and wardrobe go hand-in-hand.

Where this disc gives it reference grade material the most will be in the character close-up’s. While the character face’s will show deep pores, makeup, facial hair and blemishes — Transformers will show dents, scratches, dirt and everything else a war tested machine would look like. Some of the detail and clarity in these in-your-face moments are demo worthy in every aspect. As with most films in today’s market, the CGI holds up (almost the whole time) — it really looks seamless at times. There was a specific scene I noted where the CGI was below-par. This happened when Charlie and Bee were walking through the woods. (Check it out and let me know if you agree.)

Now on to some highlights! As I mentioned above, basically every single close-up shot is reference material. I won’t bore you repeating it, because it can be echoed dozens of times throughout the film.

You will get some of those up-close shots and detail with HDR giving boosts to the yellow on Bumblebee in Chapter 6 when Charlie and Bee meet. Everything from the scratches, rust and dirt will be visible while reference face shots come into play back and forth. This continues in Chapter 11 with shots of Charlie and Memo in the bug — the “teach yourself how to talk” sequence. You’ll get great scenic shots with colors highlighted in the greenery, blue-green’s in the ocean and gritty browns from the dirt.

Again in Chapter 13 you will see Bumblebee destroying the house as he tip-toe’s around trying to do exactly the opposite. The CGI looks fantastic when it doesn’t have to account for other characters on screen. Finally, in Chapter 18 you get the showdown at the tower. Great black levels with HDR being used to enhance the green in the electricity waves, more yellow boosts on Bumblebee, reds on the Decepticons and explosions look great too — as they always do in UHD. Lastly, the closing shots of Charlie and Bee overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s an intimate closing scene with (yes) more up-close reference shots around the big backdrop of San Fransisco coastline.

My two cents on the movie? I believe I was 16 when the first Transformers came out back in 2007, so I’ve been watching these movies over the last decade time and time again — I’m probably part of the problem with millennials and franchises. Even if a Transformer movie is mediocre or (The Last Knight) bad, there’s still some entertainment value and billions of dollars to be made — which is why it won’t stop anytime soon.

I like the fact that Bumblebee takes a step back and adds some character depth getting back to it’s roots — instead of the normal bloated blockbuster filled with explosions and eye candy. In conclusion, on top of a solid movie, you also get an impressive 4K disc with reference material. I can easily say this is highly recommended.

Own Bumblebee on 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD on April 2nd, or Own It Early on Digital right now!

Cheers,

Matt.