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Terminator 2: Judgment Day(1991)
The Terminator returns in this explosive action-adventure spectacle. Now he's one of the good guys, sent back in time to protect John Connor, the boy destined to lead the freedom fighters of the future. Sarah Connor, John's mother, a quintessential survivor has been institutionalized for her warning of the nuclear holocaust she knows is inevitable. Together, the threesome must find a way to stop the ultimate enemy-the T-1000, the most lethal Terminator ever created.
For more about Terminator 2: Judgment Day and the Terminator 2: Judgment Day Blu-ray release, see Terminator 2: Judgment Day Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 17, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, Earl Boen, Joe Morton
Director: James Cameron
» See full cast & crew
Terminator 2: Judgment Day Blu-ray Review
One of the biggest movies in history is on the best home video format in history.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 17, 2007
Come with me if you want to live.
There are three things in life you can count on: death, taxes, and new editions of Terminator 2 on home video. I've lost count of how many times I have had this movie in my collection in some iteration, sometimes owning multiple copies across formats simultaneously. I've had a standard VHS copy, a VHS special edition, a standard LD, a boxed set LD, and at least 2 DVD copies, maybe 3 (I can't remember!) And now T2 is in high definition for the first time. Of course I own it! This also marks the first time I have seen the film on a big, widescreen television. By the way, I also saw this film five times in theaters as an adolescent. I've never seen any other film more than twice theatrically, and even those occasions are rare. To say I've really liked this movie over the years is a vast understatement.
August 29th, 1997. The day has come and gone more than 10 years ago, but I'll never forget spending that day wondering, "what if?" That's the date given in Terminator 2 as "Judgement Day," the day SkyNet launched a preemptive strike against targets in Russia beginning World War III, a war costing three billion lives. Out of the ashes of the fire rose the machines, a race of cybernetic organisms and equipment bent on destroying humans. In The Terminator, SkyNet sent a model 101 Terminator back in time to the year 1984 to "terminate" Sarah Connor, the mother of the future leader of the human resistance of the machines, John Connor. With the help of a lone human soldier sent back in time, Sarah survives and eventually births John while on the run, seeking help wherever she can find it to learn survival and military tactics.
In Terminator 2, Sarah has been arrested and placed in a state mental hospital. Her son John, a young teenage delinquent, is living with foster parents. As with the previous film, a Terminator is sent back in time in an attempt to alter the future. In 1984, it targeted the mother of the resistance, Sarah Connor. Now, it's target is her son, the leader himself, John Connor. However, a new and advanced Terminator as been sent to do the job, an advanced prototype known as the T-1000 (Robert Patrick, Bridge to Terabithia), a cyber organism composed of liquid metal and capable of morphing itself almost as it sees fit. To defeat this awesome enemy, the human resistance also sends back a solider, only this time it is a reprogrammed T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) that will serve as John's guardian.
In one of the classic sequences in film history, The T-800 Terminator enters a bar naked as Dwight Yoakam's Guitars, Cadillacs blares over the bar's loudspeakers. He scopes out its patrons, finds a man of similar stature, and demands his clothes, boots, and motorcycle. Once he gets what he needs, he exits the bar to the beat of George Thorogood's Bad to the Bone. This is but one example of the absolutely perfect blend of action and humor to be found in T2. The sequence may not work for the first time viewer watching this after The Terminator, but believe me, it works in conjunction with the tone of the rest of the film. Here, Shwarzenegger is the good guy, John's protector, and as the film progresses he learns more about humanity by experiencing life and its raw emotions than a computer program could ever teach him. This is a tale of courage and self-sacrifice that has a brilliant script, story, and plenty of action to boot. The movie is very fast paced and is over before you know it. Casting is universally excellent. Schwarzenegger is once again perfect and makes a flawless transition from villain to hero, showing a tender side he first showed off in 1988's Twins. Linda Hamilton's transformation from a weak waitress to the muscular "mother of the future" and combat-ready killer is amazing. Robert Patrick is perfectly cast as the stoic killing machine T- 1000. His performance is exceptional. It's difficult to play a lead role that calls for little to no emotion but Patrick pulls it off flawlessly. First timer Edward Furlong is fine in his role as the young John Connor. He can be highly annoying at times, but that's his character.
Nevertheless, even after singing this movie's praises, I have to admit I'm starting to feel like the movie is getting a little long in the tooth. I've probably seen this movie more times than any other and while I still love it, it's just not 5-star material for me. It still comes close, but even after watching it today for the first time in over a year, I must admit it's beginning to lose some of its luster. I still love the Terminator franchise. I felt that T3 was every bit as good as the first two, especially taking into consideration the spectacular, unexpected ending, and I am eagerly anticipating the upcoming television series on Fox.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day Blu-ray, Video Quality
Lionsgate has released Terminator 2 for the first time on Blu-ray as expected in 1080p high definition inside the film's original 2.35:1 frame. This is a fine but underwhelming presentation on the whole. Flaws are few and far between, but it just doesn't strike me as especially great. The image at times looks slightly washed out, especially in the black levels. There is still a good deal of detail to be seen throughout in both close-ups and distance shots. I noticed no major instances of edge enhancements, but some was indeed present in places. Flesh tones are natural and accurate and color reproduction appears to be spot-on. This is one of the very earliest of Blu-ray releases, and as such, it doesn't quite live up to the standard we are seeing today, even from the more recent Lionsgate titles. Nonetheless, this is still the best looking version of T2 I have ever seen.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Unfortunately, and likely due to the use of a BD-25 disc, there is no lossless audio track to be found on this disc. Instead, we get a very well done 1.5 Mbps DTS track alongside a Dolby Digital 5.1 track running at 640 kbps. On the whole I was pleased with the DTS track, but also disappointed knowing that the inclusion of a PCM or DTS HD MA track would have made a film known for it's sonic experience all the better. Parts of this track are rather subdued, even in the action sequences. Of course, perhaps its not fair to rate this track immediately after watching the first Terminator film on Blu-ray, a film that featured a robust (perhaps overly so) PCM track that had the action going on in every speaker for the length of the film. I'm not one to demand an overly aggressive mix; instead I prefer a natural sounding mix that kicks the surrounds in when need be and plays like real life rather than an engineered track, which the first film's track, at times, came across as (though I thoroughly enjoyed it for the most part). Here, though, it does sound a bit more natural but it came across as obviously lacking in deep bass and an overall sense of immersion into the film. This not much of an upgrade from the 2-disc "Ultimate" special edition DVD. Dialogue is reproduced without a hitch. There is definitely some excellent ambience throughout that really enhance the overall experience. It was, on the whole, surprisingly more front heavy than I expected, and I am sure the inevitable double dip on this title will incorporate some sort of lossless option, PCM most likely if Lionsgate's upcoming releases such as War, 3:10 to Yuma, and Saw IV are any indication.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Sigh. There's nothing here except two commentary tracks. T2 has seen so many releases over the years, many packed with extras, that it's odd that so little is included here. Or maybe it isn't. We all know T2 will see several more releases on Blu-ray before all is said and done, so it's likely the next release will contain a whole lot more. The first commentary track features James Cameron and co-writer William "Bill" Wisher, recorded in 2003 according to the disc. The two delve right into the information, and most of it is very insightful and entertaining with Cameron as the obvious attraction. The second track is a compilation track rather than a straight "discuss while you watch" track. Recorded in 1993, it features 25 cast and crew members discussing pretty much anything you can imagine about the film. One nicety here is that when someone speaks, their name, title, and picture appear at the top of the screen. It's a nice touch that makes an already good track a lot easier to digest.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Terminator 2 is a seminal work in the action genre. It upped the ante considerably for effects and action and few films since have managed to capture the magic of this film. It's an adrenaline pumping flick from beginning to end, one that builds on the story of the first film in a logical manner. Nothing is contrived here to make it work and the film also manages to stand on its own as a remarkable achievement technically, visually, and as a solid and engaging story. Much has been made about only including the theatrical version here. It had been a while since I watched this cut of the film, and even though the longer version works great, this version, which I have seen more times than any other film in my life, is the one that hooked me on the franchise. Technically, this disc is fine but there is room for improvement. The supplements are very good, but there is much more to be seen and it will be seen in subsequent editions. Eventually, a better edition will come out, and this rendition of the film is recommended for die hard fans only.
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