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In the year 2029, the ruling super-computer Skynet sends an indestructible cyborg back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the woman who will birth its greatest enemy.
For more about The Terminator and the The Terminator Blu-ray release, see the The Terminator Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on October 28, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: James Cameron
Writers: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, William Wisher, Jr.
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton (I), Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Rick Rossovich
» See full cast & crew
The Terminator Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, October 28, 2012
James Cameron's "The Terminator" (1984) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of MGM Home Entertainment/20th Century Fox UK. The supplemental features on the disc include deleted scenes; short featurette about the film's visual effects and soundtrack; a look at the film's special effects; and a video interview with director James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In English, with optional English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Mandarin (Traditional), Mandarin (Simplified) Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Indonesian (Bahasa), Korean, Norwegian, Swedish, and Thai subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
After a massive nuclear war, the machines, guided by Skynet's supercomputers, have colonized most of the earth and began exterminating the human race. The remaining few survivors have organized themselves and started fighting back. They are led by John Connor, a fearless warrior.
A cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Raw Deal) -- a sophisticated killing machine also known as terminator -- is sent back in time to track down and eliminate Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton, Dante's Peak), a single waitress living in Los Angeles whose unborn son will become the leader of the Resistance. To protect her, the survivors have also sent one of their own, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn, The Seventh Sign). The terminator and Reese arrive at approximately the same time, both naked and unarmed.
The terminator immediately begins killing the Sarah Connors living in Los Angeles. Reese, who does not know what he looks like, begins following the important Sarah Connor, hoping that he would be able to spot the terminator before he kills her. Eventually, the terminator appears and Reese clashes with him while trying to protect the future mother. Very soon, however, he and the LAPD discover that the terminator is indestructible.
James Cameron's The Terminator, one of the '80s most beloved films, works primarily because of two key reasons. First, it has an intelligent plot that uses ideas that are quite intriguing. Specifically, time travel and the notion that one could change the present by going back in time give the film endless opportunities to surprise the viewer. The film's playing field is so wide open and its rules so loose that virtually anything could make sense.
The second reason is the great chemistry between Cameron and the cast. Schwarzenegger, who became a legit international star after The Terminator, is very comfortable playing the indestructible cyborg. He looks rough and demands respect, very much as he did when he was not in front of the camera. Cameron knew it and his direction clearly shows it - The Terminator, as well as its sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, are arguably the only two films with Schwarzenegger in which he is part of something big, something meaningful. All other films he has been in, from Commando to The Running Man to Predator to Collateral Damage, are essentially straightforward show off pieces that have him profiled and used in the most basic of ways actors of his stature are typically used. Cameron is the only director who has intelligently used Schwarzenegger's potential.
Something else worth mentioning is the fact that The Terminator is a good old-fashioned R-rated action film. It is appropriately edgy and free of the political correctness that has virtually destroyed modern action films, or at least the ones Hollywood currently mass-produces. Needless to say, the The Terminator blends the right doses of energy and attitude which a solid action film ought to have.
A lot of the special effects in the film still hold up very well. The flashbacks from the future where the machines and the survivors fight, in particular, still look quite stylish. Only the wild hairstyles and occasionally the big American cars reveal that the future was filmed during the '80s.
The great soundtrack complimenting the film was composed by Brad Fiedel, who also contributed to Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day and True Lies.
The Terminator Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, James Cameron's The Terminator arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of MGM Home Entertainment/20th Century Fox UK.
This new release of The Terminator, which appears to be exclusive to Region-B territories at the moment, boasts a brand new high-definition transfer that looks mighty impressive. In fact, it is my opinion that it looks as solid as the new high-definition transfer that was used for the recent Triple Play Edition of Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall in the United Kingdom. Detail and especially depth are outstanding. Not only close-ups but also larger panoramic shots convey excellent depth and stability (see screencapture #18). During darker sequences, where light is restricted, clarity is also dramatically improved (see screencapture #4). There are notable adjustments in the film's color-scheme as well - greens and blues are slightly elevated, while reds and browns are toned down; there is a wide range of blacks that are very well balanced as well. I don't have a problem with these new corrections as I don't believe that they alter the film's period look and I certainly do not believe that they destabilize its atmosphere. On the contrary, I think that they are competent, respectful, and in the grand scheme of things beneficial. To be perfectly clear, I should also mention that I do not think that the previous release of The Terminator (see our review here) has the 'correct' look James Cameron intended for the film when he shot it. If anything, it has a very uneven look, as colors and brightness levels have a tendency to fluctuate quite a lot. In other words, there are pretty obvious technical limitations on display there. Lastly, there are no traces of problematic degraning/filtering corrections. Edge-enhancement is also nowhere to be seen. Serious transfer-specific anomalies, such as heavy banding and aliasing, are also missing. All in all, in my opinion this is the very best The Terminator has ever looked, which is why I strongly encourage you to consider picking up a copy of this new release if it happens to be one of your favorite films. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no problematic PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu).
The Terminator Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are five standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0, and Thai Dolby Digital 2.0. For the record, MGM Home Entertainment has also provided optional English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Mandarin (Traditional), Mandarin (Simplified) Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Indonesian (Bahasa), Korean, Norwegian, Swedish, and Thai subtitles for the main feature.
There are massive improvements in the audio department as well. Lower end depth, in particular, is much stronger. Surround activity is also improved, while the dialog is well balanced with Brad Fiedel's now legendary score. All in all, dynamic movement is undoubtedly better. This being said, the original mono track which many of the film's older fans remember should have been included. I personally always prefer to have the original track included on these Blu-ray releases as they could very well be the final and best releases for many beloved older films. There is nothing wrong with the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, but why not also include the original mono track and let fans of the film decide which one to use?
The Terminator Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: All of the supplemental features on this Blu-ray disc are encoded in 480/60i (NTSC). Therefore, they are perfectly playable on all North American Blu-ray machines, include the PS3.
The Terminator Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I know that there are different opinions on this new Blu-ray release of James Cameron's The Terminator that are floating around. Here's my opinion - it looks spectacular. I also think that it would have been the film's definitive release had the original mono track been included on it. Still, I can't see how one could be in any way disappointed with it. This being said, I think that it is quite disappointing that there was zero publicity from MGM and Fox before the release hit retail shelves. At the very least review copies should have been secured so that people would know in advance what they were buying. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
The Terminator: Other Editions
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