Dom Robinson reviews
Skynet Edition “The future is not set.
There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.”
Optimum Home Entertainment Blu-ray:
- Running time: 156 minutes
- Year: 1991
- Released: June 2009
- Region(s): 2, PAL
- Chapters: 80 plus extras
- Picture: 1080p High Definition
- Sound: English 6.1 DTS HD Master Audio Lossless, French 5.1 DTS-HD High Resolution, English 6.1 DTS HD Master Audio Lossless, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
- Languages: English
- Subtitles: English, French, German, Turkish
- Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
- 16:9-Enhanced: Yes
- Macrovision: Yes
- Disc Format: BD25
- Price: £24.99 (Blu-ray & Blu-ray Steel Tin Edition)
- Extras: Extended versions of the film, Interactive Modes for using during the film, HD trailers Terminated Data, Dyson Protocol List, D-Box Motion Code, THX Optimizer, T2 THX Trailer
- Vote and comment on this film: View Comments
- James Cameron
(The Abyss, Aliens, Aliens of the Deep, Avatar, Battle Angel, Ghosts of the Abyss, Piranha 2, The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Titanic, True Lies, Xenogenesis)
- James Cameron
- James Cameron and William Wisher
Original Score :
- Brad Fiedel
- The Terminator (T-800): Arnold Schwarzenegger
Sarah Connor: Linda Hamilton
John Connor: Edward Furlong
T-1000: Robert Patrick
Dr. Peter Silberman: Earl Boen
Miles Bennett Dyson: Joe Morton
Janelle Voight: Jenette Goldstein
Todd Voight: Xander Berkeley
John Connor (age 44): Michael Edwards
Kyle Reese: Michael Biehn
Cyderdyne Tech: Van Ling
Arnie promised “I’ll be back”… and he was.
After the modest $6m budget spent on the first film, Terminator 2: Judgment Day became, at the time, the most expensive film of all time and James Cameron went on to take the same crown again in 1997 with Titanic.
In the original, the life of waitress Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) was in danger after Arnold Schwarzenegger turned up as a T-800 cyborg from the future to bump her off because the son she was to give birth to would lead the resistance in the fight against the machines in the future. However, she wasn’t pregnant, but soon was when a soldier from the future, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) was also sent back to protect her from Arnie. While there, they fell in love, slept together and then she was up the duff… with the future resistance leader who sent Kyle back to our present. With me so far?
In the sequel, after detailing the reason for blowing up building after building, no-one believed her story about the fight against the machines and so Sarah was stuck in a mental asylum. She needs to get out though because more trouble has arrived in the super-dooper advanced T-1000 (The X-Files‘ Robert Patrick), with the then-revolutionary morphing technique, out to kill her son as a ten-year-old, John (Edward Furlong).
The saviour this time is another T-800, but confusion reigns supreme because he looks just like Arnie again and so they think *he’s* the baddie. In order to get out of the loony bin first though, she’s got to pass a psychiatric review. Everyone knows that she fails this big-time and a visit from both cyborgs to the unit inadvertently helps her to escape and deal with the problem.
The rest of the cast includes Speed‘s Joe Morton as Miles Bennett Dyson, creator of the neural processor that helps machines to think in the first place, so it’s partly his fault too; Earl Boen as Sarah’s shrink, Dr. Peter Silberman; Jenette Goldstein and Xander Berkeley as John’s foster parents and one of the film’s technical contributors, Creative Supervisor and Visual Effects Co-ordinator Van Ling as a Cyderdyne Tech.
This Blu-ray disc features all three versions of the film. There’s the 137-min theatrical version, the 152-min Director’s Cut, and then the 156-min Extended Special Version Director’s Cut, the latter of which is accessed via the menu with the code ‘82997’ (since Judgement Day is August 29th, 1997). If you want spoilers of what’s in the extended versions, take a look here.
Meet the T-800…
One piece of good news is that the longest version, also released on 2001’s “Ultimate DVD”, was made uncut for the first time back in 2001, so why all the pissing about by the BBFC over the years that’s made stuff of legend? Originally seen in cinemas as an untampered 15-certificate in 1991, the video remained a 15 but suffered cuts because the BBFC were harsher on home versions as they can be seen by the children of irresponsible adult and scenes at home can be taken out of context, with murders being rewound and played over and over again. They eventually relented with the PAL laserdisc release making it an uncut 18-certificate, but this was never allowed on video and remained a one-off.
Since then any video versions have been censored 15-certs, losing kneecappings for one thing, even the so-called “T-1000 Special Edition” video released on August 29th, 1997, the day of the great war that saw everything burned away. Hence, the reason why I was irked by the 15-certificate adorning the cover of that DVD which is retained for this version, but the BBFC’s website has confirmed that all previous cuts have been waived.
The stupidest decision by the BBFC when they were led by James Ferman though, was to ensure that all action films, especially those by Arnie, would be no more than a 15-cert on video because they thought the films’ target audience were teenagers. Hence, the slightly-cut 18-cert cinema version of Eraser, which became a 15-cert on video and DVD, losing nearly 3½ minutes including the completely-inoffensive “train-meets-car” at the end where James Caan and co are dispatched. Still, James Ferman is now dead, so his problems are over and we can all laugh at the silly man.
During the two or three times I’ve previously seen this film, I didn’t rate it above half-marks as it was too silly, but now looking up at the widescreen image with the DTS sound blaring away in an uncut and complete print, it’s all so much more inviting. Also, re-watching the content since having played so many first-person-shooters makes me realise they’re emulating films like this and now I thoroughly enjoy what I once wasn’t too fond of. The extra footage helps enormously in this director’s cut and it’s all come together perfectly.
..and the T-1000 he’s here to stop.
If any film was expected to shine in HD it would be Terminator 2 and there is every reason to expect the best from this disc. From the intricate workings of Arnie’s innards, to the shiny chrome look of the T-1000, the image is full of colour and is crystal clear in its 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen frame. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 37″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
I watched the film in DTS 5.1, as I don’t have any HD sound equipment and, quite frankly, my room isn’t big enough for all of that. However, with the whole thing cranked right up to maximum enjoyment levels, while every bullet and explosion were impressive, there were still many big sounds that made me leap out of my seat and swear a lot, most notably when Miles Dyson is forced to set off that big bang in his office…
The extras are as follows:
- Interactive Modes: These are all extra features that appear within the film and play during the Extended Special Version only (come on, now, that’s surely the one version you’re going to watch more than any!). You can switch between these while watching the film, sometimes viewing more than one at once. This is clever stuff and what Blu-ray extras should be about. If there are any complaints, it does take a minute or two to enter or exit the interactive mode, but it’s worth the wait.
- Visual implants: picture-in-picture video about the making of the film.
- Trivia Data Overlay: View text commentary and trivia during the film.
- Production Data Overlay: View specific shot methodoligies during the film.
- Linked Data Modules: Branch out from the film to view behind-the-scenes audio slideshow segments.
- Source Code: View the original screenplay in sync with the film.
- Schematics: View original storyboard sequences in sync with the film.
- Query Mode: Take a T2 Trivia Quiz during the film.
- Processor Tests: Test your skills with minigames during the film.
- HD trailers (1:17, 1:40, 2:05, 2:27): Firstly a teaser in 16:9, showing a Terminator robot being built, then two trailers in 16:9 with the voice of the late, great Don La Fontaine, all of which were used for the cinema release; and then one in 2.35:1, again with ‘the voice’, for the Extended Special Edition. It’s great to see them in top-notch quality as they were pretty ropey back in the day.
- Terminated Data: Or, two ‘deleted scenes’ with optional commentary, but without giving spoilers, these are scenes that show in the Extended Special Edition.
- Dyson Protocol List: Credits for this edition of the film.
After that comes something named “Skynet Access” that tells me it needs to be used in a Profile 2.0 player… which mine is after the update shortly after I got it. But there’s nothing under this, so I can only assume it’s referring to the fancy menus as it loads up.
- D-Box Motion Code: Yes, I hadn’t heard of it either, until recently, but according to this D-Box corporate video, the idea is that as well as experiencing top-notch audio and visual effects, you’ll also get motion effects – rather like a souped-up La-z-boy chair. In short – I. WANT. ONE. NOW! However, it appears the only one you can physically buy at the moment is a computer game racing chair that costs a penny under £13,000.
Another video shows that in the US a system can cost $10,000, which is comparatively reasonable even if no-one has anything like that money available in these credit-crunch times. However, I do like the comment on that video that states “I wonder what happens if your watching porn?” Well, ask Jacqui Smith – I’m sure she’s got one on expenses!
The menus are done in a Skynet mainframe style, and states, for example, that it’s accessing info from previous viewings of the disc such as stored bookmarks that you’ve set in the player beforehand. The Skynet menu also says it’ll run with full animation if you’ve not got the Blu-ray player hooked up to the internet. Well, I only connect mine when I need to run an update so I’ll leave it as it is.
There are 80 chapters which is fantastic, there are subtitles in four languages and the main menu is nice and fancy but does repeat a very small piece of the theme over and over, so if you leave it on there for a short time you’ll be reaching for the mute until you return to the film. Comparing this to 2001’s Ultimate DVD, there are a lot of similarities with the extras but then why not, and on the Blu-ray version all the mini-featurettes will feature during the film itself rather than separately.
John’s foster father (Xander Berkeley) got the point.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.