Terminator 2: Judgment Day – Ultimate DVD Edition – The DVDfever Review

Dom Robinson reviews

The Ultimate DVD “The future is not set.
There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.”
Distributed by
Momentum Pictures

  • Cert:
  • Cat.no: MPT1000DVD
  • Running time: 147 minutes
  • Year: 1991
  • Pressing: 2001
  • Region(s): 2, PAL
  • Chapters: 80 plus extras
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, DTS 5.1 ES
  • Languages: English
  • Subtitles: 4 languages available
  • Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
  • 16:9-Enhanced: Yes
  • Macrovision: Yes
  • Disc Format: 2 * DVD 9
  • Price: £24.99
  • Extras: Teaser Trailer, 2 Theatrical Trailers, Special Edition Trailer, The Making Of T2, T2: More Than Meets The Eye, The Making of T2: 3D: Breaking the Screen Barrier, Original Screenplay, 17 Storyboard Sequences, Sixty mini-featurettes, T2 Supplement, Exclusive 32-page companion book, Audio commentary, THX Audio and Video tests, Easter Egg


      James Cameron

    (The Abyss, Aliens, Ghosts of the Abyss, Piranha 2, The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Titanic, True Lies, Xenogenesis)


    James Cameron


    James Cameron and William Wisher


    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-FilesRobert 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.

Will we ever get a T3? It would be the one thing for sure to resurrect Arnie’s action career given the lull it’s taken with flops, albeit entertaining ones, such as Last Action Hero and End of Days, not to mention the delay of his latest, Collateral Damage, due to the terrorist attacks on New York on September 11th, 2001. According to the Internet Movie Database, it’s pencilled in for next year, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Meet the T-800…

One piece of good news is that this film is eventually uncut, 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 this latest release, but the BBFC’s website has confirmed that all previous cuts have been waived. At last!

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.

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.

The 2.35:1 widescreen print is anamorphic and striking, but does suffer a slight haze as artifacts show their face in non-action scenes at times, making me wonder why a little more attention hadn’t been paid to the mastering.

The sound is first rate though. DTS always kicks ass over Dolby Digital and here it’s simply breathtaking: the crunched skull at the start, the theme tune, Arnie’s first meeting with the T-1000, John being chased by the T-1000 and ever other action scene will have your neighbours hammering on the wall.

Sonically, you know the film, you know what to expect. It delivers in that
department without question!

John’s foster father (Xander Berkeley) got the point.

For the staggering amount of extras, they start with the little fish: a Teaser Trailer (80 seconds, non-anamorphic 15:9), 2 Theatrical Trailers (both the same ratio, running for 105 seconds and 2 mins) and a Special Edition Trailer (2½ mins, 4:3).

Then comes the featurettes: The Making Of T2, an oft-seen 31-minute documentary that’s been shown on TV and been available on video for some time. Containing 16 chapters, interview clips from the usual suspects and non-anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen clips are included; T2: More Than Meets The Eye, a 22-minute look at the extra scenes put back into the film with more chat which is split into 11 chapters; and The Making of T2: 3D: Breaking the Screen Barrier (23 mins, 10 chapters), which looks at the theme park ride at MCA/Universal Studios with specially-shot footage intending to place the public in the heart of the action.

The entire Original Screenplay is here for you to view at your leisure over 574 still frames, with the fire of the great war behind it. 17 Storyboard Sequences are available such as “Future War”, “Two Sarahs” and “T-1000 Reforms” with over 700 still shots between them.

SIXTY mini-featurettes make up the video footage segment varying in length, including a deleted scene with Sarah Connor as a pensioner looking back on what could have happened after the world was saved and there’s the T2 Supplement – over an hour of video footage, text and pictures for the completist to drool over.

Thanks to Gavin Montague for this info about an easter egg on the disc:

    “Unlike the Region 1 DVD, rather than be taken to another version of the movie with two scenes restored that weren’t in the director’s cut, you are taken to a separate menu where you can watch these two scenes on their own and apart from the movie.

    “Ive discovered that to access these two scenes on the region 2 disc you simply : Highlight “play ultimate edition” on the main menu.Then using your number keypad on your remote type in the date of the future holocaust from the movie using the American dating system. August 29th 1997 – so this becomes “8 2 9 9 7”. Type this in and the words “the future is not set” will appear on the right-hand side of the screen and then you’ll be taken to a separate menu where you can access these two extra scenes.

    Incidently,i found it easier to input the code if i gave a slight pause between each number.”

Finally, comes the Exclusive 32-page companion book, which provides plenty of info about the film, a chapter listing, the extras and the scenes put back into the film, a set of THX Audio and Video tests and a feature-length Audio Commentary from 26 members of the cast and crew including James Cameron and Van Ling.

The DVD contains animated and scored menus which are fantastic, there is an amazing 80 chapters to the film itself and subtitles in English, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese. Suprisingly, the extras are not accompanied with English subtitles – just Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese which seems a ridiculous oversight.

Overall though, no T2 fan should be without this DVD. The sound and amount of extras make up for the slight drop in picture quality. The only thing it seems to be missing that appeared on the Region 1 DVD is the chance to play the theatrical version, but with the special edition here why would I want a shorter one?

The Region 1 DVD.


Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 2001.


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