Terminator 2: Judgment Day is one of the most iconic modern movies of all time. When I heard about a 3D re-release, I was sceptical. I love 3D when it’s done properly, but far too many films from the past are given the ‘cheap buck’ treatment by putting together a 3D version when they were never made that way. In fact, far too many supposed 3D movies in the cinema of late were never made in 3D, either.
These are also converted in post-production, but nothing compares to a film that was MADE in 3D. Alas, that also incurs extra costs, and would you believe that in 2017, only ONE movie was given that treatment – Transformers: The Last Knight. Sure, the movie made no sense, but it looked incredible in 3D IMAX, as Michael Bay and Paramount went to the trouble of splashing the cash. That might be a cost that the studio regrets now, since it underperformed at the box office, but the addition was only another $10-15m.
Since it just topped $200m for the budget anyway, it’s small beer by comparison to smaller films. For example, Kate Beckinsale’s Underworld: Awakening, in 2012, WAS shot in 3D and it had a budget of $70m. The sequel, 2017’s Underworld: Blood Wars, was NOT. It had a budget of $35m. So, savings had to be made and that was one of them.
Was T2 worth turning into 3D, then? I’ll address that later.
Meet the T-800…
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. Others have overtaken that since, and I think the one in the lead, now, is Justice League with a reported final budget of $300m.
In the original, The Terminator, 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 and Justice League‘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.
..and the T-1000 he’s here to stop.
As for whether it was worth producing a 3D version… well… my fears were confirmed. Like almost all post-production jobs, the 3D, here, has what I call that ‘cardboard cut-out’ feel. You can see several items onscreen – some in the foreground, middle ground and background, but it doesn’t feel natural as they all look ‘stuck on’. The closest comparison I can give for this is the 1970s TV episodes of Paddington Bear.
It’s a great shame since 3D is a great format, and it’s dying because studios don’t know how to use it. When Michael Bay puts the effort in, it looks amazing, but too many studios have turned out ‘fake 3D’ movies all too often – including all the DC and all the Marvel movies (excluding 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, although that wasn’t an official Marvel movie, and that same goes for Fox’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past and X-Men Apocalypse), and it gives the public a wrong impression of a bad picture.
When it comes to the audio, it’s odd that German is the only language to benefit from a DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack, with English and French settling for 5.1. Erm… the film was MADE in English!
Subtitles are also in English, French and German.
I only received the movie disc out of the two in the package, so I’m missing the extras, but then most of them are ones we’ve seen before. The only new one is a 55-minute documentary called T2: Reprogramming The Terminator, including exclusive interviews with Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron, Edward Furlong and many more.
For the rest, there’s an audio commentary with 26 members of the cast and crew including James Cameron and Van Ling, which was on the T2 Ultimate Edition DVD, released in 2001, plus another commentary with James Cameron & co-Author William Wisher.
You can also add two deleted scenes with audio commentary and some old trailers, although there is a new one for this version of the movie, but then again, it’s just all the usual footage in 2D, which seemed rather pointless as it’s advertising a 3D movie.
John’s foster father (Xander Berkeley) got the point.
According to Amazon, this release is meant to include seamless branching of the Theatrical version, Special Edition Version and Extended Special Edition Version. The longer of the three is always the best one, but on my disc, there’s just the theatrical one with no option to change it. Given how the a 3D Blu-ray package always has to contain the movie in 2D, then that second disc will just be exactly that, but with all the extras. That makes sense, given that there’s also a re-release of this movie in 2D at the same time, so Studiocanal will make a ton of those discs and be able to use them across both releases.
(Note that there are a few movies where both 2D and 3D come on the same disc, but it’s understandably cheaper to go the route Studiocanal and most studios will take, and that’s to make a 2-disc package, since everything’s there on the 2D disc)
Hence, it becomes clear – especially since only the theatrical version was released in 3D in cinemas – that only *that* version has been made in post-production. This is so dumb of James Cameron, since it’s the longest version that all the fans care about! Still, he was the one who also made the 3D version of Titanic cropped to 16:9 – well, the non-SFX scenes were opened up to that ratio, while the SFX ones were cropped, and as anyone knows who’s seen Titanic, it was all about the special effects!
On the plus side, if you’ve never seen Terminator 2, then I do recommend you at least buy the 2D Blu-ray, which will contain the best version of the film AND has all those extras. Alternatively, for those with a 4K TV, there’s a 4K release. There’s no spec for 4K 3D discs, so the film is in 2D. But then when you watch a 3D movie in a non-IMAX cinema, you’re not seeing it in 4K anyway – you’re seeing two 2K images (one for each eye), and since 2K is almost the same as 1080p, you’re basically watching the same on a big screen as I’ve just seen on my smaller screen (well at 50″, it’s big, but it’s still smaller than the cinema). Oh, and the 4K release also contains that regular 2D Blu-ray with the extras.
Yes, there have been previous releases of this movie on Blu-ray, but I’m unsure of those extras. I do know that the aforementioned Ultimate Edition DVD contained a shedload of extras, as did the 2009 “Skynet Edition” Blu-ray, so my advice for all fans is to get the 2D version of this new release in whichever format suits your set-up PLUS one of both of those, for all those incredible extras.
At this point, I’d normally go into detail about the picture and sound and the extras. Well, I won’t on this occasion as this is more a review of the 3D side of things, but in short – the audio/visuals are as perfect as you’d expect them to be for this perfect movie, so you won’t be disappointed in that respect. And, of course, I haven’t seen the extras, but I’ve covered that issue above.
As for the chaptering, I always moan that, for a long time, studios have stuck to a bog-standard 12 chapters, with some stretching to 16. In the early days of DVD, there were loads, but studios have got lazy over time. This 3D disc has 12 chapters. Compare that to the Ultimate Edition DVD which had a staggering EIGHTY chapters!
Now see how pathetic twelve looks by comparison. Come on, Hollywood studios!
When it comes to the menu, Blu-rays tend to be seamless, while DVDs find the background audio stop/starting each time you change an option, since there’s just not that much capacity on the disc for things like this. Alas, T2‘s 3D Blu-ray disc feels like a DVD in this respect.
Running time: 137 minutes
Released: December 4th 2017
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (German only)
Languages: English, French, German
Subtitles: English, French, German
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: James Cameron
Producer: James Cameron
Screenplay: James Cameron and William Wisher
Music: 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
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.