Metal against mettle
A review of the UK release of TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY – SKYNET EDITION Blu-ray –
Film review by Camus, picture, sound, extras and summary by Slarek
 
"You have to control the technology and
not let the technology control you."
"People call me a perfectionist, but I'm not. I'm a rightist. I do
something until it's right, and then I move on to the next thing."
Writer/Director, James Cameron

 

'Rightist?' 'Perfectionist?' There's an argument there. One man's right is another man's perfection. I think I know what Cameron means having directed a few films/TV shows myself. You 'feel' what's right (it can never be perfect in any absolute sense) but then there's the editing and adding the FX and any rightness or perfection in production gets launched into, like dough kneaded by baker's hands. And as it's all about the dough (ahem), most projects will be kneaded into the blandest bread to snare as many people as possible. But grizzly bears like Cameron can push the mainstream industry forward because he has enormous clout despite the fact he's not released a film since Titanic. But insiders are making strong murmurs about Avatar and its apparently astonishingly immersive 3D effect, something both Jackson and Spielberg have now experienced and thusly migrated to for their TinTin movies. For some reason making TinTin in 3D feels like making Forest Gump president. Too much for so little but as I have been wrong in the past, I'm sure I won't be immune to being wrong in the future. But this business is all opinion. He/she whose clout's the loudest...

Most casual cinemagoers have an opinion about James Cameron. This is because the soft soap that pushes through the clenched entertainment media fist is the first to drop into our laps and is never regarded as a small part of a larger whole. As a joke, Diana Rigg teased her co-star behind the scenes of On Her Majesty's Secret Service saying that she had been eating garlic just before a love scene was to be shot. A reporter was on set (which Rigg was playing up to, one assumes) and filed a story, out of context, that relationships were frosty between the new James Bond and his leading lady. It stayed with me for years – that one, dumb story – and my disappointment in George Lazenby's behaviour. Now I know it was just good humoured banter (or was that interview-revealed info also spin?). I wasn't there. Even if I was I may have put the wrong interpretation on the situation. Well, James Cameron, from most reports, is a perfectionist (rightist), hard nosed, directorial autocrat non-plussed at making as many enemies in his film-making as collaborators if they veer too far from his work ethic. The main story that tarnishes (or enhances) his reputation – depends on which way you look at it – was his firing of the complete stunt crew on that little boat movie he made for not being able to flip a lifeboat over on cue. His ill-judged "King of the world!" at the Oscars didn't endear him to anyone either. Not everyone in Hollywood had memorised his screenplay.

Creativity can be wrought from conflict (not a fan of that philosophy myself) and some people do excel when pushed up against the wall of budget, ego or happenstance. Whatever you thought of Titanic (and critical opinion has wavered and shredded like a flag in a hurricane over the last twelve years), you cannot deny Cameron's tenacity and technical film-making ability. He's come a long way from Piranha 2: Flying Killers. To be fair, anyone would have come along way from Piranha 2: Flying Killers. He burst upon the scene with a hardly original tale of a robot from the future returning to destroy a threat to its own machine population's existence. A doctor in T2 upon hearing the same story as told by Sarah Connor even sarcastically remarks "That's original." It was as if Cameron was acknowledging his debt to another story. After the original movie a subsequent lawsuit was settled in Harlan Ellison's favour, a science fiction author from whose work Cameron subconsciously 'borrowed'. Just for interest's sake, the Terminator in the TV series, The Sarah Connor Chronicles is called 'Cameron' (naturally) and the ex-cop on the Connor's trail is called Ellison (that could not have been coincidence). Cameron followed up the original film, bravely some thought, with a sequel to Alien. Excited about the way computer technology was leaping and bounding, pushing celluloid into an arranged marriage, he set about making a sequel to his first true hit. The result was Terminator 2: Judgment Day and it was a cinematic landmark for all sorts of reasons.

T2 is a chase movie, pure and complex. The future leader of the human resistance movement (soon to be played as an adult by Christian Bale in the fourth movie in the franchise), John Connor, lives with his guardians in L.A. His real mother, a raving loon, is locked up in a secure facility for having the temerity to try and convince normal people that the world is going to end in 1997. But this is a science fiction movie so (a) we know that she's no raving loon and (b) unless she does something about it, the world really is going to end in 1997. So from the future come the terminator hunter and the old model protector. Let the action set pieces begin.

Now some cynics may say that Arnold Schwarzenegger reprised his role as a Terminator only if he could be regarded as a good guy.* He was playing the hero card quite defiantly in the 80s and would become the 90s' biggest action star. Other cynics may say that all computer effects could manage at this time in their rapid development was liquid metal so the bad Terminator became a creature able to 'morph', or change via liquid metal from anything to anything. It's a sign of the exponential growth of CGI that a few years after Robert Patrick 'morphed' from a silver mannequin to human, the basic software was available for home computers. Regardless of the cynics, the movie works gangbusters as an action picture and the brand new CG at the time was a jaw dropping revelation.

For all the attention lavished on the technology depicted on screen and that being the result of the growth of film-making technology off screen, the most stand out aspect of T2, for me and this may have been hormones, was the unbelievable transformation of a puppy fat-imbued actress with bone china cheekbones, a wonderfully full mouth and a good line in disbelief to a über-ripped, leopard like, lithe action heroine. Linda Hamilton's buffed physicality was a profound revelation to me.** We'd all seen (and perhaps not appreciated) the over developed human torso. By dint of sexism, we'd become inured to the pumping irony of over inflated masculine bodies (Arnold was saved by his mordant sense of humour). But the female form, wrought by years of self-development, produced slick, oiled torsos that needed a GPS system and a 4x4 to navigate over. Again, I stress this is probably a sexist attitude that niggles from my Neanderthal cortex but overly ripped female bodies made me queasy. And then along came Linda Hamilton who seemed to have got it just right – and in character. What else is there to do in a mental hospital? In short, I would have followed her to the end of the world. The clock was ticking.

The movie is full of wonderfully sly touches. The liquid metal Robert Patrick (cast for his feline looks and originally scripted with a moustache which in Patrick's face would have looked just simply wrong) effortlessly pours through prison bars only to briefly find that his gun hand is temporarily stuck until he twists his grip. Arnold (perhaps out of character) after his climactic fight, sighs, world weary, "I need a vacation..." The whole bar scene at the start of the movie just invites wicked humour and Cameron delivers with flair. And then there's Arnold's cyborg theme as he steps out rigged in black leather... "Bad to the Bone" boasting the double irony of the facts that it's the good guy and technically, very technically, it has no bones. I have to tip my hat at Brad Fiedel's score. Despite its pounding simplicity, there's a real melancholic vein pumping through its heart and it dovetails with the film's overall bleakness in a very satisfying way.

The CGI, of course, is a marvel (or was a marvel in 1991). Film scanning has become so sophisticated that there is no way we can tell if an image has been digitally tweaked today. But eighteen years ago, when a CG effect was on screen, there was a slight change to the feel of the shot (at least on the original DVD), a colour shift and a quality change only perceptible if you were aware of it. It nostalgically reminded me of the old Sinbad movies and the blue hum that used to form around the actors whenever Harryhausen's creations came on screen and interacted. On the T2 Blu-Ray (on the shot of the T-1000 healing from his first gun shot wounds) the shot is still noticeably different from those around it, as if a few prints away from an original negative; limitations of the digital scanning technology at the time.

This movie also stands at the dawn of wire removal enabling stuntmen to really but safely play games with mortal bodily injury. Given that, we hadn't advanced to the stuntman having his face replaced by the actor. Jurassic Park started that little trend. You don't know what to trust anymore. On the most dangerous stunt, it's clearly two doubles doing it for real (three if you count the anonymous stunt driver of the HGV) followed by a cut in of a process shot featuring the leads (but not Robert Patrick driving the lorry). I remember at the cinema thinking that Cameron doesn't have a lot of luck with process shots (backgrounds projected and recorded in camera at the time as opposed to CG backgrounds seamlessly slotted in during post production). The shot of the ship crashing in Aliens while the actors took cover was always on the dodgy side. Speaking of dodgy, there's not too much menace in the wide shot of the heroes' car driving off with a stuffed dummy Robert Patrick attached to its back bumper. I cringe whenever I see that.

But why carp at limitations when the whole is so much fun, if grimly violent? I adored the design of the T-1000 and had a perverse fascination with the bodily harm it was subjected to. Kudos must go to make up special effects (the late Stan Winston and his studio). We also have to mention ILM CG grandfather, Dennis Muren. This was his platform to excel and the only way up from T2's extraordinary effects was dinosaur sized. But regardless of the significant merits of the movie, time travel remains a narrative bastard, no question. As a poster on the IMDb has pointed out, if Sarah, John and Arnie have averted the apocalypse then there'd be no Kyle Reese to come back from the future to impregnate her. I cannot believe writer Cameron was not aware of this gaping logic problem but hey. As we all know from our movie sequels, it happens, just not in 1997. But that's a small answer to the gaping narrative black holes that wink into existence as soon as you say 'a' can travel in time to affect 'b'. But it's all suspension of disbelief. When it comes to time travel, unless it's done with real vigour and soundness, it ends up requiring a suspension bridge of disbelief. Cross it at your peril.

the curious case of the theatrical and extended cut

Of course, there's no curiosity. It's dollars and sense. Hollywood was blessed with an extraordinary invention. First brought to tentative life in 1892, this innovation has allowed the entertainment industry to future proof itself even in these high definition days. It's as if someone found a well in a desert and no matter how big the container, there was always enough water to fill it. I'm talking about the greatest recording format on the planet. Take a bow, George Eastman and all the pioneers that developed his original research to create 35mm film. Before home recording formats, 35mm reigned supreme. If you could see a projected print originated from a first generation negative, it would shock you with its depth, clarity and detail. VHS is to 35mm as an un-lit candle is to floodlights. DVD and Blu-Ray are mere torches and light-bulbs by comparison. If you scan a 35mm negative (we are talking about picture information recorded over an area of just over an inch square) at 4K resolution, the resulting computer information is still only knocking on the door of 35mm's potential.

So movies live on because we've yet to invent a digital medium that rivals 35mm. Yes, James Cameron now shoots wholly digitally and there are good arguments on all sides of the celluloid vs. digital debate but my money's still on 35mm as a superior medium. So Hollywood can bring the biggest containers they can and the 35mm well doesn't seem to run dry. So 'director's cuts', 'extended editions' and (god help us) 'un-cut versions' are released and re-released to make us buy the same thing over and over again. I'd love to see someone really release an 'un-cut' movie. It would be a box set of rushes and you'd have to make it yourself... In the light of Cameron's commentary on the Blu-Ray disc, it seems that the extended cut is simply one that features shot scenes that were judged to be superfluous due to time. All movies (well, almost all movies) end up twenty percent longer than their final locked running time. It's part of the process, the winnowing away of the fat, the junking of ideas and scenes that all felt like good ones at the time. It seems that Cameron doesn't miss his extra scenes except for the 'removing the chip' sequence which features a rather neat mirror gag utilising Linda Hamilton's twin sister.

For the record, here is a quick sprint through the extended scenes (for more details see the excellently thorough sleeve notes) After the list, an opinion as to how these extra scenes enhance or detract from the overall effect of the movie:

    1. More violence towards Sarah in hospital.
    2. More of the dream sequence while Sarah is incarcerated which now includes Kyle Reese as her conscience willing her on.
    3. The T-1000 steals a Police car.
    4. The T-1001 kills Max, the dog.
    5. Small addition to the scene where Sarah is pulling spent bullet slugs from the Terminator's back.
    6. ...and this is the one Cameron regrets losing and I have to agree with him. Sarah and John are able to deactivate the Terminator by removing his CPU and Sarah goes to smash it and John stops her.
    7. John teaches the Terminator to smile.
    8. Dyson's scene after seeing the Terminator reveal his endoskeleton is added to.
    9. The desert arms stash scenes are added to giving Sarah a little more time with her friend Enrique and more time for John's conversation with the Terminator, a chat about about death.
    10. Adding to the previous conversation is a scene extension in the car driving to Dyson's house.
    11. Sarah's preparations to assassinate Dyson are expanded upon.
    12. A series of glitches shows the T-1000 has been negatively affected by the shattering from the liquid nitrogen.
    13. The T-1000's feet – as Sarah Connor – have melded to the gantry thus showing John it was a good idea to duck as his real mother fires her weapon.

Having now seen the film quite a few times in its extended form, I must admit to enjoying the longer version as the more complete experience of Terminator 2. I had no problem in the cinema understanding the narrative, but the extended scenes do help in appreciating the overall smaller, more subtle intentions of the movie. Cameron knows his onions and as an audience we really have to feel for Sarah and John, an aspect of the film made easier by the extended cut more than the theatrical.

Sarah is in a bad place because of her previous experience and the ill judged decision to tell someone about it. She is punished remorselessly for those revelations. I'm not sure that it's standard practice to beat the shit out of mental patients but it is enough for us to stay firmly on her side. As a continuity note, the TV Sarah also has visions of Kyle Reese (one must assume the actor Michael Biehn was busy or too old or too expensive to reprise his role for The Sarah Connor Chronicles). It's always a plus that John's relationship with the Terminator is expanded and all these scenes seem integral to making the movie emotionally more satisfying. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in this knight of steel armour, really found the golden key to the Hollywood lock. Let's face it, the Austrian oak is no thespian but like Keanu Reeves, you find the right role to suit what you bring to the part and presto. A cinematic icon. I cannot imagine anyone better as Arnie as the Terminator. Even his accent works for the character.

Anything new or additional with the T-1000 is welcome because he's such a great villain. And the hero of the piece, Dyson, played by the rather under-rated and under used Joe Morton, is always a welcome plus. Come on. He did lay his life down for an alterative future after a few minutes of explanation. His quiet and earnest heroics were not underlined enough in the theatrical version. I'm glad we got to spend more time with him.

post script: furthering the franchise

I've not been aware before of a single franchise rewriting its own history (alternate histories, granted) simultaneously on the big and small screen. OK. The new movie Terminator: Salvation opens in a few days and the TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, is currently off the air. Optimists would say mid-season. But it's still weird in terms of the integrity of the original premise that has grown weed-like into every narrative nook and cranny.

The TV series, by no means a shoe in for a third season later this year, is still a fascinating addition to the franchise. In fact while writing this, on the 18th May 2009, news just came in that there will be no third series. A shame. I was mildly interested upon finding out that the sinewy Summer Glau (a heroine to all us Browncoats in her role as River Tam in Firefly and Serenity) plays the good Terminator sent back to guard John Connor. There was something that I couldn't put my finger on that kept the show emotionally at a distance. But I kept watching and despite the rigorous adherence to TV ad break structure, it slowly worked a little magic and the intrigue and situation pulled me in. But I must say this. The Connor family, knowing what they know and the fact they can't tell anyone and have to live off the grid, endlessly pursued by almost indestructible killing machines, lives the most stressful lives of any characters on TV. I became exhausted watching the weekly beatings, gun shot wounds and all round worry that plagues these two while struggling to get from the first to the forty-third minute of a single episode. Also, its production values are sky net high. If it doesn't make another season I won't be surprised. This stuff is hugely expensive. That was written before I know what I know now. As I said, a shame.

Lena Heady and Thomas Dekker as mother and hunted son are top notch, one of the reasons it's so painful to watch their suffering and they could suffer professionally for their country. I yearn to see the pair of them in anything else, less stressful. House, maybe, with a curable disease of the week. Seriously, these two have an urgent need to smile. Doubt if early Eddie Izzard DVDs would solicit a laugh. The chief bad ass in T:TSCC is a pale skinned, red headed, Scottish Terminator, played by Shirley Manson (the lead singer of Garbage, in her first acting role). Her habit of concealing herself as a urinal is decidedly off-putting. Maybe the off-putting part is the fact that she mutates into her shapely self just before the guy downs zipper and stabs him to death. Talk about being in a vulnerable state. I find her lack of acting experience rather obvious as she tends to overplay the robotic killer but then again she's a killer robot. Despite my reservations, she's a startling visual presence on the show. It's so refreshing to see luminously pale skin rather than the tanned hue of starlets ordinaire.

So one Terminator dies as T2 comes out on Blu-Ray and another is let loose in cinemas worldwide but we still have the relative freshness of an early James Cameron sequel to keep us machine tooled.

sound and vision

OK, you've already got the original T2 DVD release, you also bought Momentum's 2-disc Ultimate Edition and you're happy with all the extras on that. So what could this new edition possibly have that would tempt you to buy another the film again? Take a wild guess.

For a start, the picture on this high-definition transfer looks utterly gorgeous, and I'm talking as close to pristine as you could hope for, with a fabulous level of detail, near perfect colour and contrast, unwaveringly solid black levels and hardly a trace of film grain. Oddly enough, the show-off scenes are not the effects but the daytime exteriors with John out on his bike, ripping off a cash machine and riding the storm drains – here the image quality is as good as I've yet seen on Blu-ray and is awe-inspiring in its richness and crispness of detail.

And then there's the sound. Now if you're looking to alarm the neighbours then the 6.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Lossless soundtrack here should do the trick, assuming your windows are still intact after the custom THX sound promo has done its eardrum-busting job. I haven't had the chance to try this through a full HD audio setup yet, but even redirected through a regular DTS amp this is dynamite stuff whose clarity, dynamic range, bass and punch – not to mention volume – are pretty much standard setters. The full sound stage is used with precision and purpose, the music and sound effects are excellent and the acoustics of locations (the hospital corridor is a good example) add considerably to the atmosphere. The thunderous wallop provided by the action effects – Arnie's shotgun, vehicle collisions, explosions – almost convinced me that someone had sneaked in overnight and upgraded my home cinema setup behind my back. A terrific job that really does demonstrate how different HD soundtracks can sound to their DVD equivalent if decently recorded and mixed.

Also included are an English Dolby 2.0 track designed to give a 5.1 surround feel with headphones (it doesn't, but it's still pretty good), a French 5.1 DTS-HD High Resolution soundtrack which has a similar wallop to the English track, a German 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Lossless track that has a lot less punch than the others, and a German Dolby 2.0 headphone track. The French track only covers the theatrical release scenes, with the Special Edition additions in English with French subs.

Also on the soundtrack options are a setup guide for a D-Box system, a big slab of technology that moves your chair around in synchronisation with the soundtrack and one I was unaware of until I selected it. There's also a THX optimizer for the precious few of you out there who have such a setup.

A special mention should go to the menus, which are designed throughout to make the whole disc look like it was put together by the Cyberdyne corporation, right down to disc accessing animations, menu selection bars, timeline displays and even the boxes that the interactive elements appear in.

extra features

As is the way with Blu-ray, all of the extras and the soundtrack controls can be accessed while the film is playing, appearing on a metallic bar at the top and dropping down in Cyberdyne computer fashion. The extras have been listed below by the headings they appear under on the disc.


SENSORY CONTROL

Production Commentary
Compiled from something like 26 interviews with cast and crew members and hosted by the film's creative supervisor Van Ling, this is a commentary that fans of the film should already be familiar with if they have Momentum's 2001 2-disc Ultimate Edition. This is not a problem, as it's a terrific accompaniment to the film and one well worth retaining, with pretty much every aspect of the production covered in considerable detail, including details of casting, the score, the locations, the stunt work, the actors' approach to their roles, how specific shots and effects were achieved and a ton of other stuff. This really is a thorough dissection of the film's construction and reveals almost all of its secrets, a nightmare for those who hate to see the illusion shattered, but a joy for anyone who revels in knowing how films are put together (you can include us in that). Where the commentary here scores over its DVD predecessor is that the name, role and a thumbnail picture of each contributor appears at the top right of screen when they are speaking, ensuring you never lose track of who is who. I really appreciated this, but it's worth noting that it only appears if you select the production commentary after you've started the film.

Writer/Director Commentary
Recorded in 2003, this commentary features James Cameron and friend and co-writer William Wisher and it's another cracker, loaded with detail on the making of the film and with a lot less crossover with the production commentary than you might expect. Unlike the above this is a screen-specific commentary with the two recorded together, resulting in a chat that's as enjoyable as it is informative, with the background info laced with plenty of interesting and sometimes amusing anecdotes. Cameron is also open about elements that didn't work out quite as he hoped – which include that dummy dragged behind the fleeing car – and is generous in his praise for the contribution of others, though does tend to interrupt Wisher a lot mid-sentence. Like the above commentary, I learned a LOT about the making of the film from this.


INTERACTIVE MODES

Here you have to select the mode you want and then activate it using an option at the top of the drop-down menu, which takes a few seconds to engage. Once you're in any of the interactive modes you can swap between them on the fly. Most of options can be run at the same time as at least one of the others, so that you can have the Trivia, Linked Data and Production overlays all running at once or the script and storyboards running side-by-side.

Visual Implants
This has been ported over from the Ultimate Edition and is essentially a making-of documentary broken up into chapters that cover specific aspects of the production. Instead of playing continuously as a series of short featurettes as they did on the DVD, the material has been re-edited here to appear in a pop-up box over the scenes they are relevant to. This acts like a visual commentary, complete with a range of revealing behind-the-scenes footage and the occasional opportunity to watch the filming of a sequence alongside its completed equivalent. Collectively the material doesn't run for anything like the length of the film and there are some big gaps between some of them – fortunately the facility has been provided to hop between the pieces at any time.

Trivia Data Overlay
A busy textual feature that has a lot of crossover with the commentaries, but also includes observations on the film and its connection with real world and media elements outside not directly related to the film. Occasionally the track steps outside of its allocated box to point things out on screen – cameo appearances are a favourite – with a big white arrow.

Production Data Overlay
Provides details on a shot-by-shot basis of locations and the technical aspects of how shots, effects and stunts, etc. were achieved.

Linked Data Modules
A pop-up that appears occasionally that if selected pauses the feature and plays a short snippet of relevant audio interview or storyboard sequence.

Source Code
Displays the screenplay in a box at the bottom left and keeps pace with the on-screen action. It does give you the chance to see where actors have varied from or added to the written word. Can be run alongside the storyboards.

Schematics
The original storyboards appear in a box at the bottom right and are cut to match the finished product. They are only available for some scenes or, in some cases, specific shots.

Query Mode
A trivia quiz based around the film that restarts the main feature from scratch if you access it when the film is running, then pauses at specific points to ask a question, offering four possible answers and giving you fifteen seconds to respond. Failure to do so in time is marked as a wrong answer. An on-screen score is kept and a countdown is provided of time remaining for each question. There are sometimes a few minutes between questions, but this is a long film and there are easily enough here to make for a great film geek drinking game, with questions ranging from who did what and what happens next to small details you may or may not have remembered from previous screenings. If you quit this mode part-way through, your current status is saved and you can pick up where you left off later. Needless to say, this is not one for newcomers, but great fun for fans.

Processor Tests
A series of mini-games that can be access at certain points in the film. These are pretty basic, ranging from slide puzzles to sequential number games and basic target shooting (i.e. press OK on the remote at the right moment). They're not always as easy as this implies, particularly as you're on a time limit and usually only have a few seconds to work out what you have to do.


ANCILLIARY DATA

There are a number of trailers, all in HD. The Teaser Trailer (1:17) is that assembling the Terminator one we all remember getting excited about before the film was released. Theatrical Trailer 1 (1:40) and Theatrical Trailer 2  (2:05) are more traditional extract-based sells with a dramatic voice-over by Trailer Voice Man. They do spoil the surprise about which side Arnie is on for newbies, though. T2SE Trailer (2:27) has a similarly pitched voice-over and sells the Special Edition on the footage you haven't seen. T2 THX Trailer (0:47) is a stand-alone version of the speaker-busting THX sound promo that appears at the front end of this version.

Terminated Data consists of two deleted scenes that will probably familiar to fans. T-1000's Search (1:27) is shot in drifting steadicam and follows the T1000 as it explores John's bedroom and locates his hidden photos. The scene can also be played with commentary by Robert Patrick, who is fond of the sequence, and James Cameron, who explains why it was removed. Future Coda (1:48) is the originally planned ending in which an older Sarah  muses on a world that wasn't destroyed after all and a son who now fights the war "on the battlefields of the senate." It's a pretty horrible misstep that was thankfully junked – switch the commentary on and effects and make-up wizard Stan Winston will tell you how glad he is that it's gone.

Finally there's Skynet Access, which on a BD Live Profile 2 Blu-ray player will allow you to download and view additional content. We are assured that the available list will be added to at a later date, but as I write it contains script extracts and storyboards for six deleted scenes, a picture gallery, more behind-the-scene video material, five Japanese trailers and access to the Terminator 2 BD-Live Community. Accessing the videos prompts a further download, so if you're running from a PS3 you might want to keep an eye on your free disc space.

There is one extra I couldn't access or decipher, assuming it exists. On the first drop-down menu you can select either the original Theatrical version or the Special Edition, but there is also a third option which we are assured has "Skynet Restricted Access" and requires you to enter an unlock code, something I'd be unable to do with the PS3 controller even if I knew what the hell the code was or what it was for.

summary

A small landmark for Blu-ray here as it's only available on that format and its interactive extra features simply could not work on a DVD, particularly on a film of this length where they'd be consigned to a second disc anyway. No question about it, Terminator 2: Judgment Day – Skynet Edition is a cracking release whose superb picture and sound is bolstered further by some excellent extra features and a winning attention to detail that runs through every aspect of the disc. It's also a fine commercial for the advantages offered by Blu-ray over standard DVD, and definitely one you'll be showing off to your non-HD friends to persuade them to jump on board. I'm certainly planning to run that trivia quiz at a birthday party in a couple of weeks and have no doubt it will go down a storm with the room full of half-drunk movie-buffs I'll be challenging. A really outstanding job that comes highly recommended.



* In the commentary Cameron reveals that it was his decision to cast Arnie as the good guy and that the star was openly disappointed when told that he wouldn't be killing anyone, asking hopefully, "Couldn't I just kill a few?"

** In another commentary reveal, Hamilton expresses some annoyance that on the film's release just about everyone talked about her physicality rather than her performance.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Skynet Edition

USA / France 1991
137 / 152 mins
director
James Cameron
starring
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Linda Hamilton
Edward Furlong
Robert Patrick
Earl Boen
Joe Morton
Jenette Goldstein
Xander Berkeley
S. Epatha Merkerson

Blu-ray details
region coding unspecified
video .
2.35:1
sound
6.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Lossless
DTS-HD High Resolution (French only)
7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Lossless (German only)
Dolby 2.0 vitual surround
languages
English
French
German
subtitles
English
French
German
Turkish
extras
Theatrical version or Special Edition option
Production commentary
Director/writer commentary
Interractive behind-the-scenes footage
Trivia overlay
Production info overlay
Audio interviews
Screenplay
Storyboards
Trivia quiz
Mini-games
Trailers
Deleted scenes
Downloadble content
distributor
Optimum
release date
1 June 2009
review posted
30 May 2009