Terminator, The (Blu-ray) (1984)

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Released 3-Oct-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Featurette-Making Of-Creating the Terminator: Visual Effects & Music
Featurette-Terminator: A Retrospective
Deleted Scenes-x 7
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 107:18
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2 Directed By James Cameron

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Linda Hamilton
Michael Biehn
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Brad Fiedel

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Thai Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Does anyone really need a plot summary of The Terminator, the 1984 film hit that rocketed the career of director James Cameron and star Arnold Schwarzenegger into the stratosphere? However, just in case: in 2029 after a nuclear war machines have taken control of the world and are hunting and killing the remaining humans. The leader of the human resistance is John Connor. A cyborg “terminator” (Schwarzenegger) is sent back to 1984 to find and kill Connor’s mother Sarah ( Linda Hamilton) before John can be conceived. The human resistance manage to send back a soldier, Reese (Michael Biehn), to try to protect her. The rest, as they say, is history.

     The Terminator, 25 years after release, remains consummate filmmaking with excellent special effects, music and script. Made in an era before CGI, the film uses models and stop motion puppetry, courtesy of the master Stan Winston, and is a film of iconic images that are just as effective today as in 1984 such as the endoskeleton of the Terminator walking out of the flames of the tanker. The Terminator Theme by Brad Fiedel is instantly recognisable, but the score is far more than that: electronic and percussion, its pulsating “heartbeats” add immeasurably to the escalating tension. While the logic of the plot like most time travel films can be questioned, the film gets right into the action and really does not allow any time for reflection while the script is full of dialogue that has entered popular culture such as: “it can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead” and, of course, the classic “I’ll be back”. As the relentless, remorseless killing machine Schwarzenegger is perfect casting, and if Michael Biehn’s character feels overshadowed, Linda Hamilton is wonderful as the initially vulnerable and sceptical young woman who ends up showing incredible strength and determination as she come to terms with her role in the future of humankind. It is Sarah, after all, who finally destroys the machine sent to terminate her.

     Since The Terminator James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger have gone on to bigger things, if not necessarily better. The Terminator remains an iconic cult film, wonderfully realised. How does the Blu-ray stack up?

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Transfer Quality


     The Terminator is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the original aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This was a film shot on a limited budget before CGI and digital manipulation, using instead front and rear projection, models and stop motion puppetry. As such the backgrounds can be soft, and that is especially noticeable in the sequence with the endoskeleton of the Terminator near the end. Blacks are generally good, and shadow detail better than it was on DVD; in fact I was able to see and identify things in the shadows I had never seen before and I have watched The Terminator many times. Detail in close-up is excellent, colours muted but natural, contrast and brightness consistent. There was minor ghosting with movement in front of busy backgrounds, such as wire, but it was very fleeting. Otherwise artefacts were absent.

     Subtitles are available in English for the hearing impaired, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Indonesian, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish and Thai.

     While not up to the standard of recent, digital based films on Blu-ray, The Terminator looks better than I have ever seen it.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio is an English DTS-HD MA 5.1, with as additional choices Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps, French DTS 5.1 at 768 Kbps, Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps and Thai Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps. So if you’d like to know how Arnie sounds in Thai, this is your chance.

     The Terminator due to budget restrictions was originally mixed in mono; the sound was remixed to 5.1 in 2001. What we have now on the Blu-ray is a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 that is loud and aggressive.

     Right from the start the flying HK is first heard in the rears before it comes into the shot, while the HK on the ground crunches through the skulls; lasers and explosions reverberate around the sound stage with the score pumping from all speakers. This intensity continues throughout the film.

     With all the action, and the score, dialogue is always clear and easy to understand. The surrounds were frequently utilised for the electronic score and action effects such as engines, gunfire and explosions, including panning effects during the “future war” and shootouts. The sub-woofer provided bass as appropriate for the score, HK engines, machines and explosions.

     The electronic score by Brad Fiedel is as recognisable as, say, the John Williams score for Jaws and is an integral part of the film, with the “heartbeats” and other music taking the part of Foley effects on a number of occasions. This is a fabulous score, and it is hard to imagine The Terminator without it.

    There were a couple of minor lip synchronisation errors but nothing distracting.

     This is a loud and aggressive audio track, but it is not unbalanced and perfectly suits the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     Nothing new here, and in fact many of the extras available on the previous DVD special edition are missing. All are in SD.

Creating The Terminator: Visual Effects & Music (12:58)

     Two sections: a look at the future war and tanker explosion models and how the sequences were created; the first features interviews with Gene Warren, Jr. (VFX Supervisor) and Joe Viskocil (Visual Effects Pyrotechnician) plus behind the scenes footage, the second a look at the score with interviews with James Cameron (Director), Gale Anne Hurd (Producer) and Brad Fiedel (Composer). Interesting and informative, I believe this is a section of the longer “Other Voices” featurette available on the DVD special edition.

Making of The Terminator: A Retrospective (20:30)

     Made in 1992, this consists of the film trailer, part of an interview with James Cameron recorded in 1986 and Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger sitting together and informally talking about making the movie, including the changes in casting, stunts and other things. Interesting.

Terminated Scenes

     The deleted scenes no longer have a single page of text describing why the scene was cut as was available on the DVD. There is also no play all option. The deleted scenes are:

     Available on the DVD but missing from the Blu-ray are:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The current US Region A Blu-ray uses the lesser MPEG-2 AVC code and has an LPCM 5.1 audio track, although a new transfer is due in February 2013. The Region B UK release is identical to our version. Buy local.


     The Terminator is a genuine cult classic and remains consummate, iconic filmmaking 25 years after its original release. It made a career for James Cameron and, together with Conan the Barbarian made a star of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

     On Blu-ray the film looks better than it ever has and the audio is spectacular. It may be light on for extras, and includes nothing new, but I think for fans of the film an upgrade is worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, December 24, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
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