Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Ultimate Edition (1991)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
THX Trailer-Liquid Metal
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Making Of-The Making Of Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Featurette-T2: More Than Meets The Eye
Featurette-The Making Of Terminator 2 3D: Breaking the Screen Barrier
Trailer-T2 Special Edition Trailer
|Year Of Production||1991|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||James Cameron|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
English dts 6.1 ES Matrix (768Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
What remains to be said about Terminator 2: Judgment Day? A landmark film in many ways, it defies the odds; a science-fiction film which hasn't dated with the passage of time, and one which remains eminently re-watchable even to this day, with no diminishing of its impact. Back when it was released in 1991, it was not just successful, it was a phenomenon, and it remains so to this day. It has innumerable memorable scenes, with most people able to nominate their favourite scene or scenes. Personally, I just love the impact of the initial exoskeleton's appearance, and the sublime use of George Thorogood's Bad To The Bone, but there are many, many more classic scenes to be found in this movie and many, many classic lines.
John: Jesus, you were going to kill that guy.
Terminator: Of course. I'm a Terminator.
The action scenes still stand up to close scrutiny today, as does the CGI work, an absolutely remarkable achievement given the fact that 12 years have elapsed since this movie was made. That's a long time in the world of CGI. This movie is the perfect example of special effects serving the story rather than the other way around, which is all-too-often the case in the current CGI-mad world of films.
Terminator 2 would have to be one of the titles that is always most eagerly awaited whenever a new consumer video format arrives on the scene, and it was no exception when DVD arrived.
Terminator 2 was first released on DVD in Region 4 in October 1999 as a bare-bones release. This release went out of print over a year ago in Region 4. An Ultimate Edition was released in Region 1 quite some time ago, and the most popular new release question we have received ever since that point in time has been "When is Region 4 going to get Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition"? Well, it isn't very long now before this release hits the streets...
The future painted by Terminator and Terminator 2 is a bleak one. Humans set up a defence system known as SkyNet, based around a neural net of learning computers. The problem is that the computers get too smart, however, and humans try to turn them off. Unfortunately, the computers fight back, with disastrous consequences: 3 billion people are killed in a nuclear holocaust, and only small pockets of human resistance remain, albeit very effective resistance. The resistance is lead by John Connor. In Terminator, SkyNet discovers time travel, and sends back an advanced killing machine, part human, part android (Arnold Schwarzenegger), to try to kill the mother of the leader of the resistance, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). The mission is unsuccessful, so SkyNet tries again in Terminator 2, this time sending an even more advanced Terminator back in time in an attempt to kill John Connor (Edward Furlong) himself as a child. However, the resistance has managed to reprogram an original Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and send him back in order to protect John Connor.
What happens next? To say any more would spoil the awesome impact of this movie, which truly needs to be experienced for yourself. Sit back in your most comfortable chair, turn up your amp to 11, and prepare to be blown away.
This particular version of Terminator 2 is the Special Edition, with several scenes added to the original (theatrical) cut. In general, these scenes flesh out some of the back story of Terminator 2, and on occasion offer us additional insight into the primary characters and their motivations. These extra scenes are listed below, and while all care has been taken to avoid spoilers, if you don't want to know about these scenes, just skip over to the Transfer Quality section of this review now.
Added scenes include:(SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read)
Do you want the short version of the transfer discussion, or the long one? The short version is: it's gorgeous pre-order it now you will not regret it.
The long version is: it's really gorgeous pre-order it now before they sell out. You will not regret it, especially if you like loud noises. Oh, you want more details?
This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced matching the theatrical aspect ratio.
This image is clear and sharp. You can't quite count the hairs on Linda Hamilton's forearms as she exercises in her cell, but it's close. Shadow detail is excellent; you can see creases in the black policeman's uniform Robert Patrick wears. Film grain is minimal in all but one scene, and utterly excusable in that scene it was clearly filmed at night, in low light. There is no low-level noise.
Colour is superb, although we don't get too many chances to appreciate it. The playground scene is vivid with bright, cheerful, fully-saturated colours (well, at the start...). There is no sign of a hint of a trace of over-saturation, or colour bleed, even on the occasional flame (or vat of liquid steel). A lot of the film has a blue cast to it, but that is deliberate, and an artefact of the original source material, not something introduced in the transfer.
I found a film artefact: there's a small white fleck low down at 19:03. There may be another one. They are very lonely, though, because they have no friends.
There's almost no aliasing. I was on the verge of saying that there was none, but I spotted a tiny bit it's not easy to see most of the usual suspects: grilles, cyclone mesh, and bars, are free of aliasing it can be done! There is no moire, and there are no MPEG artefacts.
There are subtitles in four languages, plus an additional English subtitle track which indicates who is speaking during the audio commentary. I watched the English subtitles all the way through, and they are very good. They use an attractive, fully-formed, font that's easy to read, and single lines are placed below the picture (double lines impinge on the picture, but that's unavoidable). They are close to word-for-word, and well-timed to the dialogue. I spotted a couple of minor errors in transcription, including one that made me laugh: "Primal cord is set" (106:51) instead of "Primer cord is set" primer cord is an explosive, I don't know what primal cord might be.
The disc is single-sided and dual layered. The layer change comes at 70:24, which is an excellent choice it's in the middle of a static image, so it's very difficult to spot.
The soundtrack is only presented in English, but you get plenty of choices. It's available in Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (with the EX flag set), and DTS-ES 6.1 Matrix. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is included so they were not required to tamper with the 5.1 soundtrack (when there's no 2.0 track they sometimes have to modify the 5.1 track so that it will down-mix to 2.0 adequately).
We listened to the dts es soundtrack first there are so few of these that it's nice to exercise the circuitry for a change. This is an impressive soundtrack. There's little in the way of extraneous surround information no forced-sounding ambience, no piping of the score into the rears so they sound used. The surrounds are inactive during the quiet parts of the film. But when the action starts, so do the surrounds. They have used the rears for all manner of directional sound, and to give you the feeling of being immersed in the mayhem it works very well indeed (duck when that bullet goes past!). If you have a rear centre channel, you'll find out what it is for.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtrack is almost indistinguishable from the dts es one. There might be the tiniest bit less definition to it (chiefly in the bass and LFE the Harley rumble isn't quite so distinctive), but I wouldn't guarantee that I would be able to tell them apart in a blind test. So if you don't have dts capability in your system, don't worry you can enjoy this just as much. Both the 5.1 / 6.1 soundtracks are fine examples of sound engineering, and that's a good effort.
The dialogue is clear and comprehensible it sounds pretty much like the original dialogue and doesn't seem to have changed significantly. There are no obvious audio sync issues.
I have always liked Brad Fiedel's score for this film. It is distinctive stuff, evoking memories even out of context. The inexorable theme for the T1000, the heavy percussive theme for the movie itself these are elements that stick in your memory. It sounds fabulous on this DVD. (Michael D: For me, the DTS-ES rendition of the soundtrack is the best I have ever heard it sound, with the music in particular sounding more defined, crisper and better imaged in the soundstage. The percussion sounds more angular, and the strings sound richer - I like it!)
I hope your subwoofer is up to the strain. It gets some gentle exercise early, with the Harley's distinctive sound, then builds up to some awesome blasts later on.
|Surround Channel Use|
This is a two disc set. The second disc is nothing but extras.
The menu is almost identical to the one on the Region 1 Ultimate Edition. If you haven't seen that, suffice it to say that it is themed very nicely to the content. All menus are 16x9 enhanced.
An unusual commentary, with a lot more participants than you would normally hear. Twenty six people (according to Van Ling who introduces them I didn't count them) provided content for this commentary. They include all the main actors (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, and even Joe Morton), writer / producer / director James Cameron, and many of the crew, plus some of the external contractors (mostly visual effects houses). The commentary is not exactly screen-specific, although many of the comments do relate to what's on-screen at the time. There's a considerable amount of information conveyed, and it's generally rather interesting. The fifth subtitle track is handy while you're watching the commentary. It shows, in the top right corner of the screen (above the picture), who's talking at any time a useful feature.
Audio and video set up sequences, the same as found on other THX approved DVDs.
Available with both Dolby Digital and DTS audio, this is a Terminator-themed version of the THX splash screen. This is a rarity indeed on DVD.
There is nothing particularly notable about this trailer.
Detailed biographies and filmographies for the principal cast and crew of Terminator 2. Most get around 10 pages of text, all well-written, informative and easy to read. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong and Robert Patrick all get detailed biographies, although the omission of any mention of The X-Files in Robert Patrick's biography points to these biographies being written quite some time ago.
Also given extensive coverage in this section of the DVD are James Cameron, William Wisher, Adam Greenberg and Brad Fiedel.
Two additional scenes are accessible as an Easter Egg on Disc 1; the T-1000 searching John Connor's bedroom and the Future Coda alternate (original) ending.
To access these scenes, highlight Play Special Edition on the Main Menu (the default selection) and press in sequence the numbers 8-2-9-9-7. This is Judgment Day in US format (29th August 1997). Some remotes may require you to hit Enter in between inputting the numbers. The words THE...FUTURE...IS...NOT...SET will appear on the right hand side of the menu in sequence if you are doing this correctly. Note that you need to press this sequence of numbers fairly rapidly - if you take longer than about 5 seconds per selection, you will revert back to the main menu.
Note that the Easter Egg screen does not have a Main Menu selection on it, and the only way back to the Main Menu is by using the Top Menu button on your DVD remote control.
Disc two opens with a prompt to select a subtitle stream (or none at all), and then proceeds to a nicely themed menu system, very similar to that found on Disc One, after an introductory sequence. All menus are 16x9 enhanced.
Made in 1991, this is a truly fabulous making-of featurette. Whilst superficially in the same format as the much more common 6 minute fluff pieces of today, this meaty 30 minute featurette goes into a superb level of detail, with many fascinating behind-the-scenes shots and interview snippets with a combination of cast and crew. Tremendous viewing, with some amusing highlights, such as the background noises at the 9 minute mark, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the make-up chair at 14:30 (check out the time on the clock behind him). It is also amusing to hear this featurette refer to Terminator 2 as "the conclusion of the Terminator saga". This featurette is presented at 1.33:1 with letterboxed snippets from the movie and Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound.
Made in 1993, this is a detailed look at the scenes that were deleted from the theatrical cut of the movie and reinstated into the Special Edition cut. WARNING: There are massive spoilers for all of these scenes in this featurette. You should watch the Special Edition cut of the movie BEFORE watching this featurette.
Lots of fascinating information is presented in regards to the deleted scenes, as well as most of them being shown in almost their entirety. Explanations as to why the scenes were deleted from the final cut of the movie are given, and all were understandably cut. A scene involving the T-1000 searching John Connor's bedroom is shown, as is the original ending. The movie's ending as it stands is FAR better than what was originally conceived in my opinion, but it was nonetheless a revelation to have seen the original ending.
A lot of time is spent discussing the gas station extended sequence involving the Terminator's CPU, including learning just how the effect was achieved (with some amazingly clever 'movie magic' - watch this featurette to find out more). The audio comes only from the right channel during part of this particular sequence (7:26-7:56 and 8:09-8:24).
This featurette is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and features Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.
I'll say up front that I was sceptical about the value of this featurette initially, especially when the clips from Terminator 2 had substitute music underscoring them rather than the original score, but I was gradually won over by the content once it got going. Clearly made for television as a 30 minute advertorial, it features the usual overly dramatic narrator and also has ad break points embedded. Presented at 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, this is worth watching once, but pales in comparison to the other two featurettes on this DVD.
This featurette is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and features Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.
This is the shooting script spread over 574 still frames. Normally, I would just skim over this extra, but I read through this in its entirety - an exercise that is well worth it. There are numerous differences between this script and both the Theatrical cut and the Special Edition cut of the movie, with some interesting improvements being made to the dialogue in the finished product. There is also an additionally scripted action sequence during the escape from Pascadero Hospital which makes for exciting reading, as well as additional expository dialogue for Dyson. The original ending is scripted here, and boy does it read badly! This movie would have been ruined by its inclusion.
In short - well worth the considerable time and effort to read, and presented in a font which is large enough to read easily.
17 storyboard sequences, with around 300-odd still frames (I lost count). There are a number of interesting tidbits in here, but I can't say that storyboard sequences are my favourite extra. The images are presented letterboxed at 2.35:1 in a 4x3 frame. Some of the storyboard images extend beyond the 2.35:1 letterboxing.
Of particular note is an additional sequence when the T1000 gets into the asylum explaining how his gun gets inside the high security section of the facility (this is also covered in the final shooting script extra).
Navigation through this supplement is a tad tedious, as there is often no way to return to the menu system - pressing Menu will return you to the Chapter menu for this feature, but you cannot then seem to navigate back to the disc's Main Menu. This necessitated several disc stops during the review sessions of this feature.
A bells 'n' whistles introduction to this supplement.
Still shots of the chapter menus.
Extensive discussion, mainly in still form, covering the difficulties in getting Terminator 2 off the ground and how tight the original deadlines were to get the project happening.
A combination of still frames and featurettes. There is some overlap with material in the main featurettes, but the content is generally unique. All items are presented at 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Note that the entire shooting script is also included here, and after this is extensive discussion and scripting of scenes that were abandoned without being photographed - ample reading reward for stepping through the entire script again.
A combination of still frames and some video footage discussing the plausibility of the "science" of Terminator 2. Hard going, but definitely worth the effort of reading through, as it makes you appreciate why the technology of Terminator 2, even though it is incredible by today's standards, is readily believable.Note: there seems to be a defect in the menus at this point. It starts with the chapter page showing chapters 6 to 10, but then a page comes up listing the trailers, although the selection patterns still correspond to the underlying chapter choices. It's almost as if the picture for the trailer choice menu got appended to the chapter 6 to 10 menu - most strange.
A combination of still pages and video segments, talking about designing the world of T2. Part of that design work was related not to the film, but rather to the trailers. This was the assembly line that manufactured replicas of big Arnie (now there's a scary thought!) - it didn't appear in the film, but Kenner turned it into a toy, anyway. A considerable amount of design went into elements that didn't appear in the film - some of them were too expensive, others were simply relegated as unnecessary to the story. The design sketches are rather interesting.
More still frames, and occasional video segments, explaining how essential storyboards are to a mammoth undertaking like this film, where a single frame may get contributions from several sources, all of which have to match. It's not surprising to learn that there were four storyboard artists employed, nor that a number of others (including James Cameron) also drew storyboards. There are lots and lots (yeah, I lost count) of storyboards here, quite a few of them illustrating shots that were never filmed, while others show scenes exactly as they appear in the finished film. To be honest, a few selected storyboards would have been enough for me this many is just massive overkill. Still, a film student might find them interesting...
Still frames of text, discussing the pre-production phase, when some of the big decisions get made, particular casting and costing.
Still frames and video talking about the issues of casting a movie like this. Discussing the difficulty of casting the role of John Connor, and the interesting requirements on the actor playing the T1000.
Still frames and video about the interesting aspects of scheduling and planning the film, with the added interest of them not knowing how to accomplish some of the shots James Cameron's script called for. The actual shooting of the film had to be planned in meticulous detail to accommodate all the variables involved. This chapter includes a reasonably detailed chronology of the shoot, from the start of principal photography on 9 October to the completion on 24 April.
The menus return to normal when we move on to chapters 11 to 15 (that's a relief!)
Still frames and photos explaining the issues of using locations as opposed to sets. Locations look more real, but can be a lot more expensive. There are before and after shots of a number of locations, showing how the Art department could never leave a location as it started...
Lots of still frames of text interspersed with photos and a video segment talking about the challenges involved in the sets of this film. Hard to think of something as big as the steel mill as a set, but that's how they treated it.
Still frames of text and photos, plus a video segment, talking about the rigorous training the principals went through, both physical training and weapons training. Arnold Schwarzenegger had the advantage here, already being more than normally fit, and having had extensive weapons training for his previous films. Interestingly, even Edward Furlong went through weapons training, despite the fact that he fires not a single shot during the movie they wanted him to look completely familiar with the weapons around him.
Still frames of text describing the process of principal photography it lifts a phrase that it claims describes police work (I've heard it applied to submarine warfare): hours of boredom punctuated with moments of sheer terror.
A lot of text frames and photos, with a considerable amount of information, plus a short video segment. There's a huge variety of objects that count as props, including such oddments as mental hospital escape paper clips (that's a special kind...), and flattened bullet suitable for extraction from a Terminator's torso.
This includes a fair bit of text, plus a video segment, discussing the recent changes in makeup from being mascara, powder, and hair-styling, through to being responsible for all manner of appliances and prosthetics used to create illusions. In this film there were some real challenges with both the Terminators. Frightening to hear that Arnie had to go through up to 5 hours of makeup preparation every day for 43 days, and then up to another hour after shooting wrapped each night just getting the stuff removed without taking his skin with it. It's also interesting to learn that they went to the trouble of making the stunt doubles look as much as possible like the principals, even to the extent of replicating Robert Patrick "distinctive" ears.
Still frames mixing text and photos, plus a couple of video clips, on the fine art of capturing the image onto a fragile chemical carrying strip of plastic called film. Cinematography is normally divided into lighting and camera, both overseen by Adam Greenberg, the Director of Photography (never put an E after DoP!). This film was shot in Super 35 (James Cameron's choice) they even had custom framing screens etched for the camera viewfinders. This means that they used spherical optics, not anamorphic, even though the intended aspect ratio was always 2.35:1. There were a lot of variables: James Cameron used a variety of film speeds (slowing some scenes down, speeding others up); Adam Greenberg used three different film stocks, and a variety of coloured gels.
A rapid-fire montage of various location shots, followed by a more serious discussion (in the form of still frames mixing text and photos) of some of the extra issues that arise on location security is a big one. We get to see the special id badges and clothing worn by the team. Some of the Tshirts are amusing.
Of course, the only thing more gruelling than working all hours shooting on location is working all hours shooting on a stage. This chapter contains a montage of the shooting of a variety of scene and process shots on various stages.
Several video clips, separated by still frames of text (and the occasional photograph), on the subject of the vast number of practical effects used in this film. A practical effect is one that happens on set, rather than one rendered on a computer. An awful lot of this film was practical effects...
A normal action film may use a few, even several, pistols. This one used hundreds of weapons of a wide variety of types and sizes. This section covers the weapons used, and the safety requirements, in a mix of a video clip and still frames of text.
There are many kinds of visual effects, with computer-generated imagery being only the most recent. This film used pretty much every kind available, including the invention of a couple of novel techniques. The text in this chapter introduces the subject that's covered in more detail in the following chapters.
One of the best-known firms in the industry, ILM had come through for Cameron on The Abyss, so he turned to them to make the T1000 happen. This section uses a lot of text and photo still frames, plus several video sequences, to tell the story. There are a great many pages here, including discussions of many of the shots, and early experiments in how things should look. Parts of this section make it sound as though James Cameron, through The Abyss and Terminator 2, was the instigator for much of what we regard as commonplace in CG filmmaking I don't know if that is true.
Once thought of as a makeup studio, Stan Winston is at pains to point out that his studio does whatever it takes to make an effect happen. That might mean makeup (although that term alone covers a plethora of techniques); it might mean puppets or robotics; it might mean CG work; often it meant a combination of techniques. Through a large number of still frames of text and photographs and a few video clips, this chapter looks at some of the shots in the film that used the work of Stan Winston Studio.
This company was responsible for many of the miniature effects, particularly the Future War section, and the tanker slide. Still frames of text and photos, intercut with video, are used to explain how they achieved the Future War effects. There's a sense of rueful irony when Gene Warren points out that no one notices the work they've done, and that's the measure of success. These guys also provided the electric effects of the time travel arrivals and the staking of the Terminator.
4-Ward created the nuclear blast in the nightmare, using a variety of techniques. This is described in still frames (yup, text and photos) interspersed with a few video clips. Some of the work was done in miniatures, some of it matte paintings, some of it computer generated, all of it composited onto 35mm film. These guys were also responsible for the steel pour shots, and the T1000 reassembly shots, amongst others.
The main task this group tackled was the wire removal necessary to allow the Terminator to jump a bike down into the flood control channel. Ordinarily wire removal is straightforward, but the wires in this case were serious steel cables, holding up a real Harley and stunt rider. They also made a couple of not-too-simple fixes. These all described in still frames, then shown as video, both before and after the work done by PDI.
Terminator vision! The team at Video Image built the Terminator's point of view shots referred to as TermoVision. This section includes, in addition to the usual text and video, detailed storyboards prepared by Van Ling using Mac graphics overlaid on the base plates already shot. Video Image were also responsible for all on-set video displays, including mocking up a variety of computer displays, even the ATM.
Although they are called Pacific Title, this group was responsible for all of the traditional "opticals" wipes, fades, dissolves, and optical compositing used in the film. They also did some of the simpler effects shots; the most complex one they tackled was the T1000 riding out of the window and grabbing the helicopter that shot is shown in before and after form as a video segment. A few of the photos are quite grainy, but they still convey the information desired.
Perhaps best known as rear-projection, this is when we see the foreground action shot in front of a previously-shot segment that is being projected. This technique is one of the oldest, but it survives today because it is effective. It doesn't hurt that it is faster and cheaper than blue-screen/green-screen work, and gives the actor better eye-lines.
Post-production, where all you have to do is cut away all the bits that shouldn't be in the film and you're left with the film right? Sounds simple. With a million feet of footage (really!), a fixed deadline, and a penalty of $1million per day overdue, this was a challenge.
To get T2 edited in time, they used three editing teams working simultaneously. James Cameron was dancing from one editing team to the next. In still frames of text mixed with video they tell the story of how this film got edited. There's an interesting sequence showing the dailies of the helicopter acquisition sequence, giving us an idea of the raw material the editors received; this is followed by the completed scene, complete with subtitles that point out when each fragment of the scene was shot quite educational.
Sound Design is the art of making the film sound like they recorded everything on set, while filming yeah, right! An awful lot of the dialogue has to be re-recorded, to make it intelligible (and to remove little nuances like assistant directors shouting in the background...). Sound design also encompasses foley work (what does a liquid metal creature sound like?). All this is covered in text and video sequences. There are some interesting demonstrations of this, complete with commentary by Gary Rydstrom they've used multiple audio channels to clarify this (gotta love DVD for that!). It's also interesting to learn that the sounds we heard for the weapons weren't authentic the Terminator shotgun was given the sound of a cannon, for example to increase the effect (and to give the subwoofer something to really chew on!). You'll be surprised to see where some of the sound effects came from.
A film without music? No way! The music in T2 drew on some of the themes of The Terminator, but added a lot of very creative stuff. We hear both from Brad Fiedel (composer) and from Alan Rosen (music editor) in video and text.
Once you've decided on which frames make up the film by cutting up the working print, you need to cut the original (and precious) negative footage to make up the master copy. That's a tedious task that must be done exactly right because you are working with the original. This section talks about that process in text format with a little bit of animation. It also discusses the colour timing process, and how they turn a Super35 negative into an anamorphic 35mm print for projection.
I think I've heard of this! This chapter starts by talking about video transfer to traditional 4x3 format, and talks of both pan&scan and letterbox presentation. It also illustrates how the Super35 master allowed a better transfer than would have been possible using an anamorphic master by opening the mattes and using extra frame above and below, the composition can more closely approximate that which was seen theatrically. (That said, I prefer the presentation on DVD of the original 2.35:1 composition, especially with 16x9 enhancement). There's an interesting demonstration of a sequence shown simultaneously in 2.35:1 and 1.33:1, side-by-side with the original Super35 frame an excellent illustration of the differences. They do cover, later in the section, the differences arising with the advent of DVD it's amusing to note that they hope pan&scan will disappear (they are far from alone in that...).
It's interesting to read that the impetus for the Special Edition came from two sources: the release of the shooting script in book form, plus the release of both Aliens and The Abyss in Special Edition form. James Cameron's describes the Special Edition as somewhat like the original conception from which the final form was made. It's interesting that they titled this chapter Restoration, despite the fact that they are at pains to point out that the original theatrical release was not "broken".
Another opportunity to see the two cut scenes: T1000 searching John's Room, and Future Coda, complete with one commentary for the first, and two commentaries for the second. They are surrounded by some text explaining why they were omitted from both the theatrical release and the Special Edition. There's some discussion of the complexities of filming the Future Coda, plus a big fat hint on how to trigger the Easter egg on Disc 1 (although the hint relates more to the R1 Ultimate Edition).
A rather honest and open description of why publicity is important for a blockbuster film like this. The text in this chapter forms an introduction to the chapters that follow.
They decided to run the marketing campaign in three phases, and to keep the idea that Schwarzenegger's Terminator was a good guy a secret as long as possible. Cool idea. I can remember some of the word of mouth from back then they succeeded, in great part. The text and photos in this chapter lay out a few of the challenges this strategy provided.
The text at the start of this chapter explains the ideas of teasers and trailers (glad they explained those terms...). This is followed by the complete storyboards for the teaser, and the teaser itself. So very cool I hadn't seen this for ages. Then a description of the design of the first trailer, and what they wanted to reveal and conceal about the movie it's interesting to watch the trailer, knowing that. The first trailer is followed by a description of the intent behind the final trailer, and then the trailer. It's kinda surprising that they wanted to blow the big surprise (Arnie's the good guy) in the trailer, but it was effective, so you can't really criticise the decision.
The print campaign for the film was as thoroughly thought through as the trailers, and this chapter shows all kinds of early work, photos taken for posters, and poster concepts. Some of the slogans are rather cute: "Guns don't kill people. Terminators do.", or "This time he's back, for good.". Even the ad in the trades announcing the start of principal photography (tagged "The shooting has begun") shows that wry humour. The posters and ads are shown one after another. There are even ads placed after the film had been showing a little while apparently it grossed over $100 million in the first two weeks (that's more than it cost to make, too).
This chapter explains what a press kit is for print media, and what an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) is for TV. It also discusses the "Making Of", which it terms a documentary (I think that's being a bit generous I think "advertorial" is a bit more accurate...). It's interesting to learn that the Making Of for Terminator 2 was created by Cameron's own Lightstorm Entertainment, using a team Cameron chose. They seemed to get a lot of cooperation from the director, for some reason... This chapter includes the complete "Making Of Terminator 2", but in its own Special Edition! The original 22 minute piece (pre-release version) was extended to 30 minutes (alright, 30:05, to be precise) after the film aired by adding some detailed coverage of special effects. This is well above average by the standards of "making of"s. Surprisingly, the layer change on this disc falls in the middle of this piece (at 14:53) it's quite obvious, because it interrupts James Cameron talking.
This includes more than product placement; it includes things like the special "T2" promotional cups that appeared in Subway while the film was in the cinemas. It also includes the gala premiere (covered by the entertainment programmes), and special appearances by cast members, even fan conventions. There was an interesting, and unexpected, cross-promotion Arnie carries his shotgun into the shopping mall in a box of roses, and this became part of a music video for Guns'n'Roses (kinda inevitable, when you think about it) the single even appeared in the movie (it's playing on the boom box as John leaves his foster-parents place).
Surprisingly for an action film (often decried by the critics), Terminator 2 received serious praise. The critics noticed that there was a lot more to the film than a bunch of impressive special effects (although it had no shortage of those...). It garnered all manner of awards, including four Oscars. This chapter talks about the reviews and awards in still frames of text and photos
It's no surprise today, the idea that you can get all manner of objects themed to the movie, but at the time this was the biggest merchandising campaign ever launched with an R-rated movie. Interestingly, considering the range of firearms in the film, both Cameron and Schwarzenegger insisted that there would be no licensed T2 gun toys. Lots and lots of photos of the kinds of merchandise you could have purchased back then. Perhaps the most disturbing is what looks like a mobile to hang over a baby's crib, bearing stuffed toys of Terminators looking grim.
This chapter talks about the marketing of T2 internationally, and about some of the marketing campaigns in non-English speaking countries. It's kind of amusing: the same images over and over, but with different words around them. There's a discussion of how the non-English speaking versions are made (dub or sub), and a note about how they translate such examples of erudite dialogue as "chill out, d***wad". This is followed by something I found amusing: a line of Terminator dialogue in six languages, in six voices.
T2 meets theme park! This chapter describes the evolution of the T2/3D attraction at Universal Studios. Unusually, James Cameron was directly involved in the development of the attraction, partly, one suspects because of his fascination with new technology, such as the bounds-stretching use of 3D involved. The entire (lengthy) process of creating this 3D movie is described in (lots of) text and photos. I was surprised to note considerable similarities between some of the scenes in this attraction and the menus on this DVD I rather doubt that that's an accident...
A note from James Cameron, talking about the genesis of the idea that became the first Terminator film, about the themes that spiral through the two films, and about the conclusion of the Terminator story at the end of the second film (nope, no mention of any third film...)
These start with the credits for the US Ultimate Edition, but also includes the credits for the UK version (with big thanks to Kinowelt and Momentum).
These are interviews and montages of behind-the-scenes material, much of which overlaps with other extras. I won't be going into detail on each of these. There's a lot of footage here, with most of it taken from a big chunk of 41:57 (the pieces which aren't taken from that big chunk have times against them. There are lots of entry points to the big chunk, resulting in a minute or so of footage for each of the bullets listed below. I wish there were a way of playing all these snippets one after another - you get tired of pressing the buttons...
Note that all of these video snippets are taken from the massive 50 chapter Data Core if you've waded through all of that, you've seen all of these. This is a much faster way to see the moving bits, though. Useful if you want to show a particular segment to a significant other (probably the one who asked why you needed to buy this...).
This is another (faster) way to see the trailers. The menu will be familiar if you went through the Data Core it appears (erroneously) over the menu for chapters 6 to 10. The Data Core shows the first three trailers, but not the last one, because the Core is talking about history, the trailers released at the time the movie was heading into the cinemas.
You may have heard of Schwarzenegger referred to as a body builder here's how...
A great trailer, introducing the idea of two terminators one on each side.
The trailer that gives away the big secret that the Schwarzenegger Terminator is now the good guy.
A different trailer, one emphasising the extra segments that make up the Special Edition. It even continues the wry humour that distinguished all the trailers (you'll see).
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Michael D says...
The 3 versions of Terminator 2 compared to date are the original Region 4 Theatrical Cut release, the Region 1 Ultimate Edition release and the Region 4 Ultimate Edition release. It is our aim to also compare the original Region 1 release and the Region 1 Extreme Edition release before finalizing this section of the review.
We chose two specific scenes from Terminator 2 for comparison across versions; the opening scene in the bar with the Terminator acquiring a motorbike, and the helicopter sequence from the point at which the T-1000 gets into the helicopter until the helicopter sequence finishes. These equate with Chapters 5 and 64 of the Ultimate Edition. These scenes were chosen as reasonable samples of the movie which could demonstrate the performance of the transfer in both high key lighting and low key lighting; with vibrant colours and with muted colours; and with high motion versus low motion. We compared these sequences multiple times, with both Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks engaged.
It is important to note that we had to look extremely hard to pick the differences between these transfers, and that is on very revealing equipment. On more modest equipment, I suspect that any differences between these transfers would be negligible.
Region 4 Theatrical Version
This is the brightest of the three transfers examined to date. The bar sequence is brighter and more colourful, and the helicopter sequence is also brighter. On the surface, this would lead to a preference for this transfer, but closer examination shows it to be less detailed and more compressed than the other two versions examined to date. In particular, posterization of a grainy black sequence during the helicopter chase differentiates this transfer from the other two.
Audio is indistinguishable between versions. 'Pitch correction' has been applied to this audio transfer, and it has been done well - I detected none of the tell-tale artefacts of this process.
Region 1 Ultimate Edition
The Region 1 Ultimate Edition transfer is very sharp, but also harsh as a result of some mild edge enhancement that has been applied. Grain is accentuated, and there is occasional ringing around objects. My initial impression of this transfer was that it was sharper than the Region 4 Ultimate Edition transfer, but no additional fine detail is discernable in the image. It is also slightly more jerky in appearance than the Region 4 Ultimate Edition transfer, despite the deinterlacing provided by our review equipment setup. This is most likely due to the fact that this transfer is effectively playing back at 24 frames per second versus 25 frames per second for the PAL versions.
Audio is indistinguishable between versions.
Region 4 Ultimate Edition
This transfer appears softer, smoother and more film-like when compared to the Region 1 Ultimate Edition transfer. The softness of the image is because no edge enhancement has been applied to this transfer, so edges are smoother rather than in the Region 1 Ultimate Edition transfer. Fine detail, on close inspection, is identical between the two Ultimate Editions - the edge enhancement is artificially providing the impression of additional detail in the image. Grain is well controlled in this transfer, far more so than in the R1 Ultimate Edition, and motion is smoother. All-in-all, this is the easiest of the three transfers to watch.
Audio is indistinguishable between versions. 'Pitch correction' has been applied to this audio transfer, and it has been done well - I detected none of the tell-tale artefacts of this process.
Overall (To Date)
There is little to differentiate between these three versions - all are superb transfers. The Region 4 Ultimate Edition is marginally better visually than the other two versions examined, but the great majority of viewers would be quite happy with any of these transfers.
Tony R says...
This is interesting. I came to this with some preconceptions, and some things I'd wanted to check. I've read, as it's hard not to, some nasty comments about edge enhancement on the Region 1 Ultimate Edition, and some less-than-complimentary comments about the original Region 4 disc.
What do I think? Well, for a start, I was surprised at how little was really wrong with these discs. Even the original Region 4 is a rather good transfer. It's a bit over-compressed in places, resulting in reduced resolution (and posterization) in the background (you can see this in the night sky during the helicopter chase). Even so, this disc rates better than quite a few discs I've seen recently.
The Region 1 Ultimate Edition and the Region 4 Ultimate Edition may well have originated from the same hi-def transfer there's a small artefact in the same place on both that leads to that conclusion. However, they've clearly taken different paths after that shared transfer.
The Region 1 Ultimate Edition disc does show signs of edge enhancement, but it's minor. So minor, in fact, that Michael and I didn't agree on it until we compared it to the Region 4 Ultimate Edition (and, for that matter, to the original R4) when there's a dark edge around a face on the R1 and not on the R4, that's probably edge enhancement. It's not as bad as you may have heard, at least on my system, but it is visible. I suspect it would look much worse on any system that had the sharpness turned up. Such a system would love the Region 4 Ultimate Edition disc it's utterly free of visible edge enhancement.
There's another area where the Region 1 Ultimate Edition yields to the Region 4 Ultimate Edition, and that's apparent grain. For example, big Arnie's bare legs, as he strides up to the biker lying on the floor, show noticeable grain on the Region 1 DVD, and somewhat less so on the Region 4 DVD I'm surprised to see this on two versions of what appears to be the same transfer. There are other examples, too, such as apparent low-level noise / film grain on the night sky on the R1, but not on the R4. That particular scene is also one that tripped up the original R4.
I wonder if this is due to the seamless branching that's present on the R1, but not on the R4? Maybe it required a bit more compression of the R1, resulting in the reduced quality? Or maybe this is a more-obvious-than-usual example of the difference in resolution between NTSC and PAL?
Do keep in mind that all three versions of this disc are rather good, and the differences I'm talking about are fairly small. Honestly, you could watch them on a regular TV, and be hard-pressed to see a difference.
However, for the record, my opinion is that the Region 4 Ultimate Edition takes the visual quality award by a head from the original Region 4, which just barely pips the Region 1 Ultimate Edition (close to a dead heat between these two). For audio quality, however, the original R4 is left noticeably behind the two Ultimate Edition discs. I cannot pick the Ultimate Editions apart on audio call that one a dead heat.
If anything, these comparison images should serve to show how little difference there is between versions compared to date. The thumbnails are compressed JPG images, merely to orient you to where the image has been taken from. The zoomed images are uncompressed, and are designed to highlight the very subtle differences between the respective images. Often the differences we refer to are subtle impressions, and not easy to discern except when the image is blown up on a high definition projector, as was used for this review and the comparisons.
R1 Ultimate Edition (6:49)
R4 Theatrical Version (6:47)
R4 Ultimate Edition (6:31)
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Appears sharper, but closer inspection does not bear this out.
Lowest in sharpness.
R1 Ultimate Edition (8:54)
R4 Theatrical Version (8:47)
R4 Ultimate Edition (8:32)
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In motion, there is more grain on this surface in comparison to the other two versions.
R1 Ultimate Edition (121:54)
R4 Theatrical Version (102:35)
R4 Ultimate Edition (117:09)
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There is a suggestion of a black line separating the facial features from the blue background.
A soft transition between facial features and blue background.
A sharp transition between facial features and blue background, with no hint of a black separating line.
R1 Ultimate Edition (122:41)
R4 Theatrical Version (103:20)
R4 Ultimate Edition (117:55)
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Not apparent in this screen shot, but the R4 Theatrical Version posterizes in the upper left quadrant of this image when viewed on a projector.
more to come...
One of the top films for demonstrating your home theatre's crash-bang-thud. It also happens to be a fine action film. It was an unsurprising choice for the first Ultimate Edition in Region 1, and there's no lack of demand for the R4 Ultimate Edition. Fortunately, this is one release which does not disappoint.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is excellent.
The extras are extensive.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|