Terminator 2

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Details At A Glance

Category Action Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - Teaser
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1991 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 131:17 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (62:18)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director James Cameron

Columbia Tristar
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Linda Hamilton
Edward Furlong
Robert Patrick
Case Transparent
RRP $34.95 Music Brad Fiedel

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG 2.0 
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
English (MPEG 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles French
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

A Few Opening Words

   Terminator 2 was initially slated for a Region 4 release in July 1999. Just before it came out, it was mysteriously delayed. Initially this delay was to be only a week or two, but then we got word that it was indefinitely delayed. Various stories of why the disc was not released surfaced, many revolving around layer change issues.

    We got word that the initial batch of discs, which had already been replicated, were to be destroyed because of quality control concerns. Inevitably, this begged the question of just what was wrong with the disc.

    Through the kindness of <name deleted>, I was loaned a copy of the disc from the pressing that was supposedly completely destroyed, and put it through our usual detailed review process. You can read my complete review of the rejected disc here. The conclusion that I came to was that the disc was generally good, but was not up to the standard that I would have expected from Columbia Tristar for such an important release.

    Accordingly, I was extremely interested when the official Terminator 2 Region 4 DVD arrived today, to see if the quality issues that affected the rejected disc had been addressed. So without further ado, here is my review of Terminator 2, Region 4. I have included comparisons with the rejected version of this disc for your edification.

Plot Synopsis

    What can I say about Terminator 2 that hasn't been said before? This is a landmark movie in the history of filmmaking, with hitherto unseen special effects and a landmark storyline. James Cameron has a history of pushing the filmmaking envelope, and Terminator 2 was no exception to this rule.

    For those of you that are unfamiliar with the storyline, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a Terminator. In the original Terminator, he was sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) before she gives birth to her son, John. Arnie failed in his mission and has now been reprogrammed to protect John Connor (Edward Furlong) from a more advanced Terminator (Robert Patrick) in this second outing.

    The special effects are second-to-none and still hold up today, some eight years after the film was made. This is a remarkable achievement in computer imagery, which leaps ahead in quality faster and faster as time passes. Many films only two or three years old now look very dated in their visual effects, but not Terminator 2.

Transfer Quality


    This disc was not authored by the Sony DVCC, but rather by Columbia Tristar France. It has many characteristics that are typical of Columbia Tristar discs mastered in France, particularly in the layout of the menus. The remaster of this disc was also done by Columbia Tristar in France, with quality control suggestions from the Sony DVCC.

    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is extremely sharp and extremely clear. This aspect of the transfer is far superior to the rejected disc, which suffered somewhat from variable image clarity. Shadow detail is excellent and there is no low level noise. In short, every problematic scene from the rejected version of this disc has been addressed and rectified. This movie has clearly been recompressed, and the improvement in image quality over the previous version is startling. This current image is almost of reference quality, just barely falling short.

    The colours were well rendered and clear, with no evidence of the slight over-brightening that troubled the rejected disc.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. No film-to-video artefacts were seen, other than some trivial aliasing on the grille of the truck that the T-1000 drives early on in the movie. A few film artefacts were present in the image, but far less than I noted with the rejected version of this disc. Once again, this aspect of the transfer is significantly improved over the original disc.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change at 62:18, between Chapters 13 and 14. It is unobtrusive and well-placed.

    French subtitles default to on, which is a minor annoyance with this DVD.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD - French MPEG 2.0 surround-encoded, English Dolby Digital 5.1, and English MPEG 2.0 surround-encoded. The default soundtrack on a Pioneer DV-525 player was the French soundtrack. On the Toshiba 2109 which I used for the bulk of this review, the English 5.1 soundtrack was the default soundtrack.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to follow at all times.

    Audio sync was problematic on a Pioneer DV-525, but there was no problem in this area with the Toshiba 2109.

    The landmark score by Brad Fiedel is remarkable and unusual, frequently heavily reliant on percussion and percussive effects to create the appropriate atmosphere. It is an integral part of the overall experience of this movie, and superbly suits the on-screen action at all times. This is a truly remarkable score.

    The surround channels were used heavily by this movie, with frequent and precise placement of sounds within the soundfield. This soundtrack has been remixed from the original 2.0 matrix surround mix. I have listened to two versions of this 5.1 remix - the Region 1 version and the Region 4 rejected version - before listening to this version. Until now, I had always preferred the matrix mix of this movie to the discrete mix. The discrete mix, whilst having more precise sound placement, had always seemed very thin and anaemic-sounding. This version of the 5.1 mix is far superior to any of the other 5.1 mixes of this movie. Once again, sound placement within the soundfield is precise and well-defined, but in contrast to the other remixes of this movie, this version sounds rich and full, with a strong and clear bass presence throughout, other than one or two small sections where bass was a little lacking.

    The .1 channel was well utilized for the entire movie, frequently adding kick to the on-screen action. Unlike previous 5.1 mixes, this .1 channel sounds full-blooded and aggressive from the very start of the movie rather than weak to start off with.


    This disc has a very limited selection of extras.

Menu - 16:9

Trailer - 4:3 16x9 enhanced (windowboxed), DD 2.0 mono

    This is actually the teaser trailer rather than the theatrical trailer - no actual footage from the movie is shown at all.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     There is a dramatic difference in the audio quality between the Region 1 and the Region 4 version of this DVD, with the Region 4 version having the far superior 5.1 mix as compared with the Region 1 version. I would not normally recommend one version over a disc over the other for this point alone, but there is such a significant difference between these soundtracks that I am going to recommend the Region 4 version of this DVD as the superior version at this point in time.
[Addendum 1st September 2000: A new "Ultimate Edition" has been released in Region 1 which is now the version of choice.]


    Terminator 2 is an all-time classic.

    The video quality is superb.

    The audio quality is superb.

    The extras are limited.

Concluding Remarks

     I congratulate Columbia Tristar on having the integrity to reject the inferior version of this movie and to give us the quality that we deserve in Region 4.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
25th November 1999
Amended 1st September 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer