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Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The Ultimate Edition DVD

review by Zach B.



Rated R/Unrated

Studio: Artisan

Running Time: Theatrical: 134 Minutes, Special Edition: 156 Minutes

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick

Written by James Cameron and William Wisher

Directed by James Cameron

Retail Price: $34.99

Features: Theatrical Release, Special Edition Release, Special Edition With Alternate Ending, Audio Commentary with 26 Cast and Crew members, THX Test Signal Package, Cast and Crew Bios and Filmographies, The Making Of T2, T2:More Than Meets The Eye, The Making Of T2: 3-D: Breaking The Screen Barrier, MCA/Universal Studios Promo Spot featuring T2: 3-D, Theatrical Trailers, International Trailers, T2 Screenplay, Storyboards, T2:3-D Cinefex Article, Ultimate T2 DVD Supplement, 32 Page Booklet, DVD-ROM: Screenplay, Storyboards, Weblink

Specs: 2.35:1 Widescreen Anamorphic, Dolby Digital 5.1 EX English, DTS 5.1 ES English, Dolby Surround 2.0 English, English Subtitles, Chapter Search, One DVD-18 or Two DVD-9s

I remember the summer of 1991 perfectly... and "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" was the big, hyped movie of that summer. It went on to gross a ton of money at the box office, as well as creating a huge merchandising blitz of video games, toys, shirts, a fan club and loads more. It would also go on to truly establish James Cameron as a big time director.

The sequel to the 1984 favorite "The Terminator" is really quite simple. Arnold is the Terminator, a time traveling robot who teams up with Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton), a woman paranoid about the future to protect her son, John Conner (Edward Furlong), the leader of the future rebellion from the liquid metal T-1000 (Robert Patrick).

In my opinion, "T2" is one of those sequels which can actually live up to the original. Yes, like most Cameron films the dialogue is incredibly hollow and ridiculous (though it is not as bad as "Titanic"), but I found the story really intriguing as well as entertaining. The movie is just plain fun. Character development is pretty good, and of course, the stunts and special effects will make jaws drop. You can tell Cameron directed this film with a true vision and passion, and he did an amazing job.

This DVD release has been incredibly anticipated, most likely due to the large number of supplements included on the DVD, three different versions of the movie, a DTS and Dolby Digital track and some great anamorphic video.

Perfect. Presented in anamorphic widescreen of 2.35:1, T2 has some amazing picture. I did encounter some softness now and then, but I am letting it slide because it wasn't that often and this movie is pretty much refrence quality. Black levels are dead on, as well as the color hues. I didn't notice any artifacting or grain. The picture is mostly sharp and detail is incredible. In all, the result is sure to impress anyone who watches it.

Despite the supplements, there is no doubt the audio is something which has a major impact on this disc and makes it really worthwile. For all three cuts of the movie, you have your choice of a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX mix, a DTS 5.1 ES mix and a Dolby Surround 2.0 mix.

First off, the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX packs quite a punch. Dialogue is crystal clear, as well as all of the roaring sounds. Motorcycles blazing off, guns firing off, explosions... it's all really nice. Surrounds are pretty frequent, and the music sounds great using the channels to the fullest. Truly a reference quality track, which should set a standard for all DVD mixes.

The DTS 5.1 ES is even better (or at least I think so). The sound is a bit more loud and a lot more intense. My eardrums were a little blown and overwhelmed by it, but I was really overpowered in the DTS and felt like I was in the theater watching the movie. Directional fields bouncing back and forth make it all full force, with the .1 LFE just booming. The sound has a lot more power in it and is better than the already perfect Dolby Digital track.

A Dolby Surround 2.0 track is also included, which sounds really nice despite the limitations.

This isn't the "Ultimate Edition DVD" for nothing! While most of the stuff is ported from the special edition laserdisc a few years back, the stuff from that laserdisc is excellent (and now you can get it all for a much more reasonable price) and there is some really cool new supplements as well.

First things first, this DVD contains not one, not two, but three different versions of the film. The first is the original theatrical cut, the second is the special edition extended cut released on video a few years back, and the third is the special edition with an alternate ending. I find the option of having three different versions of the film excellent, and it's sure to please everyone. The special edition has some nice, extended scenes to develop the characters and plot a little bit more. Like most of the things on the disc, it makes a lot of it more worthwhile. However, the third version is hidden, and you have to enter a certain code (hint: it's a day in the movie) or jump right to title 3. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great there are three versions, but I don't think for the third you should have to find it, because it is a pretty important feature on the disc.

T2 also features an Audio Commentary with 26 Cast and Crew Members. The participants range from the actors, design wizards to Cameron himself. A lot of insight is given into this track, and after listening to it, you'll know everything about Terminator 2. There's even a subtitle track where it lists who is talking. The commentary track is also edited for each version you watch.

There's some nice featurettes/documentaries on T2. First up is The Making Of T2, which is a featurette showing the creation of the movie, complete with some pretty interesting interviews. Next up is T2: More Than Meets The Eye which shows the scenes that were cut from the theatrical edition and put back into the special edition, as well as showing why they were cut out from the theatrical version.

New to the DVD is some stuff on the Terminator 2 ride at Universal Studios. The Making Of T2: 3-D: Breaking The Screen Barrier gives a comprehensive look at the ride, which uses film footage and live performances. A TV Spot for Universal Studios promoting the ride is included, as well as a Cinefex Article by Estelle Shay on the ride, which is a good, insightful read.

As far as promo materials go, there are some Theatrical Trailers which bring back some nostalgic memories, plus International Trailers for the film, which are basically from Japan.

You can read the entire T2 Screenplay, page by page on your player (no DVD-ROM required) plus 700+ Storyboards (don't need DVD-ROM for that either). Yet they are on DVD-ROM itself, where you can watch the movie while looking at the boards and screenplay. There is also a Weblink.

Probably the best feature on the disc, hands down is the Ultimate T2 DVD Supplement. This will take you a really, really long time to go through and covers every little detail of the film. It's really exhausting. It just shows you how much effort goes into something like T2, and how every little thing counts. There are features on design, location scouting, development, the special effects and design studios, the video transfer, the T2:3D ride, marketing, make-up, post production, just everything. My personal favorite is the merchandise catalog, where every piece of merchandise made for the film can be viewed.

Finally, rounding out the disc is a neat THX Test Signal Package to adjust your home theater system and TV, as well as Cast and Crew Bios and Filmographies plus a really good 32 Page Booklet outling the making of the film and the DVD contents.

You probably heard the DVD-18 resources ran low with the disc, and to meet demand Artisan also put the disc on two DVD-9s. So depending on your preference, check out the packaging and make sure you get the kind you want! Also, the packaging is pretty neat, complete with this nice metallic slip case.

"Terminator 2: Judgment Day" is, in a sense, a cinematic achievement. It introduced Hollywood to a large array of special effects ("morphing") as well as incredible stunts and makeup, and showed what a good movie is about: pure entertainment.

This DVD release will not disappoint anyone at all. The video and sound will blow you away, and the array of supplements will take you awhile to get through. Considering Disney has released featureless DVDs for a $39.99 pricepoint, this package is truly one of the best DVD releases ever. Go out and get it!

(4/5, NOT included in final score)




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