The Movie: Terminator 2: Judgement Day, almost 10 years after it's original theatrical release is still as captivating as I remember it and enjoyable to watch from start to finish. Terminator 2 is just one of those movies that no matter how many times you've seen it, even though you know the ending and all of the lines, it's still a great movie to just sit back and watch with a bucket full of popcorn. T2 is a classic 90's action movie with plenty of explosions, guns, and blood...er, metallic liquid.
The Picture: The picture is almost flawless - I only noticed one slight problem with a bit of pixelization during the title scenes in the black area. Other than that slight problem, the print is in extremely good condition. Digitally mastered, T2 looks perfect. The colors are bright and vivid while the blacks are equally strong. If you haven't adjusted your picture settings in a while, make sure to make use of the THX setting mode and fine tune your TV to work perfectly with this DVD and every other one. The anamorphic presentation of this classic movie is almost perfect.
The Sound: Dolby Digial 5.1 Surround EX: The EX is an all new Dolby Surround option that features an additional rear center speaker to further enhance your listening pleasure. Unfortunately, I don't have a Dolby 5.1 EX capable receiver (yet) so I couldn't test the effectiveness of this new audio option. Even without the EX capabilities, the Dolby 5.1 surround is well utilized. There have been some complaints about the LFE, but I found the surround and the bass to be used prominently at all the right places. The sound levels are all transferred extremely well - there is no need to adjust your volume at any time during this movie.
DTS 5.1 ES: The DTS 5.1 ES is available to all of you who have a nice DTS receiver. I'm saving up right now to get one, so I can't compare the DTS to the Dolby, but I'm sure it's quite nice.
Dolby Surround 2.0: The standard Dolby Surround 2.0 for those unfortunate souls without a surround system. The Dolby 2.0 utilizes just a regular TV's left and right speakers to try and imitate full 5.1 surround. The sound is not bad, but it's just not the same as surround.
The Extras: The Menus: Right from the opening, you can tell this disc is going to be awesome. The first menu is presented to you after a fly-by starting with a Cyberdyne logo and then the fly-by features some of the visuals from T2. The first menu you are presented with has 3 options (wait a while to see the T-1000 come out of the menu):
Information Programs - contains 3 different options:
The Making of Terminator 2: Judgement Day - 30 minute documentary on the making of the feature film. It opens with a scene from the movie with a voice-over introducing us to a new kind of villain. The documentary then goes on to feature some behind-the-scenes footage along with an interview with Arnold talking about his favorite line from the series, "I'll be back." Also interviewed are director James Cameron, Linda Hamilton, makeup designer Stan Winston, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, ILM technician Dennis Muren, and ILM computer effects technician Steve Williams. There's surprisingly a lot of behind the scenes footage which is a great bonus for this movie. With movies nowadays being filmed with a DVD production already in progress behind the scenes, it's great to see all of the backstage footage from 10 years ago. Also included are some storyboards mapping out the awesome vehicular stunts and how these stunts were performed and filmed. Also covered is the make-up preparation and application. The look at the making of the futuristic war is especially interesting as it shows how they utilized different models and animatronics to simulate the wars, the nuclear holocaust, and the indestructable nature of the terminator. Also profiled are the effects used to create the T-1000 and it's morphing nature through ILM and other effects studios. They talk about computer generated effects as they were very new at the time 10 years ago and it's interesting to see how rudimentary effects were 10 years ago. At the end of the documentary, they call T2 - the conclusion of the Terminator saga - interesting now that T3 is in the works.
T2: More than Meets the Eye - 22 minute special discussion, omitted scenes, and the special edition. This Showtime presentation features different parts of the interviews included in the 30 minute documentary along with some new interviews with Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Joe Morton, and Stan Winston. The discussion features the cast and crew talking about omitted scenes that were taken out because of the length of the movie. The first omitted scene features the T-1000 searching John Connor's room which was omitted because the point was made later in the movie. The second scene omitted is Sarah's first dream sequence which was put in to make a direct link to the first film and closes up some questions left open. The scene was left out because they thought that it would make Sarah seem weaker as if she needed motivation to become the strong-willed person she becomes. Another deleted scene features Sarah removing bullets from the Terminator as he interacts with John Connor. The scene was changed to remove a scene in which the Terminator has his CPU removed which showed how easily the Terminator could be reduced to a pile of metal and plastic - it also shows John as he takes a leadership position and the leader that he will become (hint: T3). The scene was removed because his personality change could be represented easier and in less time. Because of this scene removal, later scenes had to be altered and these are shown next. The final cut scene is the original ending - commentated by James Cameron, we see that the future is changeable. This was left out because it would cause a duality which Cameron thought would be best left out with just the eternal battle of good vs. evil left in.
The Making of Terminator 2 3D: Breaking the Screen Barrier - 23 minute featurette on the creation of the MCA/Universal Studios 3D theme park attraction. Once again, it seems as if this is a made-for-TV special (hence the 23 minutes - 7 for commercials) with interviews with Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron, Stan Winston, and others from different effects studios. They discuss the making of the 3D attraction along with the basics of the Terminator movies. Included in the featurette are sketchings of the theater created just for T2:3D and a discussion of the story created to bridge between T2 and T3. They also show behind-the-scenes footage dealing with the creation of the 3D special effects and everything else required to make the 3D movie go along without a hitch.
Visual Campaigns - Teasers and Trailers - consists of 9 different options:
Teaser Trailer - Building the perfect Arnold. The teaser isn't in perfect condition after almost 10 years, but it's pretty cool to look back and see the teaser being shown in theaters and think how awesome the special effects were back then. "Building the perfect Arnold" features the creation and molding of the Terminator for this particular teaser.
Theatrical Trailer - This time there and two. The second teaser features a more in depth trailer with the basic story-line revealed. Here we see for the first time the T-1000, the opposition to the Terminator - "One programmed to destroy, the other programmed to protect."
Theatrical Trailer - Same make, new mission. Somewhat similar to the first theatrical trailer, this one primarily focuses on the Terminator (same make) and John Connor who needs to be saved from the T-1000 (new mission). "Once he was programmed to destroy the future, now his mission is to protect it."
T2 Special Edition Trailer - More than meets the eye. This trailer basically focuses on the scenes cut from the original edition of T2 that are now included in T2. It features the deleted scenes that can be seen in the 22 minute special discussion included in the previous specials menu.
Japanese Teasers A & B, Japanese Trailers A, B, and C: Basically the same as the U.S. teasers and trailers, these are subtitled in Japanese with a Japanese narrator - except for the ever-recognizeable: "I'll be back."
Data Hub - Disc Supplement - consists of a sub menu featuring 4 more options:
Source Code - Script. Containing 574 still frames, the whole shooting script is included on the disc. It can be read by utilizing the left and right arrow keys. The background is that of a burning playground which makes the text (white) a little hard to read at times. The background changes ever-so-slightly from frame to frame, but it's hard to tell if it ever changes to a new scene.
Tactical Diagrams. This feature contains 17 storyboard sequences, each one containing quite a few storyboards (over 700 in total). There's no commentary or any audio for this part, but the storyboards are all quite interesting themself.
Data Core - consists of a sub-menu featuring 2 options:
Full Implementation - Run Complete Supplement. This takes you to a screen that says, "Terminator 2 Special Edition Supplement - Press Play." Upon pressing play, it takes you to a short montage of behind the scenes footage that then leads into a menu where if you press the wrong button, it takes you back to the Data Core sub-menu. By pressing the right arrow, there is an on screen Introduction with text. Further use of the right arrow brings you through the introduction onto a few pages discussing T2. I then tried to go further into the Supplement, but instead, I was greeted with a quick once-through of the 50 chapters included on the disc. Maybe I should have took heed of the warning that the navigational features of the disc will not work properly on some DVD players (although to this point I had had no problems). I'm assuming that the "Run Complete Supplement" option when working properly will go through the 3 featurettes along with the 60 different video segments included below.
Core Data Sampling - Browse Chapters. It's nice to see a chapter listing for the supplemental disc. Consisting of 50 chapters, it's easy to get to any one part of the supplements without having to navigate through menus on top of menus on top of sub-menus. If I wanted to go straight to the Storyboards, I know that's chapter 7 and the Process Photography is chapter 30.
Interrogation Surveillance Archives - Video Segments - consists of a sub-menu featuring 60 options: Each of these options breaks off into a short segment discussing a different aspect of the film - from writing the script, to pre-production, to the special effects. I'm not going to go in depth for all 60 of them, but here's the first 5:
Writer/director James Cameron and co-writer Bill Wisher discuss working together on the script. This short interview (about 1 minute, 10 seconds) talks about the the collaboration between the two on the beginning of the script for T2.
Writer/director James Cameron and co-writer Bill Wisher discuss the writing process. The two talk about setting up the characters and the necessary preparation before the actual writing process. At about 1 minute, 40 seconds, the interview talks about the pressure on the script writing process because pretty much the whole project hinges on the script.
Writer/director James Cameron discusses researching for the film. From an interview earlier than the previous 2, this one talks about his research of the nuclear mega-ton blast along with the technical research included for the jail scenes. This short weighs in at 1 minute, 12 seconds (approx.).
James Cameron and designer Steve Burg discuss the design challenges of the film. James discusses the lack of money in T1 and the subsequent funding of T2 which enabled him to come up with devices that were created for this film. This excerpt is 1 minute and 18 seconds long.
Effects designer John Orund discusses the previsualization process. This clip is only 30 seconds long as John discusses the storyboard process and how to digitize the storyboards to come up with the best way to film a certain scene.
DVD-ROM capability. Allows viewing of the film while simultaneously reading the script and looking at storyboards. Also links to online websites.