Forget the “blue-lightning = naked guy” time transport system; you can do real time travel in your living room with MGM’s “The Terminator SE.” Step back to a time before Linda Hamilton started taking steroids, and before Arnold Schwarzenegger stopped. A time when guys (Michael Biehn = “Kyle Reese”) wanted to look like Sting, and CGI animation didn’t even exist. Yes, step back into the terrifying stop-motion world of James Cameron’s “The Terminator” in this superb re-release.
The…one controversial thing about this disc is the decision to do it as a double sided quad-layered disc, as opposed to a two-disc set. I suppose that flipping the disc is equivalent to inserting a second disc, but somehow it just feels – well, “lamer.” A “Double Disc” SE would probably have created more in the way of perceived value in consumer’s minds; whatever MGM would lose in production costs, they could certainly make back by charging more for two discs. At any rate, it’s an interesting decision that has no impact on the exceptional quality of this disc.
Good, but nothing mind-blowing. Solid 5.1 with good and consistent separation. The original English mono version of the soundtrack is included for audio-masochists.
The cover of the disc touted a new digital transfer from an HD master that initially I was skeptical of. Having watched it, however, I can say with complete confidence that this disc has superb video quality – minimal scratches and dust (almost none), great color, great quality – overall fantastic video.
The menus are another highlight of this disc –great animations in fantastic detail. One bothersome feature is synthetic Shockwave (i.e.: of “The Transformers”) wannabe T100 voice that announces which menu item you’ve selected; the voice sounds sort of dorky, and has no movie tie-in. A better choice would have been to get someone with a heavy Austrian accent to do fake Arnold voiceovers. This is a minor quibble though; otherwise, fantastic menus.
Hidden Menu Features: I found a few of these, so stop reading now if you don’t want to know about them. On the movie side of the disc, check the little squares that ornament the frames of the menu areas: in “Special Features” click the top one, in “Languages” click the right-hand side one, in “Scene Selections” 13-16 and 25-28 click the top one too; these will give you weird freeze frame interview clips with various actors. The best egg is the top square of “Scene Selections” 29-32 which has an essay by Randal Frakes (author/co-author of the Terminator novelizations) called “Chrono-Surfing: A Brief History of Time Travel” (step through the pages with you chapter buttons). Good reading, cool hidden features. Maybe there’s more eggs hidden – these are all that I found.
The Rest: Side two of the disc is a special features disc. There’s some good documentary content (James Cameron is quite the talker) and a great “Making of” featurette on the “Future War” sequences by the Fantasy II team. The deleted scenes are very well presented with both a textual descriptions of the rationale for their deletion and Cameron’s commentary during the scene. There’s a boatload of traditional “extras” fare such as trailers, stills, and storyboards. The Terminator SE disc goes above and beyond on all of these though; “Trailers,” for instance, includes both foreign and domestic trailers, and TV spots. The trailers are in the same bizarre documentary “Mutual of Omaha” style as those in “Carrie SE” – very funny. The still image section has a great selection of Cameron’s own drawings – turns out he’s quite the artist and actually designed the T100 skeleton – there’s some good Terminator Trivia.
Isn’t T3 in the works? I’m pretty stoked for that, and this disc just heightens the anticipation. Good sound and video supported by a good cast of extras with some fun-to-find hidden stuff creates a great DVD value. Enjoy!
Special Features List
- “Other Voices” documentary
- “The Terminator: A Retrospective” documentary
- “Terminated” deleted scenes
- Hidden menu features
- DVD-ROM script to screen
- Collectible holographic packaging
- Original storyboards, trailers, TV spots