The most basic rule in Hollywood seems to be that a sequel can never be as good as the original. If you’ve seen enough Police Academy films you know the rule by heart. This rule has been broken with Terminator 2. Not only is it better then the original, it is so much better that it has become “the” Terminator film. It’s no surprise that the DVD would have to be something special right down to a metal cover for the box. This is an ultimate edition that truly lives up to the name, and will make you forget about all previous issues of the film.
Sarah Connor (Hamilton) is now in a mental institution because no one believes her story about a machine from the future. She is worried about her son and needs to get out of this institution to protect him. It turns out John has protection in the form of a new Terminator (Schwarzenegger) sent to stop the latest in Terminator technology: the T-100 (Patrick)
Sarah must overcome her fear of the machine that is identical to the one that tried to kill her. Together they must stop Miles Dyson (Morton) from developing the computer chip that makes this bleak future possible. Finally the Terminator makes the ultimate sacrifice to destroy the T-1000 and save the Connors.
This DVD features both a DTS and a Dolby Digital soundtrack. Both are exemplary. The only noticeable difference is in the lower sub ranges. I found the DTS track to feature a slightly more aggressive bass extension. The film was not originally released in surround so it needed to be remixed. You will literally be assaulted with sounds from all angles. Ambient effects accurately place you inside the action with every suspenseful turn. Dialogue is always front and center and separated from the more dynamic explosions and machine gun attacks. There’s a lot of energy in Fiedel’s score which comes across in all of its glory.
There is an extensive commentary track. The box claims there are 26 participants and you will hear every one of them. I was surprised that the track did not come across as crowded. Of course, it is nearly impossible to keep track of who’s who but I did feel like I was eavesdropping on a private screening for the cast and crew. Way Cool.
T2 is presented in a THX certified widescreen transfer. I found absolutely no flaws in the film itself. Obviously a clean print was used. The original film made great use of color filters particularly blue. The subtle tints this process intended are not lost in this release. The colors are reference quality, and the blacks are deep and rich in detail. The interior shots display depth of field unmatched by any other DVD release to date.
I’m not sure that there is another disc out there with this many notable features. The most important must be the film itself. You can view the original theatrical version of the film or a new Director’s Cut that adds almost 20 minutes of new material. The most entertaining scenes involve John trying to teach the Terminator to smile. This explains the quirky smile later in the film. If you know how to find it there is an even longer version of the film hidden on the disc.
There are quite a few documentaries on disc 2. “The Making of T2” is just what it sounds like. It’s a behind the scenes look at the special effects along with interviews with cast and crew members. “T2: More Than Meets the Eye” explores the scenes reintegrated into the Director’s Cut. Cameron talks about his choices and revisiting the film itself. A new featurette covers the creation of the Universal Park show in both Hollywood and Orlando. For an advertisement it’s actually pretty entertaining. The ride is incredible. The traditional trailers and TV spots are found along with text based standards like storyboards, script, cast and crew bios, and make-up tidbits.
“Data Core” is a unique feature that works like a film school home course. You can access many elements of the process of film making. Details of location and set design are explained along with promotion and distribution of a major film. There’s a lot to learn here if you have the patience to wade through it. I enjoyed the look at the various props such as weapons and futuristic machinery most of all.
The DVD-ROM allows you to read the script while following storyboards, websites, and other supplementals. This feature will satisfy the ultimate T2 fans. Furthermore, these are some of the coolest 3D menus ever put on disc. You will really enjoy working your way through this discs features.
You’ve seen it on other films, you’ve seen it on TV, and you’ve even seen it in Super Bowl commercials, but those awesome liquid effects were first created for T2. James Cameron took everything great from the original Terminator and made it better.Now there’s a third Terminator in production. It will be interesting to see if it measures up to T2. It really should come as no surprise. Arnie told you, didn’t he? “I’ll be back”.
Special Features List
- Commentary by 26 Members of cast and crew
- Commentary by director James Cameron
- Commentary by Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Theatrical trailer(s)
- Every aspect of the Terminator 2 film making process
- 700+ Storyboards
- Cast and Crew Info
- “The Making of T2” Featurette
- “T2: More Than Meets the Eye” Featurette
- “The Making of T2: 3-D: Breaking the Screen Barrier”
- Limited edition case