Case Number 00053

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY

Artisan // 1991 // 139 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Sean Fitzgibbons (Retired) // July 3rd, 1999

The Charge

He said "I'll be back..."...and he meant it!

Opening Statement

If nothing else, Terminator 2 on DVD delivers stunning video and audio quality, which alone makes the disc one every DVD enthusiast should own.

The Evidence

If you compare James Cameron's original Terminator and Terminator 2 you will find many similarities. Namely, both contain a protector and a hunter, who first meet in a shoot-out once discovering their target, which leads to a car chase, and in which both films end in a battle inside a factory (after a tanker truck explosion). Therefore, Terminator 2 seems to me as a big budget re-make of the original; with some plot differences. Regardless, Terminator 2 is a vastly superior film, despite its lack of originality.

Terminator 2 revolves around John Connor (Edward Furlong) who, in the year 2029, leads a human resistance against machines that have decided to wipe out the human race. The machines uncovered the secret for traveling in time so they send a new machine, the T-1000 (Robert Patrick), back in time to kill Connor when he is a child, and hopefully prevent the resistance in the future. Upon learning this, Connor sends another Terminator machine (Arnold Schwarzenegger), sent back in time to kill his mother in the previous film, back in time to protect himself from the T-1000. Still with me? Back in the present day (for the film) Connor's mother, Sarah (Linda Hamilton), decides that she, her son, and the Terminator should destroy the company that ultimate leads to building the machines that take over humanity; thus preventing the dreaded "Judgment Day" in which the world is practically destroyed by nuclear warfare, initiated by the machines.

Trust me, it makes more sense when you are watching the film!

Most important for me with the Terminator 2 DVD was that the disc have great audio and video quality, and thankfully it does. The video is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, THX digitally mastered. Unlike some other THX masters, this one actually does look good; almost flawless. Spread over two layers, the Terminator 2 video transfer has a perfect black level and remains crisp and clean throughout. Even better than the video is the disc's 5.1 Dolby Digital track. When people talk about demo discs to show off DVD, and surround sound, capabilities, Terminator 2 is the disc to use! The action sequences really blast out of your speakers as their levels are noticeably louder (as they should be) than other scenes that are mainly dialogue. Including numerous gun fights, explosions, motorcycles, helicopters, and car chases, this disc truly gives your audio system a work out!

There isn't an overwhelming amount of extra content on this disc but, as I mentioned before, I was mainly interested in seeing how the film transferred onto DVD. For your money you get a teaser and theatrical trailer, an image DVD promo, cast and crew bios, and descriptive video service (DVS). What's DVS? It's actually kind of cool. If you turn DVS on while watching the film you will be able to listen to Leonard Nimoy narrate the action on screen, intended for those who are blind and cannot see the screen. You can also record the DVS track onto a blank tape, or CD, and listen to it as a movie on tape (hey, I thought it was cool!). One little bit of trivia, this disc was the first ever RSDL dual layer disc produced. The added space on the disc, undoubtedly contributes to the excellent image present here.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

There is a Terminator 2 director's cut floating around out there and I'm sure many people would rather have that on DVD. However, I have seen the director's cut and many of the scenes were cut for good purpose, as they only extend an already long film with extraneous information, most of the time. Then again, for those who haven't seen it, the director's cut would be nice to watch; or at least a list of deleted scenes.

A documentary on the making of the film (or even a commentary) would have made the disc more worthwhile as well...but you can't always get what you want. Image is working on a Terminator 2 special edition DVD, which will be one of the first double sided double layered discs available, but I wouldn't hold off on buying the disc until the special edition comes out.

Oh, and one complaint about the film; doesn't Eddie Furlong just annoy the hell out of you? I mean he's always running around in his high-pitched voice screaming about one thing or another. "Come on, come on!" The T-1000 should have killed Connor off and then his mom decides to go on her mission to destroy SkyNet in memory of her son. That's my one complaint about this classic film.

Closing Statement

Terminator 2 is a film you can watch again and again, which is the true value of the disc because it's audio and video transfer is so good. The disc could have benefited from more extra content, but nevertheless to see the film at such high quality is well worth the price of the disc.

The Verdict

Any other film with any other transfer would not be acquitted, but it's T2 and the transfer is so good I couldn't live with my self if I convicted this disc. Acquitted on all counts, not including extra content.

Review content copyright © 1999 Sean Fitzgibbons; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 95
Audio: 99
Extras: 35
Acting: 85
Story: 90
Average: 81

Perp Profile
Studio: Artisan
Video Formats:
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 139 Minutes
Release Year: 1991
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* Production Notes
* Cast and Crew Bios
* Theatrical Trailer

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0103064/combined