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I was spurred into buying Terminator 2: Ultimate Edition after I recently stumbled across a VHS copy of the film, lifted from an old Sky broadcast as I recall. This was the original theatrical release, badly degraded and missing all of those lovely extra bits I’d seen on TV over the past few years. I had fond memories of the film from my youth and this was the main reason for an impulse buy!

I received the DVD18 version and although I have to say I probably would have preferred two DVD 9s, it’s the content that really interests me and I wasn’t disappointed. One thing’s for sure, the film has never before looked or sounded as good at home.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Ultimate Edition
Film
Set roughly ten years after the events of the original Terminator, T2 jumps forward to a time when Sarah Conner has given birth to her son, John. Skynet, the super computer that controls the machine armies of the future, has sent another Terminator back through time in an attempt to kill John. This is no ordinary machine however, but an advanced prototype: the T1000. Composed of a mimetic-poly-alloy, or liquid metal, the T1000 can imitate anything it samples by physical contact, making it an ideal assassin. The future world resistance learns of the plan to assassinate John, and manages to capture and reprogram an old T800 series Terminator, assigning it one mission: to protect the life of John Conner at all costs. The race is on to see which machine will find the adolescent Connor first, with the fate of the human race hanging in the balance.

Video
T2 is presented in anamorphic 2.35:1, and is THX certified. The image is stunning throughout. It’s virtually flawless, reference quality stuff, a real showcase of what DVD can offer. The definition is streets ahead of most releases, black levels are good and there are none of the problems usually associated with DVD transfers. The special effects, which were cutting edge stuff in their time, do look a little dated now. Having said that, there are some great moments and the T1000’s morphing effects still look very cool.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Ultimate Edition
Audio
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is great. The opening future war sequence has explosions, laser blasts, Hunter-Killers and the like flying around the soundstage. Dialogue is clear throughout and the score sounds very impressive. The DTS track is even better than the Dolby one; it has more depth and everything is that litttle bit clearer (not to mention louder!). One minor quibble with the audio is that on my player you can’t select between the audio tracks during the film, only at the start, which is a pain if you just want to listen to a bit of the commentary track. I suspect this is something to do with the seamless branching technique employed.

Extras
The disc contains a staggering amount of extra material, including three whole documentaries, a bevy of theatrical and teaser trailers from various countries, interviews with just about everyone involved, photo galleries, screenplay, storyboards, the list goes on. In addition to the two advertised versions of the film present on the disc there is also a hidden third edition with an alternative ending. I have to say I prefer the original ending to the one here though. The only T2 related thing that seems to have been omitted from this disc is the video for the Guns ‘n’ Roses track ‘You Could Be Mine’. Special mention has to go to the animated menus, which are breathtaking.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Ultimate Edition
Overall
While not one of my all-time favourites, and in my opinion not as good as the original Terminator as far as the story goes, T2 is a good movie in it’s own right. The special edition does expand the narrative and develop the characters more, and I prefer this to the theatrical release. For me, Robert Patrick steals the show as the T1000, a machine even more unstoppable than Arnie himself! The one problem I had with the film was the fact that the lower rating made it difficult to portray either Terminator as soulless killing machines.

Overall a fairly solid story, although it does tend to get a bit sentimental at times, and astounding, for their time, special effects go towards making this a very enjoyable two and a half hours or so. As a DVD release it’s almost unparalleled, the audio and video are both first rate, the presentation is staggering and the extra features are second to none. This disc is definitely a worthy purchase.


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