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Set roughly ten years after the events of the original The Terminator, T2 jumps forward to a time when Sarah Connor has given birth to her son, John. Skynet, the supercomputer that controls the machine armies of the future, has sent another Terminator back through time in an attempt to kill John. However, this is no ordinary machine, 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 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 Connor 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.

Having reviewed both Optimum's original featureless Blu-ray release of Terminator 2: Judgment Day and its subsequent release of the Skynet Edition, I'm not going to bother with a lengthy analysis of a film everyone's already seen countless times. If you really want to read my thoughts on the feature you can do so by heading to the related content option at the bottom of the page, which links to my earlier reviews.

There are a couple of things worth mentioning here though. James Cameron has actually used the creation of the 3D version of Terminator 2 to address a number of issues he had with the film. Don’t worry though; they’re only to fix minor continuity and cosmetic issues. For example, during the storm drain chase Arnold’s face has been superimposed over his stunt doubles's and the windows of the truck have been digitally replaced (although that in itself introduces a further continuity error). The more eagle-eyed among you may have previously noticed that actor Robert Patrick’s testicles are briefly shown when he’s naked early in the film, but they are now covered by a strategically placed piece of concrete. There are also other minor changes, but they’re mainly to address things like visible camera equipment and practical effects goofs (wires etc.).


The biggest selling point of this latest release of Terminator 2 is undoubtedly the much-publicised remastering of the visuals, a task that was undertaken in preparation for the 3D release of the film earlier this year. In many ways the resulting 4K mastered image is a huge improvement over what's come before, but unfortunately it's not without its issues.

On the positive side, the 4K scan makes for perhaps the most detailed version of the film yet seen on home video. Having compared a number of scenes to the older Blu-ray releases this edition certainly resolves more detail in background objects like wire fences, brickwork and signage. The latter is a particularly good example, as text that was previously indistinct is now legible. I also found the intricate detailing in clothing to be sharper overall. Aside from this the biggest difference between this release and previous efforts is the colour palette, which is skewed more towards modern aesthetics (something that’s sure to cause some controversy). There are definite teal overtones, but the overall effect isn’t pushed too far and it’s definitely not as egregious as with some transfers. I also found the contrast on this version more pleasing than others. The older Optimum/Studiocanal UK releases had a slightly washed out appearance, but this isn’t the case with this remastered effort (previously milky black levels are now much better, for example). As one would expect, the image is pretty much spotless throughout.

Okay, now for the bad. Putting aside the revised colour palette, for all of the improvements offered by the remaster there is one single, glaringly obvious issue: the application of excessive DNR. I’m sure it’s eminently apparent to anyone looking at the screen captures accompanying this review, but almost all of the visible film grain has been scrubbed from the transfer. It’s been done more carefully than the worst examples of the trend—which has preserved a reasonable amount of detail—but it has been done all the same. Unfortunately this makes for a very non-filmic appearance, particularly when almost every character’s face looks waxy and artificial at some point or another. We’re not quite talking Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition levels of filtering here, but it’s still readily apparent. Quite why anyone would go to the trouble of creating a new 4K master and then scrubbing it of all of its natural film grain is beyond me. One assumes it was done specifically for the 3D release, but there are plenty of grainy 3D titles out there ( Titanic, for example). Even the Blu-ray release of Aliens retained a healthy amount of grain, contrary to Cameron’s comments about removing it, so this decision is all the more baffling. Whatever the reasoning behind the decision, it is a fairly major blot on this this release.

I had the opportunity to view the 3D release theatrically during August 2017, and truth be told I wasn’t terribly impressed with it. However, I had my suspicions that my issues had more to do with the terrible crosstalk exhibited at my screening than the 3D conversion itself, as my local cinema is notorious for it. Watching it again on Blu-ray (on my Panasonic plasma with active 3D) confirmed those suspicions, as it’s actually a very respectable conversion. It brings believable depth to many scenes, offering impressive separation along with some neat pop-out effects without a reliance on silly gimmicks. It also masks some of the issues that I had with the 2D release, as the lack of grain isn’t as apparent in 3D. I wouldn’t say it’s my preferred way of watching the film, but like Cameron’s Titanic before it the conversion makes for an intriguing alternative viewing experience.


The disc includes one English language option, that of DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (a numerical downgrade from the 6.1 track on the Skynet Edition). I don’t profess to be intimately familiar with the film’s sound mix, but after a few random comparisons with the original Optimum release from 2008 (which is also 5.1), I came to the conclusion that they are very similar (if not identical). Now if various forum posts are to be believed, the track differs somewhat from the original theatrical mix, but I can neither confirm nor deny those claims without a basis for comparison.

As I mentioned in my review of the 2008 release (see the links section below), it’s an incredibly active sound mix right from the get-go, with almost constant use of all of the channels to create a fully immersive experience. There's plenty of directionality, be it panning across the front of the sound-stage, or clever transitions from the front to the rears. The opening scenes of battle in Los Angeles circa 2029 are supremely atmospheric, filled with the sounds of Hunker Killers whooshing overhead and plasma rifles blasting away. Bass is extremely ferocious, with each gunshot packing a satisfying punch and many of the larger explosions resulting in some serious sofa-shaking! The track also delivers on the subtleties, be it the sound of footsteps echoing in empty corridors, the wind whistling across the desert, or the hum of the T-800’s ‘Terminator Vision’. Brad Feidel's score sits nicely alongside the rest of the mix, never overwhelming the effects nor becoming buried under the action. Unlike the video the differences between the two releases aren’t night and day, so there isn’t as much to remark on, other than that it remains a damn fine track. I’m sure there are those who will argue that it’s not a nuanced as a modern sound mix, but judged on its own merits and taking its age into consideration, I think it’s deserving of high priase.


This release of Terminator 2 offers more in the way of bonus material than the original 2008 release, but not quite as much as the 2009 Skynet Edition. It does, however, include some new content created especially for the remastered release, along with both the 1993 Special Edition and Extended Special Editions of the film via seamless branching (the latter of which is more of a curiosity than anything). Unfortunately these versions of the film are only available in 2D and the extended scenes have not been remastered, so there’s quite a jarring shift in visual quality whenever it switches to the extended footage. Still, if nothing else it allows for comparison between the old master and the new. A list of the remaining bonus material can be found below:

  • T2: Reprogramming The Terminator. A new 55-minute documentary including exclusiveinterviews with Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron, Edward Furlong and many more
  • Feature commentary with 23 members of cast and crew
  • Feature commentary with director James Cameron and co-author William Wisher
  • The Making of T2
  • Deleted scenes with audio commentary
  • T2: 3D trailer 
  • T2 theatrical trailers: ‘Same Make New Mission’ and ‘Building the Perfect Arnold’


It seems like we had to wait an eternity for a high-definition release of Terminator 2 supervised by James Cameron, and while the results are largely positive they are not entirely perfect. While there can be no denying that the new 4K master delivers superior results to what has come before, it could have looked even better—nigh on perfect, in fact—if only less filtering had been employed. This and the revisionist colour grading are really the only real issues I have with the release, given the fantastic soundtrack and reasonably generous selection of supplemental features (compared to a lot of AAA film releases, that is), but unfortunately it feels like yet another missed opportunity to deliver the definitive release of Terminator 2.

As for the feature itself, as I recently discovered when watching the original versions of Star Wars and Cameron’s own Aliens, while I do miss some of the moments from the special edition, Terminator 2 flows much better in its theatrical form. It serves as a great reminder of the power of editing, and I’ve even gone as far as to reflect this in the ‘Feature’ section of the ratings. Personally I still prefer the original film to this sequel, but I know I’m probably in the minority there. Whichever your preference, by my reckoning this is now the best available version of Terminator 2, flaws and all.

* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.

 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
 Terminator 2: Judgment Day