Terminator 2: Judgment Day Blu-ray Review
”T2” is presented in widescreen 2.35:1 with VC-1 1080p coding.
From the opening scenes there's more detail on show in this BD release than on previous DVD releases. The opening battle scene contains some great detail on equipment and craft and for the first time I could clearly see the body being thrown from the jeep after being hit by a blast from the flying Cyberdine craft. The slow zoom close up of the Terminators face at the opening credits also serve to show the improvements that this BD has made over its predecessors.
Detail on a whole is fantastic especially in all facial close-ups with every pore, bead of sweat, freckle and hair visible. In this respect “T2” looks better than ever. In the bar scene even the hairs are visible on Arnie's bare chest (I was looking purely for the purpose of this review!) and the tattoos on the bikers are also very well defined. In the asylum scene where Sarah C. is being interviewed detail on paper coffee cups are clearly legible with rising texture present on the walls of the asylums corridor. Detail on clothing is also more prevalent on this BD release - I've never seen Arnie's leathers looking so well! Skin tone is perfect with Arnie looking almost synthetic at times (this is due to the fact that KY jelly was added to his makeup to give a synthetic appearance and not a result of his acting!). Colours are also very vibrant and realistic throughout the movie - an example is the range of whites in the asylum scene ranging from the drab greys of the inmates scrubs to the clear white of Sarah C.'s vest with the various in betweens of the doctor's coats. I did notice a hint of red saturation in places but this is probably purposely done.
”T2” contains a lot of smoky scenes including steam rising from grates in the street, light haze due to indoor lighting effects and tear gas in the Cyberdine destruction scene. Normally a difficult medium to display for any setup I'm delighted to say that these scenes are completely free from pixelisation/shimmering or other nasty artefacts (as in the case throughout “T2”) and in some instances demonstrate great 3D pop.
While detail is fantastic I have to say that there is still a fair amount of grain present throughout “T2”. This was a point of complaint in previous DVD releases and it seems nothing can be done as it's inherent to the master tapes. To remove the grain would require digital touch-ups and while this may seem like a good idea may inadvertently ruin the feel of this movie. In saying that the grain is never too distracting and does not detract from the experience. There are also some soft scenes present in “T2”, the first scene with Connor's foster parents in their home being an example. Again these are not overly common but do detract from the overall picture quality and show the age of the print (some minor print speckles were also noted but these were minute).
I would have liked to see the print lift more in this BD presentation. While there is some good depth to some of the scenes (especially on the static shots) the 3D pop factor is not as prevalent in “T2” as it is in other BD releases. In saying that the scenes where guns are levelled in the plane of the viewer and the scene where the T-1000 chases on foot after the T-800, Sarah and John C. in their station wagon really do look impressive and have a 3D quality.
One of the few drawbacks of this high definition transfer of “T2” is that it's now much easier to see where the cast have been replaced by stunt doubles!
While this is a very good transfer there are elements of grain and softness that are holding this release back from reaching the standards that BD is capable of. It does however make noticeable improvements over the previous Extreme release and this is in itself a great achievement
Overall an excellent transfer that misses out on top marks as there are some lightly soft scenes
“T2” has always boasted an impressive soundtrack and has been well served by previous DTS and Dolby Digital EX offerings. For this BluRay release we're treated to a very active DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. Right from the opening scenes there's audible improvements on this track. The opening future war scene has some great use of the surrounds and at one point a Terminator fires a shot squarely at the viewer which explodes directly behind one's head to great effect. The crashing of the Cyberdine craft also creates a great thumping impact as it crashes to the ground in an eruption of destruction.
Almost all the sound effects were added in post production for “T2”with the original sounds overdubbed which really increases their presence in the mix. On this soundtrack the sound effects are super clear and detailed. For example the clunk of the pool balls as they rattle around the table, the dull thud as Arnie drives a knife into the back of one of the bikers and the clash of metal on metal all sound fantastic. The Remington shotgun that is utilised throughout the movie also sounds better than before (incidentally two cannons were used for this sound effect). Arnie's bike also has gotten the high definition treatment as it positively growls on screen with deep LFE much like Batman's Tumbler (although not to the same extent). The nuclear holocaust explosion scene also features a very deep, sharp LFE projection that is wonderful. The LFE track really does get a good workout in this mix. All explosion and impacts are very well represented with deep LFE extensions like in the closing scene where Arnie is pummelled with an iron girder. There are also some nice surround touches throughout like the clash of the sewer gates directly behind the listener as Arnie rides his Harley through them or the fizz of a cola can as its shot from the mall porters hand during the first T on T confrontation.
Dialogue is also crystal clear and never difficult to follow throughout the movie with Arnie's voice clearly audible over the rumble of the Harley which demonstrates the superb sound engineering on this track. The impact projection of the M14 grenades as they move from the fronts and LFE swiftly through both surround channels is also impressive. I did however think that the mini-gun would have more of a presence in this track as it sounded firmly in the mid range.
Brad Fiedel's classic industrial score really serves to lift the action throughout the movie and is prevalent in all channels at various parts in the movie. The score also works well to increase the menace and unstoppable determination of the T-1000. One complaint that I would have about this DTS-HD Master Audio presentation is that the score seems somewhat subdued especially in comparison to some of the effects. It's still definitely present and impressive but seems to have been lowered in the mix. The score lifts and adds to the excitement at various points (especially when Terminators are on screen) with only some tinges of 80's pop electronic cropping up in places to tarnish a perfect score.
While the previous DD EX and DTS releases gave a fantastic representation of the soundtrack this DTS-HD Master Audio presentation makes notable improvements and is the best that “T2” has ever sounded.
A well engineered and engaging track that has never sounded better but still falls short compared to other BD releases
This is where this release really falls flat on it's metallic face with not one single extra available - not even a theatrical trailer or commentary track. In my opinion this is a disgrace and I can't understand why the additional space available on BD wasn't utilised even if only to port all the extras previously available on the DVD releases
This BD release of “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” offers a noticeable and worthwhile upgrade on both the audio and video fronts. The movie itself is still an enjoyable, if slightly dated masterpiece but that is to be expected.
This release really falls down in the extras department and with the increased space available on BD there really is no excuse for the complete omission of extras. Perhaps it is a licensing issue or perhaps it is laziness but whatever the reason it's a big letdown.
My recommendation would be to get this Blu-ray release if you already own the Extreme Edition or Ultimate Edition versions as combined you will have the definitive “T2” edition. If you do not own a previous release that contains all the extras consider waiting for a more desirable BD package to come out. Keep an eye on the soundtracks though as a previous BD release of “T2” did not contain a HD audio track.
Overall Score marked due to the lack of extras, softness of image in places and low score mix
“Your foster parents are dead”
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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