PictureTerminator III has already made it to HD DVD, and the encode presented here is from the same master. In the original theatrical ratio of 2.40 : 1. However, before we go any further I should certainly point out that due to an error in the mastering process, this disc is only presented in 1080i.
However, as I am the owner of a 720P panel, I can only review the disc as I see it - and the results are very impressive indeed. The first thing to notice is that the source print is immaculate. There is no evidence of grain, speckle, or dirt here. The print is pristine.
Colour is vibrant and lively in most of the scenes, and black levels are deep and rich. Detail is superb, for example the scene where John drops a bottle of beer into the river. Notice the bubbles trailing behind it, and then the details on the skulls. This is excellent stuff.
However, all is not well, as the occasional scene displays a flatness that is not present elsewhere. The perfect example of this is the set piece vehicle chase. Compare this to the vehicle chases in the Blu ray of T2, and you can clearly see what is missing here. Having studied this scene several times it would appear to be the time of day it was shot. It is set at dawn and the transfer does not seem to cope well with the level of light present.
However, this is a minor blemish on what is generally an excellent transfer. Certainly this is a vast improvement on the SD release, as it should be, and is definitely the best it has looked on home cinema.
SoundWhat WERE Warner thinking of here? Do we get a vibrant punchy PCM track? No, we don't. Do we get a TrueHD track? Again, no. Just a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track.
Once I got over this disappointment, though, I had to admit that this is certainly a fine example of the Dolby Digital format. Much of this is down to the excellent sound design of the film itself. All five speakers get a good workout, and what really impresses is the placement of effects - it is very clear in even the most action packed scenes where each sound effect is coming from.
Dialogue is also very well pinned to the front speaker and is always clear whatever mayhem may be going on in the other speakers. The Sub also gets an excellent workout, underscoring the explosions well.
Of course, the question is - if we weren't told that it was a lossless soundtrack would we really notice? This is actually a tougher one to answer than I would have anticipated. Certainly the excellent sound design saves it somewhat. However, I can only surmise that a lossless soundtrack would have sounded even better.
ExtrasFirst up, there are three Commentaries, one with the cast, and one with Mostow solo. There is also a third HD Exclusive commentary with Mostow and various other crew members. It is the cast commentary which is the best, with all of them being very open and honest about the filming. Whereas it is good to get extra material not on SD, the other two commentaries are a little duller, and often replicate from each other. But, true fans of the film will relish the extra material and insight that they provide.
We are then provided with the typically anaemic HBO first look special which as always manages to tell us absolutely nothing about the film. As always, this is merely an extended ad for the movie, with various interviews that manage to tell us nothing. A decent short Dressed To Kill is far too short at only 3 minutes - but manages to be a lot of fun, looking at what your averaged Terminator likes to wear. Less successful is Toys in Action which is merely a commercial for the Terminator toy range.
Finally, we get some Storyboards, a Theatrical Trailer, a look at the video game, and a rather strange Deleted Scene.
All of these are supplemented, though, by an IME - which is not true profile 1.1 meaning it will play on any player. This is certainly an excellent experience, providing some real insight into the movie and how it fits into the franchise. Essentially a near two hour documentary this is a very worthy addition to the disc.
VerdictYes, the film does suffer when up against its illustrious forebears - and fails to live up to it's own brilliant ending. But there are certain aspects of this film that are enjoyable as a Saturday evening popcorn action flick.
The major gaff, of course, is the 1080i issue - and those with 1080P displays may want to wait until this error is fixed. However, it could be argued that you would need a very big display to notice the difference. Certainly, the disc performed very well on my panel and produced a consistent transfer. The sound mix, although only Dolby Digital, does a very good job and a decent IME and exclusive HD commentary adds to the value.
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