PictureWell, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, is a prime benchmark movie to have on Blu-ray, originally release on the deceased HD-DVD format back in 2006. The 1080p High Definition video presentation showcases the film in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio, looking absolutely tremendous in HD. Detail is phenomenal, from the underwater shots of the skulls at the beginning, to the clips of the 'War' raging which we get to see later on. The colours are unbelievably vibrant, with practically picture-perfect realism when you press pause and amazing explosions. Shadowing is also superb, with night sequences looking better than they ever did even on DVD. Overall it is a stellar example of what the format has to offer, and it should be noted that this is the corrected 1080p rendition after the movie was originally released on Blu-ray in the 'States mistakenly represented in mere 1080i.
SoundIn terms of audio, we also get a superior True HD track to top the previously encountered standard Dolby Digital 5.1 Plus track back in 2007. It's superior to everything we've had before in terms of releases of this movie, and it sounds tremendous. Dialogue is both directional and clear, although generally it comes from the frontal array, and we get myriad special effects, generally on quite a grand scale with plenty of explosions and gunshots, but also with the subtle atmospheric noises accentuated as well. The soundtrack isn't as memorable or fitting as for the last couple of movies, but it is perfectly reasonable (and at the same time forgettable) for this sci-fi actioner. Overall the track sounds superb, finally giving this explosive movie the aural presentation that it warrants.
ExtrasOne of the first HD-DVD releases to gain the In-Movie Experience option, as well as sport a whole wealth of Hi-def extras, it is nice that this Blu-ray release ports over all of the material. The renamed Terminatorvision option allows you to watch the entire movie with a Picture-in-Picture Audio/Visual Commentary by the Director, which features interview snippets with the other cast members (including Kristanna Loken and Claire Danes) and behind the scenes shots. Recorded fresh for the HD-DVD format back in 2006, it still overlaps (as can only be expected) with some of the material from the three other optional Commentaries. The Director offers up plenty of interesting trivia about the background to the production, the story, the setting, on-set gags and goofs, deleted footage and the continuation of the legacy.
There are also three full-length Audio Commentaries, with contributions from the Director, the Stars (including Schwarzenegger) and the crew behind the production. They all offer moments of interest, but are not quite as involving as the Picture-in-Picture In-Movie 'Commentary' that has been provided with this release. We also get Schwarzenegger's original 30-second Introduction. There is a 13-minute, fairly promotional HBO First Look Documentary complete with cast and crew interviews but plenty of film clips, a ludicrously brief 2-minute Dressed to Kill Featurette on the iconic Terminator outfit and the various outfits the characters wear, a 6-minute Toys in Action Featurette which looks at Todd McFarlane's action figures from the movie, The Making of the Video Game, which runs at nine minutes and looks at how the video game extends the action of the movie by making the sequences interactive, the Theatrical Trailer, a Storyboard Gallery which compares final sequences to their original storyboards, a single Deleted Scene (the slightly amusing Sgt. Candy scene which goes to explain why the T-800 and T-850 range all look like Arnie) and a mildly engaging Blooper Reel.
VerdictTerminator 3: Rise of the Machines, is a watchable, solid third installment in a highly enjoyable sci-fi action franchise. Arguably, there are many reasons why it should never have been made, but it is worth putting up with any of the more disappointing aspects of the production just to see Arnie back in action for one last time. In terms of its presentation on Blu-ray, this movie offers a decent benchmark for the media, with noticeably superior video and audio and some nice extras to boot. If you haven't picked up this movie and you like the previous two, like sci-fi actioners in general or just like Schwarzenegger, this is the definitive release to own.
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