The film may have many flaws, but the same cannot be said of the immaculate transfer that is presented on this disc. The image is presented in the by now standard 1080p and is in the theatrically correct 2.40:1 ratio.
The first thing that should be stated here is that this transfer is deliberately drained of colour. This is a directorial decision to better portray the post apocalyptic world. Therefore, if you are aiming to show off the amazing depth of colour that blu-ray is capable of then you will want to look elsewhere. However, the muted, dark palette used is the kind of picture that a high definition transfer can truly bring to life and this disc truly does this.
The level of detail displayed here is revelatory, particularly in the dark subterranean scenes. Facial details are picked out beautifully, as are the weapons, the Cyberdine creations, and the half-destroyed buildings. Indeed, the one saving grace of this film is the level of detail that has gone into the creation of the future world and the transfer does a beautiful job of bringing it to life.
The source, as one would expect, is pristine and black levels are deep and intense. Overall, in the week where Star Trek has wowed with its brilliance, what is offered on this disc in terms of picture quality is just as good. Terminator : Salvation easily offers one of the best transfers of the year.
Whereas the sound quality in my opinion is not quite the match of the video, the DTS HD MA 5.1 soundtrack presented here is certainly a fine example. It is merely let down by far too much bombast in the volume.
From the very beginning of the film, dialogue is clear and precise, whether it be a whispered piece from one character to another, or a full-on shout against the background of a gigantic machine's attack. The dialogue is well anchored to the front and is well realised.
This preciseness is mirrored throughout the rest of the mix which is spacious and clearly defined, presenting good use of the front stereo separation and well anchored sounds in the rear of the sound field. Whether they be small ambient sounds, or loud explosions everything is well mixed, precise, and placed accurately within the 5.1 field.
Where I have a problem is in the sheer volume of the track, and the overbearing bass. When a mix is this well done, it is quite simply not necessary to overbear the viewer with excessive volume - but I had to dial my volume down 10db on what I am used to. This mix is that loud. This is a great shame because it is completely unnecessary.
The other great shame about this mix is the overbearing LFE. Again, it spoils the great work on the sound design to make the LFE so booming, so prevalent. Dial down the volume, turn down the sub and you have a fantastic mix - but it is a shame that the viewer has to do this.
The most eye catching extra on show here is the Maximum Movie Mode which features a PiP track presented by McG. This is certainly a most interesting example of the use that can be made of this type of feature, and if you are a fan of the movie you are likely to get a lot out of this. McG proves himself to be a surprisingly entertaining guide, and a lot of interesting information is imparted.
We are then presented with a featurette Re-Forging The Future. Again this is surprisingly free of fluff, giving us an interesting on-set tour. The Moto-Terminator is a bit of an advert for Ducatti who apparently helped design the aforementioned two-wheeled terminators. I am afraid I found these creations rather silly, so this featurette did very little for me.
Finally, we have a series of brief featurettes on other aspects of the production, including a brief look on how they brought back Schwarzenegger.
I hated Terminator : Salvation. It completely lacks any kind of emotional core and commits the cardinal sin of being so full of action that the set pieces actually become boring. If the franchise had to be continued (and I am not convinced that it did) then the war against the machines was certainly the part of the franchise that was ripe for exploration. The film realises this world well, and certainly does justice to the kind of post-apocalyptic landscape that Cyberdine would have created, but the wooden acting, and leaden direction sadly means that the film dies on its feet.
If you do enjoy the film, though, then you are certainly going to get your money's worth from this disc. The picture is quite simply outstanding, presenting the director's vision with a level of clarity and detail that ranks amongst the best of the year. The soundtrack is also well presented, although you may find yourself having to dial down the bass and volume to get the best out of it. The extras package is solid if not spectacular and certainly provides some decent extra content for the fan to explore.
Unfortunately, if you have not seen the film before, I really cannot recommend this as a blind purchase. If you really must see this continuation of the franchise, then I can most certainly advise this as a rental rather than a blind purchase. The film is just too weak to take an uninformed punt on.
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