The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: MGM/Lionsgate/Warner – 1984, 1991, 2003, 2009
MPAA Rating: R, PG-13 (Terminator Salvation Theatrical cut)
Feature running time: 107, 152, 109, 114/117 (Terminator Salvation TC/DC) minutes
Disc Format: BD-50, BD-25 (The Terminator)
Encoding: VC-1, MPEG-2 (The Terminator)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1, 2.35:1, 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English Uncompressed PCM, English DTS-HD 6.1 Master Audio, English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish, (The Terminator additionally includes Korean, Thai, Chinese, Portuguese)
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Joe Morton, Robert Patrick, Edward Furlong, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken, Christian Bale, Anton Yelchin, Sam Worthington, Jane Alexander, Moon Bloodgood, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common, Helena Bonham Carter
Directed by: James Cameron, Jonathan Mostow, McG
Music by: Brad Fiedel, Marco Beltrami, Danny Elfman
Written by: James Cameron, Gale Hurd, William Wisher, John Brancato, Michael Ferris
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 28, 2012
When The Terminator – a terrifying cyborg sent from the future to destroy mankind – made its first electrifying appearance, the adrenaline-charged sci-fi thriller became an instant, enduing icon! Now, for the first time, all four chapters of the spine-tingling Terminator saga – from the initial attack of the machines throughout John Connor’s resistance – are available together in one comprehensive 5 disc Blu-ray collection chronicling the battle between the human race and Skynet!
The Terminator - In 2029, giant super-computers dominate the planet, hell-bent on exterminating the human race! And to destroy man's future by changing the past, they send an indestructible cyborg - a Terminator - back in time to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the woman whose unborn son will become mankind's only hope. But can Sarah protect herself from this unstoppable menace to save the life of her unborn child? Or will the human race be extinguished?
Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Skynet, the 21st century computer waging a losing war on humans sends a second terminator back in time to destroy the leader of the human resistance while he is still a boy. His mother is the only one who knows of the existence of the Terminators, human-like robots that exist only to kill and are nearly indestructible, and Sarah, the boy's mother is currently in a state mental hospital because of her 'delusions'. A second protector is sent back to the past by the Human resistance to protect John Connor, their future leader, at all costs.
Terminator 3: Rise of the machines - Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as a time-traveling T-101 Terminator in this smash hit directed by Jonathan Mostow. With dazzling effects, bravura thrills and a story that boldly spins into the unexpected, this is an event spectacle to see and see again.
Terminator Salvation - In the aftermath of Judgment Day and the takeover by the machines, John Connor (Christian Bale, The Dark Knight), the destined leader of the human resistance, must counter Skynet's devastating plan to terminate mankind. As Connor rallies his underground street fighters for a last, desperate battle, he realizes that to save the future he must rescue his own father, Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin, Star Trek). But the most shocking discovery comes with the arrival of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington, Avatar), a mysterious loner from the past who challenges Connor with an impossible choice that will determine the future of the human race - leading them both on a brutal journey into the very heart of the enemy.
I have been a fan of The Terminator films going back to 1984 when I saw the The Terminator in the movies. The original film was impressive and to that point unlike any other sci-fi movie I had seen. The combination of sci-fi action, special effects, drama and even a little horror combined with a resonating story left an impression. As much as I liked the original Terminator 2: Judgment Day was off the charts. To me its impact was similar to that of Star Wars in that up to that point I had never seen anything quite like it.
James Cameron knows how to create exciting, visually engaging, and memorable films. The action sequences and special effects in T2 at the time were in the stratosphere. Quite honestly I think that they still hold up extremely well nearly 20 years later. I remember being amazed by Linda Hamilton’s physical transformation from the original film to this one. I don’t know how many times I have watched this movie over the years but it has been quite a few. I have owned the original, Ultimate and Extreme Edition DVDs. For me it has always represented forward thinking, advance technology and intelligent filmmaking.
As a fan I didn’t miss Terminator 3: Rise of the machines when it hit theaters in 2003. Cameron was out but Arnold was back along with director Jonathan (U-571) Mostow. The story isn’t as compelling but the amped up action sequences, state of the art special effects and Kristanna Loken as the T-X made it a worthy addition to the series.
Terminator Salvation made headlines long before the film hit theaters thanks to an on set tirade by star Christian Bale. When it was released I had high hopes for another quality Terminator film installment and Bale along with director McG, co-star Sam Worthington and a strong supporting cast ensemble didn’t disappoint. I thought that this film was well done and made a natural progression in its move toward bringing us to the post judgment day world occupied by John Connor as an adult. I liked the human side to the story relative to John’s attempts to locate Kyle while struggling with his inner voice telling him to trust Marcus while everything he knows and experienced tells him not to. The well integrated plot conjoins with previous installments in the franchise while also giving us new characters, a chance to see a bit about the workings of the resistance movement, and a few of the machines/terminators including the “new” T-800 which is the model that is sent back in time to kill Sarah (in the first film). Action/mayhem abounds and there are plenty of excellent special effects to go along with the nicely balanced script.
T2 remains my personal favorite but as a whole the film series is well executed and just plain fun. The Terminator character has an iconic status that is recognizable the world over which speaks volumes. This is owed to James Cameron’s vision as well as star Arnold Schwarzenegger’s interpretation/portrayal of the character.
This five disc set is a Best Buy Exclusive that brings all four films together for the first time. It contains the latest Blu-ray release of each film which includes both the Director and Theatrical cuts of Terminator Salvation (along with its bonus features disc) and T2 Skynet Edition. There is nothing contained herein that hasn’t been previously released. The set comes in a sturdy foldout cardboard case with each of the first three films located in a single/standard disc holder. Terminator Salvation’s two discs are in an overlapping disc holder/configuration. All of the discs are easily accessible and secure. The face of the case has an embossed Terminator face which is visible through the “T” opening/cutout of the case’s slipcover (which is pretty flimsy).
For fans that already own these in high definition there is little reason to pick this up. If you don’t own all of these this might be worth considering especially if the price is right. It provides a chance to have them all together and makes for a nice looking keepsake.
These films contain strong sci-fi violence and action, language and brief nudity.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Terminator comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p MEPG-2 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 17 Mbps and lossless uncompressed 5.1 channel PCM audio that has a constant bitrate of 4.6 Mbps.
T2 Judgment Day: Skynet Edition comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 6.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.1 mbps.
Terminator 3: Rise of the machines comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 17 Mbps and lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital audio that has a constant bitrate of 640 kbps.
Terminator Salvation comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.2 Mbps.
I reviewed T2 and Terminator Salvation on Blu-ray and will include portions of my comments from those reviews here. I will rate the audio/video separately and provide each rating at the end with the total reflected above.
I will start off with The Terminator which utilizes the same MPEG-2 high definition transfer that has been handed down since the film first came to Blu-ray. This is a lackluster high definition video presentation that is routinely soft and lacking in fine articulation. There are occasional moments where a close up will reveal a higher level of discernible texture in facial features but rendering still falls short of the crispness and resolute depth of the better catalog Blu-ray releases I have seen. Blacks are fairly deep but crushed and shadow detail is just average which makes dark segments appear one dimensional and flat. Colors are cleanly rendered but are not particularly vibrant and fleshtones have a balmy tonal quality that leaves them looking dull and a bit lifeless. The print show obvious signs of wear and compression artifacts are occasionally visible predominantly in low level scenes.
The lossless uncompressed PCM soundtrack is presented in a robust surround mix that makes ample use of the entire platform. Dialogue is clearly rendered although there are instances where prioritization is questionable. I suspect that that is a limitation of the original recording and I would rather have it sound natural than artificially enhanced and hokey. The soundfield is one dimensional during quieter sequences but has discernible front channel separation and fair clarity. The soundstage opens up during the action based scenes as the various sounds/effects emanate from the rear channels to create an enveloping but not an especially involving listening experience. The volume of the rear channels is mixed a little hot which affects the transition between the front/rear soundstages. Considering the age of this recording I was impressed with its dynamic range as low frequency effects have fair solidity and notable impact. Overall I enjoyed this new surround sound mix. It isn’t especially faithful but it was fun nonetheless.
Video rating = 70 Audio rating = 82
Terminator 2: Judgment Day – Skynet Edition:
Resolution is excellent as images are appreciably detailed with discerning subtle minutia during close ups and mid level camera pans. Clarity is very good but not definitively so as the video has a bit of a smooth texture that prevents it from appearing razor sharp. It unquestionably looks superior to any of the DVD versions that I have owned. Many of the interior venues and dark sequences have a cool bluish cast that gives them an intentional monochromatic aesthetic that can make it them appear a bit drab. When used colors are vivid and bright with no smearing or blooming and fleshtones appear tonally natural, crisp and lifelike. Blacks seem to mate well with the look of the film but aren’t especially deep. Visible detail in dark areas and backgrounds is never a problem as depth is excellent. Grain appears to be diminished and is noticeable here and there. I couldn’t say with certainty that noise reduction has been applied as I didn’t see any egregiously adverse effects of its use. This isn’t a reference quality presentation but in my opinion it represents this film in a positive light and looks as good as ever.
T2’s soundtrack has long since been considered a sonic tour de force and I looked forward to hearing how well it translated via lossless audio’s higher fidelity. The effects are impressive as imaging and tonal balance across the front sound stage is excellent during panning sequences. Dialogue sounds crystal clear and well textured through the center channel. The audio’s superb clarity allows fine detail present in sounds/effects and subtle inflectional changes in voices to be audible. Dynamic range is impressive as action based elements such as heavy weapon fire, explosions etc. have visceral impact and energy. High level clarity/detail enhances the perception of smaller/background elements within the recording and added realism to sounds that have more prominence. Surround sound activity is abundant as the mix uses discrete and ambient directional cues to deliver an enriching, immersive and demonstrative aural experience. Low frequency detail is present throughout and maintains a palpable presence that escalates at times. It has solid depth and authority as it delivers clean, tight bass extension that rumbles through the room nicely.
Video rating = 84 Audio rating = 88
Terminator 3 - Rise of the machines:
Overall resolution in the 2.35:1 framed video is not as definitive as the best high definition presentations I have seen on Blu-ray but it good most of the time. Images exhibited clean lines, with fluctuating levels of detail and warm flesh tones. Colors look natural with ample saturation and vivid primaries. Black levels are above average and shadow delineation reveals discernible structure in backgrounds during low light sequences and dark areas of the picture. The best looking shots are wide angle daytime pans of various locations featured in the film. Grain is rendered in fine even layers and video related anomalies are kept to a minimum.
I find it annoying that this film only got a lossy Dolby Digital soundtrack on Blu-ray. For a time the DVD’s extended chase sequence served as a go to for surround sound demonstrations in my theater room and I would love to experience it via lossless sound. Be that as it may this track still has plenty of moxie. The soundtrack has excellent dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes ample use of the entire surround platform to drive the film’s elements. The music, coupled along with well integrated discrete and ambient sound effects, plays an intricate role in this active surround mix. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable. The low frequency effects channel is active as the subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the palpably rich bass and dynamic impact associated with the action based sequences. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage.
Video rating = 82 Audio rating = 88
This film has an intentionally stylized visual design that utilizes a limited color scheme that works aesthetically well for the films futuristically sci-fi and barren setting. The color range is limited to shades of steely blue, gray and black with splashes of crimson and muted sepia tones. Warm accents are used here and there to break up the film’s monochromatic essence. Fleshtones hold up nicely against the de-saturated chroma and don’t appear unnatural. Uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast is spot on which empowers whites and grays without washing away detail. Whites are punchy and grays are multi-staged and deep. The use of CGI and green screens softens some elements during wide angle pans but I never found it to be overtly distracting. I found the quality of the video to be high. It isn’t always razor sharp but it’s cleanly rendered with plenty of subtle refinement and delineation that enhanced depth and revealed fine detail in objects, clothing, and physical features. Blacks are dynamic and gradationally revealing which combines with excellent detail in low light and shadowy backgrounds to provide a strong sense of dimension.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is demonstration quality and is sure to please those who like to play their systems loud. This recording has wide dynamic range and boasts superlative clarity and high level detail. Dialogue is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it penetrates well into the room. I never had any trouble distinguishing changes in the pitch or inflection of voices. Channel separation and imaging is excellent. This draws out both large and small sound elements and allows their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable. The mix makes effective and often aggressive use of the surround channels to reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds contained in this demanding soundtrack. The listening position is submerged into a 360 degree web of sound that is sometimes riveting as it bombards the senses with a combination of discretely placed near field and panning sound effects. This is a dynamically charged sound mix that utilizes low frequency effects to provide occasionally prodigious bass capable of viscerally potent impact. This a rewarding and reference quality audio presentation that is guaranteed to rock your home theater.
Video rating = 88 Audio rating = 94
The Terminator :
- Creating The Terminator: Visual effects & music – 13 minute featurette
- Terminator: A retrospective (making of ) with Arnold Schwarzenegger & James Cameron – 20 minutes
- 7 Terminated scenes -
Terminator 2: Judgment Day Skynet Edition:
- Theatrical and Extended Cuts of the film
- Production commentary hosted by Van Ling – featuring multiple cast/crew
- Writer/Director commentary – featuring William Wisher and James Cameron
- Interactive Modes:
- Visual implants - PiP
- Trivia data overlay – Text commentary/trivia
- Production data overlay – Shooting methods
- Linked data modules – Behind the scenes
- Schematics – Storyboards as it follows film
- Source code – Original screenplay as it follows the film
- Query mode – T2 trivia quiz
- Processor tests – (Mini) game mode
- Ancillary Data Visual campaigns
- (HD)Teaser trailer
- (HD)Theatrical trailer 1 and 2
- (HD) T2 Special Edition trailer
- (HD) T2 THX trailer
- (HD) 2 deleted scenes with optional commentary by Stan Winston, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick and James Cameron
- D-Box Motion Code enabled
- BD-Live: Skynet Access (BD Profile 2.0 player required)
Terminator 3: Rise of the machines:
- In movie experience : Interactive PiP feature with director Jonathan Mostow
- Introduction by Arnold Schwarzenegger
- HBO First Look – 13 minute featurette
- Dressed to kill – 2 minute production featurette
- Audio commentary by cast/crew/director
- 2 additional scenes
- Toys in action feature
- Making of the Terminator 3 video game
- Theatrical and video game trailers
- (HD) Maximum Movie Mode - An uncompromising 360 degree look at the film and its production as described by Director McG as the film plays out. It includes facts, inside/behind the scenes information and is far from your everyday run of the mill BonusView track. It is broken down into 9 segments (see below) that can also be viewed independently.
- (HD) Focus points:
- Digital destruction
- Enlisting the Air force
- Molten metal and the science of simulation
- Building the gas station
- Creating the VLA attack
- Exploding Serena’s lab in miniature
- An icon returns
- Terminator factory
- Stan Winston shop
- Napalm blast
- (HD) Reforging the future – 19 minute featurette
- (HD) The Moto-Terminator – 8 minute featurette
The Terminator needs little introduction and has thrilled fans the world over for nearly thirty years. James Cameron’s characters and story have engaged audiences over the span of four films to date. Each has a special place within the series with Terminator 2 Judgment Day being the crowning achievement (in this writer’s humble opinion). Warner Home Video is offering this five disc Anthology via a Best Buy Exclusive offer that brings all four films together for the first time. It contains the latest Blu-ray release of each film which includes both the Director and Theatrical cuts of Terminator Salvation (along with its bonus features disc) and T2 Skynet Edition. There is nothing contained herein that hasn’t been previously released. For fans that already own these films in high definition there is little reason to pick this up. If you don’t own all of them this might be worth considering especially if the price is right. It provides a chance to have them all together and makes for a nice looking keepsake.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package