(Movie review written in 2000)
Many wondered whether or not the sequel to the "Terminator" would be quite as good as the first film and with a master filmmaker like Cameron at the helm (as well as many advances in technology), the film was up to the task, equaling the first film, which many thought (and still think) to be a science-fiction classic. While the film is more of an action, "think later, ask questions tomorrow" picture, there is still a lot to like about the movie.
The film stars Edward Furlong as John Connor, who in the future will become the leader in the war against the cyborgs. In the sequel, two of the machines return to the past for two different reasons. The terminator from the original film (Schwartzenegger) has been re-programmed by Connor to protect himself in the past. On the other hand, there's a T-1000(Robert Patrick) who has also been sent to kill Connor. His mother (Linda Hamilton) has been locked up in a mental hospital for her rants about the upcoming disaster, but of course, that won't last for very long.
This time the original Terminator has to follow Connor's orders, and the film does have some fun and interesting moments where the creature tries to learn about humanity. Cameron is such an impressive filmmaker because he constantly pushes the boundaries of filmmaking; whether it's the horrors of the "Abyss" production(detailed wonderfully on the DVD documentary) or taking on the even bigger "Titanic".
"Terminator 2" is simply a fun flick; a little overly violent at times (less could be a little more, but just my humble opinion), but still very entertaining and well-acted by Arnold, Linda Hamilton and the young Furlong. Robert Patrick (who now will apparently be seen on "The X-Files") also makes a perfect villian as the advanced robot. The film's special effects may be a little bit out-of-date at this point, but I think they work for the movie and never seemed flawed or problematic.
Artisan's new Blu-Ray release contains the original theatrical version (136 min), a special edition version (153 min) and material from the Extended Special Edition.
VIDEO: "Terminator 2" is presented on this latest Blu-Ray edition by Artisan in 2.35:1 (1080p/VC-1) and the results - while definitely not perfect - are an improvement in some regards. Sharpness and detail weren't stunning, but the picture did offer pleasing clarity and definition during most scenes (although it lacks the sort of "three-dimensional" feel of the best titles on the format.)
Unfortunately, edge enhancement is still visible in several scenes, but to a lesser degree than on previous home video editions of the picture. Some minor print wear is also spotted at times, but the scattered, infrequent specks and marks seen were hardly much of a distraction. A few slight traces of pixelation were also spotted. Colors looked punchier on this transfer, appearing more vibrant and well-saturated in comparison to prior editions.
SOUND: The Blu-Ray boasts a hefty DTS-MA 6.1 soundtrack. Although the audio doesn't have the layers and detail of some more modern soundtracks, while it lacks in detail it makes up for in pure aggressive force. Surrounds kicked in on many occasions to provide thrilling effects and enjoyably detailed ambience. Audio quality was a treat, as the forceful audio presentation boasted powerful, deep bass in many scenes, as well as crisp, punchy effects. Dialogue remained crisp and clear, never seeming overwhelmed by the action.
EXTRAS: Commentary: There are quite a number of people who are featured on this commentary track, but unfortunately, these are made up of various interview segements that were done and edited together for this track. A similar example is what MGM has done for many of the old James Bond films. This time, supervisor (also for the DVD of Cameron's "The Abyss") Van Ling (who was the creative supervisor on T2) is the narrator of the commentary track, introducing people and also, adding information on his own. Some of the people who we hear from on this commentary track are Composer Brad Fidel, actors Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Robert Patrick, director James Cameron, sound designer Gary Rydstrom and many of the special visual/physical effects crew who worked on the film.
It's unfortunate that there could not be a newly recorded commentary track with participants from the film, but the comments that are recorded here for this edited commentary provide pretty much everything we need to know since we hear from so many people who were involved with the picture. The actors provide their perspective on the story and their characters, Fidel has some very insightful comments on the role of the score in the film and Cameron inserts his thoughts now and again, as well.
From the "Extreme Edition" is a commentary from director James Cameron and writer William Wisher. Cameron is the primary participant, doing much of the discussion throughout the track. Enthusiastic and often quite fascinating, the director launches into a discussion of nearly every aspect of the picture, from effects to constructing the action sequences and much more. Wisher does share details about the writing process and his involvement with the picture.
Also included on this edition are a series of interactive features, starting with "Visual Implants", which allows viewers to see picture-in-picture "making of" material (made up of material from the prior releases.) "Trivia Data Overlay" offers trivia on a subtitle track, while "Production Data Overlay" offers production text data over the film. "Schematics" offers storyboard material throughout the film, while "Source Code" shows the script as the film plays. Finally, "Query Mode" offers a quiz while the movie is playing.
Also included are a series of trailers, a couple of deleted scenes from the extended special edition (with commentary.) The title is also D-Box enabled.
Final Thoughts: "T2" still remains a fantastically entertaining sci-fi action film, with classic scenes, an involving story, memorable villain and solid performances. The new "Skynet" Blu-Ray edition offers mildly improved audio/video, but the majority of the extras are material from prior releases.
The Film A