By: TheTerminatorFans.com On November 25th, 2017
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 2D is the remastered version of the 3D release recently shown at theaters.
This review is for the standard Blu-ray of the release, which the majority of you will be watching; with 4K you are obviously going to get that extra HD boost to your viewing experience and if you import the UK 3D edition of the movie and have a 3D setup you are going to be able to take advantage of that experience. This version of the movie will also be available on DVD for those fans who have not made the leap to the Blu-Ray format, so no-one is left out!
The Blu-Ray contains the “Theatrical Cut Version”, the “Special Edition Version” and also the “Extended Special Edition Version”- fans are used this standard set up from previous DVD and Blu-Ray releases of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
The bad news is that instead of giving us a remaster of those deleted scenes/alternate cuts; seemless branching has been utilized to cut between the new remaster and those scenes… the negative is that it does take you out the movie somewhat- due to a notable difference in look and picture quality that the deleted scenes have in comparison to the new remaster. Even though we personally prefer the theatrical cut of T2 it would have been nice if the deleted scenes/T-1000/Special Edition scenes had been remastered too for movie buffs and fans that do like the special edition version. We should just be appreciative that the other cuts were included at all.
The positive of the inclusion of the deleted scenes is that you can really tell just how different the conversion is in comparison… At times it can be hard to differentiate a remastered version from the memory of the film you are watching without a side by side comparison. This is something we wanted to do but we don’t fancy any legal problems by ripping blu-rays… Pirating is bad m’kay? Also that would spoil what this release has to offer fans in terms of surprises.
We’ve read some of earlier reviews from DVD and Blu-Ray buffs calling this conversion poor quality and commentators calling this an overall poor, lazy job but we have to say that we really don’t care too much about the much talked about DNR issues. However applying DNR (Digital Noise Reduction) is seen as a lazy way to remove noise and grain from a movie but in doing this process you lose some of the finer detail.
Some fans including TheTerminatorFans.com staff members actually prefer the look of the first Terminator movie and find real film reel and the natural grindhouse lens grit appealing. Of course we also loved the aesthetic look of Terminator 2 due to the polished visuals, and yes, Terminator 2 was filmed on film too but with better cameras and a number of years on from the first picture (not to mention the sequel obviously had a bigger budget). A none DNR’d version of the movie as an option would have been up our alley with just some basic touch ups (like removing obvious dust and speckles from the film reel itself).
It is of course understandable that the loss of quality is a boiling point for some fans but a decision was obviously made to offer fans a clean vision of Terminator 2 and it does come at some cost. Some fans will appreciate the sacrifice… some won’t and Terminator fans are a hard bunch to please anyway. Sometimes characters like Arnold are void of detail and look almost waxy and like CG in some scenes.
You would think that a loss of detail would mean everything would be blurred to the hilt but text/insignia on vehicles, street signs and set pieces can be seen clearly- it is far from watching a movie that appears to have had Vaseline smeared all over the lens of the camera. In 1080p the film looks pretty damn good.
Fans expect the best that is totally understandable and this website has taken a very critical stance on the franchise and with high expectations set in stone the demand for a better quality franchise and we will to some degree defend the remastered version of T2 from all the DNR naysayers but they have a solid right to the opinions they express and are justified to fling some shi… *ahem* mud around- we too expected better, while we are not reviewing the 4K release; the 4K heads expect the best especially when it comes to a James Cameron movie.
The focus of this remaster was 3D and of course resources and time went into a 3D conversion process perhaps if all resources were put into the 2D process little or no complaint would exist.
So let me talk a little about the movie itself and how this remaster impacted on me. It is really difficult for Terminator 2: Judgment Day to have any new impact on me due to the amount of times I have seen the movie, I can’t get any emotion from the ending anymore but as a small boy, yes, I felt the pain.
I am however still impressed by the pacing, the filming techniques and the human story. The film makers knew they were taking a risk turning Arnold into the good guy, some of us like it, some of us don’t and that is just the way it is.
The remaster does make it into a fresher experience but it wasn’t as new or as exciting as I’d hoped it would be. If I was watching this in 3D then I’d be constantly looking for notable 3D gags/effects and that draws out a certain level of excitement but the digital fixes/changes are what the 2D experience mainly hinges on and I found myself having the most unique and fun experience of the remaster by listening; the sound mastering changes are stunning and listening to the awesome score by Brad Fiedel pumping throughout the production definitely rejuvenates the experience.
Which moment had the most impact on me in watching the remaster? Shockingly it was Sarah’s dream sequence in the desert, where she begins to have her nightmare, as her boots walked in to frame flattening the grass- I got chills (yes, I seem to be having an issue with grass in Terminator 2 3D) the sound of the grass as she moved across it; I really felt the sound remaster changes and then when her nightmare kicked off and the blast wave hits it was one of the times I got lost in the movie once again which is hard to happen, it was this moment that gripped me and kept me gripped until the movie ended.
As CGI makes its first big appearance in the franchise it did it well; especially for the decade- back in 1991, we have to say that the T-1000 effects look really good in the remaster but even though impressive our team is split, mostly loving practical effects more so than the CG- ILM did a great job though and the story did call for it.
“To me both the first film and the second film were about the dehumanizing effect of technology and of the technical society where people lose their humanity and their empathy; whether its a psychologist who doesn’t listen to the patient, whether its a cop, an authority figure/soldier.”
Joe Morton, like Jim, also puts the story of T2 well in words in the new Terminator documentary (more on that later). Joe says the movie is an anti-authoritarianism movie; making the audience question the actions people in charge like psychiatrists, the police and authorities that control our daily lives. This is so right, James Cameron always had an interesting sub narrative running through his movies and this was it for Terminator 2- of course the value of human life was an obvious factor but the authority complex runs deep underneath to a point where no one really picks up on it.
Joe Morton was so great in this movie and it was interesting to hear that he also had an argument about a key scene in the movie, give and take makes James Cameron better at his art- although a lot of the time he is right but not always.
William Wisher also as co-writer of the movie weighs in the story:
“Jim and I both share a belief in the strength of human will. Every human being has the potential inside them to change the world, so the very idea that we would see John Connor as a young man starting to become who he was gonna have to be… it just seemed like the right story to do.”
I personally never tire of Linda Hamilton’s performance as Sarah Connor, she shines so brightly in the movie and although she becomes a Terminator (focused on killing Dyson) her relationship between her and her son is the heart of the movie. James Cameron recently criticized the character for being a lousy mother but we don’t agree, this woman moves heaven and earth for her son and even puts up with a T-800 CSM-101 to ensure his survival- which is a lot to ask of a woman who encountered one in 1984 and especially as he wore the face of the thing that killed the love of her life.
Sometimes the color changes in the remaster felt off, sometimes they felt right and better than ever. I have a huge admiration and respect for Adam Greenberg and he was one of the first names as a child that I was seeking out (after Jim Cameron’s) because of his visual flair- I really wanted to know who was responsible for the look of shots in the first two Terminator movies. The much loved blue hues remain but feel to me to have a touch more green in there than I had anticipated but the first movie played more so with those green tones so I was not hugely put off and I still enjoyed the whole opening sequence. The future war is a true blue nightmare and looks like it had a fair dollop of remastering effort put into it and the rear projection elements look perfectly fine. The green tone starts to shift in for me more so from the present onward.
The first smash of color vibrancy that really hit me in the face is when the T-1000 turns up to see the Voight’s to ask for the picture of John- the green grass looked great and Terminator 2 by day was definitely as fresh as a summer day. Adam Greenberg was involved in the color selection/grading process for this remaster so maybe he is living up to his name in good form.
When you have watched a movie many times it does strike you as something is off even if just slightly different, especially if you loved the original presentation. In a way like any remaster sometimes this is just a case of adjusting to change and if you can’t adjust you might be sticking with previous editions out of loyalty to old school coloration.
Teal description on wikipedia:
“Teal is a medium blue-green color, similar to cyan. Its name comes from that of a bird—the common teal —which presents a similarly colored stripe on its head.”
Marcus of TheTerminatorFans.com notes the use of teal:
“The new color timing is far too teal and it is not in line with the original movie. The same exact thing was also said about the remaster of The Terminator. It’s like taking the Mona Lisa, and changing the colors. Sure, the smile is still there, however it is not the same painting”
Watching the remaster has a great nostalgic effect due to that inner child connection but I felt more could have been done with the digital trickery that only seems present in the first quarter of the movie, we get a taste for it and then it’s simply gone. Yes of course; no Director wants to be cited as pulling a George Lucas (especially James Cameron) by inserting new scenes or inserting digital characters into scenes that were not there before because it is of course stupid but when you start to perfect flaws you enhance the flaws elsewhere.
One of the first moments I got annoyed was at the Corral Bar and Grill- no, they did not fix the steam jet stream when Arnold throws the biker onto the grill- this would have been so easy to fix digitally and in this HD 1080p remaster it really stood out more than ever… I can’t even bear to think how this sore thumb will stand out on the 4K release.
Robert Patrick’s testicles (when he is nude and kneels on the floor) has a digital trick to conceal his man sausage and meat and if you had not seen the movie before you wouldn’t even know. I can really appreciate little tweaks like this even if it was just a way of protecting the age classification of Terminator 2 because Robert Patrick’s penis was about the most hardcore thing in the movie but personally I don’t need or want to see it so I don’t mind it being hidden- although I am pretty sure many people might smash up their blu-ray players when they don’t see Robert’s junk in full HD glory.
On the point of things gaining more clarity and flaws becoming more apparent then the blame really sits with Cameron’s use of rear projection back in the day. We hate green screen with a passion and after watching this remaster I can safely say we hate rear projection too- it worked in the first Terminator for the time and with the great practical stop motion animation of the Endoskeleton and tanker explosion as an example- the Endoskeletons in the start of the future war of T2 I know used rear projection and stop motion for the full shot background Endoskeletons walking and used in that sparse fashion; it looked great and as a huge fan of practical effects it is sublime when used correctly but I understand the bike transfer using it to show an up close shot of Schwarzenegger and Furlong but I can’t forgive the night ride of the T-800, Sarah and John after the Pescadero escape- the remaster makes it look worse than ever as the car bounces out of sync with the rear projection footage- why couldn’t they just have driven for real?
It feels lazy and you then start to ask, well, why couldn’t they have fixed this monstrosity with Digital Trickery too? Also fix that shit LED eye on Schwarzenegger for the end of the movie because in this HD quality it looks like a bloody mess and if people want to justify it as a broken eye- well it doesn’t look like a Terminator eye to me- it looks like a shitty little LED sticking out of great make-up. They go to all effort to impose Arnold’s face in a perfect face swap for the bike transfer and leave other stunt actors faces unchanged- it just feels lackluster.
Before that perfect bike transfer job of Arnold’s face imposed over stunt double Peter Kent we had the jump- a pretty good job too but don’t dare watch it in slow mo because it looks like a dodgy gif/photoshop job.
After abandoning any notable fixes beyond the canal chase it makes me as a fan want to pick holes in the release; for example James Cameron made such a big deal about fixing the window gag and restoring it into the truck when it jumps into the drainage canal but the next shot of the truck the window is bent inwards- cut to Arnold- and on cut back to the truck again the window is more or less perfect. It feels half-assed but don’t worry when James Cameron reaches 100 years of age and has gone blind from watching Avatar movies back to back in Virtual 8DX he will be releasing Terminator 2 12K in 8D and he will address all these issues then.
Negatives aside this a must have for any Terminator 2 Fan, personally you may find this critique hard but would we go back to watching the DVD or other Blu-Ray releases after watching the remaster? The answer is yes and no but once in a blue Pandora I might want to break out the first two movies on VHS/DVD for the full retro experience but I will be sticking with this remaster for now if I need a HD T2 fix…
Now if I could send a blu-ray player, adapters and a copy of this blu-ray- wrap it in living tissue and send it back in time to when I was a child then I’d be the happiest Terminator fan boy in the world. Now- where is our remaster of THE TERMINATOR?
The new documentary for the release is really great. it features new interviews James Cameron, William Wisher, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Patrick, Joe Morton, Edward Furlong, Brad Fiedel, Mario Kassar, Stephanie Austin, Adam Greenberg and Dennis Murren. Sadly there is no Linda Hamilton presence and Jim and Arnold do the talking for her which is pretty sad- it is unknown if she was asked at all or just turned the opportunity down but there’s a strong feeling that STUDIOCANAL may have underestimated how important she was in promotion for Terminator 2 3D and it’s a mistake to have not asked her back (if they didn’t try and this wasn’t a case of clashing schedules).
Stories start with Mario kassar (the man responsible for Terminator 2) getting 50% of the rights off Hemdale and 50% of the rights off Gale Anne Hurd and luring James Cameron (who wanted do do other projects) back with a 6 million dollar pay deal. We get great insight into the process of making Terminator 2 from story to T-1000 effects… not given enough credit yet again are practical effects with Stan Winston Studios only getting brief mentions (disappointing).
Something I have to mention is Edward Furlong’s interview and it is painful to watch. We love Eddie and would like nothing more to see him back in top form and returning to Terminator but Edward does not look in good shape and it really worries us at TheTerminatorFans.com, whether he is ill- the fact remains that he is slurring and although communicating pretty well it comes across as if he is definitely intoxicated/high legally or illegally. Edward probably had little notice to do this interview and it has done him an injustice to to get in good shape- he probably didn’t even anticipate that they would ask him to do an interview or that they would ever offer him the chance to return to Terminator now.
We don’t like Edward being the brunt of jokes, he is a great Actor, we understand his past is troubled but he needs to understand that the fans really care about him and to turn this around for himself and all the terminator fans. We do not want to find out that one of the youngest ever Terminator cast members is dead any time soon, we have said it before and we will say it again; can someone in authority and involved with the franchise (past or present) go and offer Edward some fucking help and support and just see if he is willing to take the challenge of fixing himself up for a lead role in Terminator 7 or something.
Maybe a Terminator return is just what Edward needs at this point and a seriously strong contract to make sure he sticks to fighting to come back to the fans once again.
This is a great documentary though, the lack of Linda is disapointing but there is lots of nice footage of her and behind the scenes video that even we have never seen before. This documentary adds to the must buy factor of the release.
You also get the original 1992 making of and trailers and as mentioned; the basics you would expect to find on a T2 release.
Commentaries by James Cameron and William Wisher add to the fun and all the wealth of other content that made previous home releases of T2 special. We shouldn’t really go on because we don’t want to ruin the content for you or the movie itself.
An awesome new documentary and a totally fresh way to watch the second Terminator movie makes it worth looking past the DNR issues. If you are not an overly critical HD stat head and you love T2 you will forgive any shortfalls.
Terminator 2’s remaster sounds and looks cleaner than ever. Color changes may or may not annoy you. The saving grace of the release is the new documentary, the menus and overall presentation on disc by STUDIOCANAL is great aside from the backwards “A” in the word Terminator- which is the right way around in the documentary intro funnily enough.
If you’re a big fan of Terminator 2- you are gonna love or hate this release but it is worth buying just to have your own personal “Judgment Day”.
After you see it, come back and tell us what you thought in the comments below.
The original 35mm negative was scanned and then restored in 4k at Deluxe L.A., under the supervision of Geoff Burdick from Light storm. The film was calibrated in 4k by Skip, James Cameron’s colorist, at Technicolor Hollywood, with a selection of the best 35mm prints from the film’s first release. The film was then converted into 3D by Stereo D (Star Wars, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic world).
This work lasted almost a year and was monitored daily by Light storm’s teams, to produce a high-end 3D version at the level of the latest 3D releases from U.S. Studios. The 3D version then benefited from a calibration and a specific finish at Technicolor Hollywood, still under the supervision of Skip and James Cameron himself.
The restoration project was initiated by Light storm (lei), James Cameron’s production company, DMG Entertainment and STUDIOCANAL. James Cameron’s team oversaw this 3D conversion from start to finish. This highly experienced and award-winning team had already supervised Titanic‘s 3D conversion and is currently working on the Avatar sequels.
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Categories: 3D • Arnold Schwarzenegger • Behind The Scenes • Blu-Ray • Carolco Pictures • Cast • Characters • Danny Dyson • Directors • DMG Entertainment • Dr. Peter Silberman • Earl Boen • Edward Furlong • Endoskeleton • Events • Fans • Gale Anne Hurd • Hemdale • Home Releases • Hunter Killer (HK) • ILM • Interviews • James Cameron • Jenette Goldstein • Joe Morton • John Connor • John Daly • Linda Hamilton • Make-Up • Mario Kassar • Mark Christopher Lawrence • Michael Biehn • Michael Edwards • Movies • Peter Kent • Producers • Reports • Reviews • Robert Patrick • S. Epatha Merkerson • Sarah Connor • Science Fiction • SkyNet • Stan Winston • Stephanie Austin • STUDIOCANAL • Stunts • T-1000 • T-800 • T-800 Battle Damaged • T-800 Endoskeleton • Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) • Theatrical Release • Todd Voight • Trailers • VFX • VHS • William Wisher Jnr. • Writers • Xander Berkeley