'Terminator 2 Judgment Day' is one of those movies that has had a long and sordid history on the home video market. While the "Skynet Edition's" VC-1 image was in my opinion quite strong and an improvement over the previous theatrical cut only Blu-ray release - the use of DNR was a bit off-putting, leaving the cast looking waxy and very shiny, but it was still pretty good. In a bit of a course correction, it appears that Lionsgate has done a bit of a stealth remaster with a new AVC encode that retains the film's grain structure. The results may be tough for some to spot. Detail levels in my eyes are just a hair stronger all around. The first real immediate difference appears to be intricate facial features and some of the detailing in costuming in close ups. Wide shots are also greatly improved but may be a but tougher for some to notice. The previous release also felt a bit flat. Part of this "flatness" is due to the Super 35 film stock and processing, but the DNR employed in the previous disc flattened the image even further. Now with the fine grain retained, the film takes on a more pleasent three dimensional feel - especially during daylight scenes. Colors were already pretty good, but they appear to be tweaked ever so slightly for this release. These results aren't immediately apparent but on a closer examination flesh tones look a bit more natural and a little less pinkish. Where this new release is truly noticeable is during the red "Terminator Vision" sequences. Where the Skynet Edition looked a bit smeary and "video" this new transfer restores the grit, improves the detail, and kicks the depth up a notch or two. Compression artifacts like banding are virtually non-apparent with this 2015 release so when Sarah walks through the grass in her dream or Dr. Silberman's coat for example don't have that irritating effect any more. Both discs use the same print and feature the same mild instances of speckling, but I tip my hat to this transfer as being the strongest of the two. The included screenshots I managed to snag may not highlight the noticeable differences as the results are much easier to see when the images are in motion.
Another day, another release of 'Terminator 2 Judgment Day' on home video. I don't think I can really add anything more to the dialogue about this film - it's just an amazing piece of cinema that built on its predecessor in every way. Whether or not one feels that it is as good as or surpasses the original is subjective, 'T2' will always be a classic movie in my book, and one that I frequently revisit. As far as the necessity of this 2015 Blu-ray release from Lionsgate goes - it's a bit of a toss up. On one hand I strongly feel the picture quality offers a noticeable improvement in the areas of depth, color and detail - but if you were already impressed with the previous Skynet Edition release, the modest image improvement may not be enough of an impetus to warrant another purchase, regardless of the bargain price point. The audio, while being a 5.1 mix, is just as strong and impactful as ever. The biggest issue for many will be the fact this release doesn't include all of the previous editions' special features. While I'm personally glad Lionsgate cut the crappy games and online functions that rarely if ever loaded that were featured in the "Skynet Edition," I'm a bit peeved that the Audio Commentaries didn't make the cut. Considering this movie is almost 25 years old and we're on the cusp of yet another advancement in home video viewing with Ultra-HD Blu-ray - this will hardly be the final release of 'Terminator 2 Judgment Day' on disc. I'm still calling this release as highly recommended since the film is still amazing and the picture poses a nice upgrade over previous releases, but my advice is if you own this film already on Blu-ray, buy with a hint of caution. If you've yet to purchase 'T2' on Blu-ray then this is your better option of what's out there on the market.
Perhaps I'm asking too many questions. Because strip away all the post-apocalyptic talk, all the Sarah-John intra-family melodramatics, and the numerous time-travel plot holes (though to be fair, time travel itself is one big plot hole), and 'T2' still works like gangbusters. It's one great big action spectacle full of explosions, car chases, lots of cyborg fighting and Edward Furlong spouting lines like "Affirmative" in his mini-Keanu Reeves baritone. So what's not to love, even if I miss some of the low-budget charm and inventiveness of the original? And really, can any movie that features a Terminator asking, "Why do you cry?" be all bad?
by Bryant Frazer I remember the summer of 1991, when Terminator 2: Judgment Day landed in movie theatres with all the fuck-you noise, power, and momentum of a Ford Freightliner crashing from an L.A. thoroughfare overpass into a concrete spillway below. It was the year of Operation Desert Storm and the ending of the Cold War, the year LAPD officers were videotaped beating Rodney King. With the release of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" still a few months away, latter-day cock-rocker Axl Rose still led the most popular band in America. It had been a pretty good year for women in film, even if the material was grim--Jodie Foster helped open The Silence of the Lambs at #1 in February and Davis/Sarandon kick-started a thousand feminist (and anti-feminist) thinkpieces when Thelma & Louise arrived in May. But the main movie event of the summer was the testosterone-laden sequel to The Terminator. Serenaded by a hit single from Axl's Guns N' Roses, heralded as the most expensive movie ever made, and stuffed with apocalyptic imagery, T2 roared onto screens, smacked you upside the head, and stole your lunch money, then smirked about it as it strolled away.
Meanwhile, the T-800's belligerent-jock behaviour is mitigated only by fealty to the needs of a child. Cameron is determined to make this a movie about mothers and fathers, and Schwarzenegger's big daddy is the sole character with real growth. (Basically: #notallterminators.) As sad robots go, this one's screen demise falls short of Roy Batty's "Tears in Rain" speech in pathos but greatly exceeds it in corniness. The last we see of him, he's being lowered into a pool of molten lava, giving the thumbs-up as he disappears under the blazing orange surface. The T-800 isn't (just) an übermensch. He's Big Jesus with big guns, heaven-sent, sacrificing himself to balance out all the failure and inadequacies of mankind--a cartoonish exaggeration of Reagan-Bush era masculine ideals presented as tear-jerking religious allegory. Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a master class in action direction, yes, but it's so efficient and tense that its tone remains oppressive throughout--relentless, aggressive, self-satisfied--and its main characters are assholes. Like a Terminator, it's a little hard to love.
NOTHING in the entertainment world generates more impressive or charming statistics than a feature-length cartoon from Walt Disney Pictures, still the world's premier studio for artful animations. Consider a few from "101 Dalmations," reissued this summer for a 30th-anniversary run:* Three years in the making, it was drawn by more than 150 studio artists and directed by three Disney veterans. * About 800 gallons of paint, weighing in at almost five tons, were used to color the film. The studio estimates that nearly 1,000 different shades appear on the screen. * Artists sharpened and wore down more than 1.2 million pencils while dashing off drawings for the film. * Precisely 6,469,952 spots appear on the bodies of the canine characters, who appear in precisely 113,760 celluloid frames. Those are pretty imposing numbers, but no more imposing than the box-office figures the movie is racking up during its latest release. Its gross reportedly approached $42 million a little over three weeks after its July 12 opening, leading to predictions that the picture could reach $60 million by summer's end - an uncommon achievement for any movie, and way above the animated-film record set by the 1938 classic "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." This clearly illustrates the show-biz wisdom behind Disney's policy of reissuing its major films at approximately seven-year intervals - this is the fourth go-round for "Dalmations" since its 1961 debut - in hopes of captivating each new generation of children, as well as parents who recall Disney hits from their own younger days. It's fair to speculate that this year's "Dalmations" revival is being further enhanced by the generally lackluster quality of most recent releases, and by the distinctly unchildlike nature of current successes like "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and its ilk. Not that "101 Dalmations" lacks drama, adventure, and even a vivid portrait of human nature at its most dastardly. The villain of the story, aptly named Cruella De Vil, is one of the most ingeniously conceived characters in any Disney film - chilling every spectator with her heartless scheme of dognapping 101 pooches and making them into a fur coat, yet carrying out her nefarious doings with such flamboyant craziness that even younger viewers seem entranced rather than frightened when she's on screen. Br illiantly drawn by the Disney artists and marvelously voice-acted by Betty Lou Gerson - whose credits include the narration of "Cinderella" back in 1950 - she stands with the great cartoon characters of all time. And she has the niftiest automobile, the destruction of which marks her well-deserved punishment at the climax of the tale. To celebrate the unforgettable Cruella is not to slight the characters who join her, however, from dalmations Pongo and Perdita to a whole brigade of supporting animals including Sergeant Tibbs the cat and Lucy the goose, and of course Horace and Jaspar, the ridiculous burglars of the story. They and their imaginatively designed English surroundings proved that Disney could devise a contemporary tale every bit as convincing and entertaining as the fairy-tale fantasies for which the studio was famous in earlier years. Coming next from the Disney magicians: "Beauty and the Beast," due in November, is a time-tested story fleshed out with superb animation and six new songs from Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, who provided music for "The Little Mermaid" two years ago. And then the expected video release of "101 Dalmations" should boost its popularity even higher than it is now. 2b1af7f3a8