Review: The Terminator Blu-ray Book

The Terminator Blu-ray BookSTUDIO: MGM/Fox | DIRECTOR: James Cameron | CAST: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
RELEASE DATE: 5/10/2011 | PRICE: Blu-ray $34.98
BONUSES: deleted scenes, featurettes
SPECS: R | 108 min. | Science-fiction | 1.85:1 aspect ratio | 5.1 Dolby Digital audio | English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Korean, Chinese subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The TerminatorJames Cameron’s The Terminator is one of the great science-fiction movies that deserves an equally great high-definition release. Unfortunately, this new Blu-ray Book isn’t it.

The disc basically holds a less compressed version of the transfer from the 2001 Special Edition DVD, and as such, the video has the same scratches and dirt. In the scene in which Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reese arrives back in time naked in an alley, the skin on his back is pocked with black dots — and it’s not because Biehn has some disease; the dots are in the sky and elsewhere too. There are even scratches that show up in the exact same place on this new Blu-ray as on the 2001 DVD. The film will always have grain, but MGM should at least restore the movie to the way it looked in theaters.

The audio is the biggest improvement. Uncompressed, the gunshots and explosions are fuller, and you can hear every crunch of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s punches and every scream of Linda Hamilton clearly. But it would be nice if MGM had given us an HD version.

This isn’t Terminator‘s first time on Blu-ray. The sci-fi film was released on the high-definition format back in 2006 in a version that also was comparable to the 2001 DVD, which in my opinion means, it’s time for some remastering.

The new disc has the same special features as the earlier Blu-ray: deleted (or “Terminated”) scenes and two featurettes, “Terminator: A Retrospective” and “Creating The Terminator Visual Effects & Music.” The deleted scenes offer some nice insight into the brief relationship of Hamilton’s Sarah Conner and Biehl’s Reese. The retrospective has an awkward-looking conversation between Cameron and Schwarzenegger. The best of the bunch is the visual effects and music featurette, which goes into detail about the making of the movie long before the computer-generated visual effects we have today.

This new Blu-ray does have better packaging than the 2006 release. MGM has set the disc inside the back cover of a nice-looking hardcover book that includes articles about the film. It has a good piece on Cameron and brief bits about the stars. They offer nothing fans don’t already know, but the “Terminator Trivia” section might have some surprises for fans, such as the fact that the Terminator is the only character to be listed in the American Film Institute’s 100 Heroes and Villains list as both a hero and a villain.


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.