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At $35.00, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY is the most expensive DVD on the market, but it is a historic release for another reason. TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY is the first commercially available DVD to employ the RSDL technology. RSDL stands for Reverse Spiral Dual Layered, which effectively eliminates the need for double sided DVDs for programs that exceed the running time limits of the DVD format. With dual layering, the DVD plays to the end of one layer and then automatically switches to the next layer, giving an almost uninterrupted playing time that should exceed four hours. When the DVD switches layers, the image freezes briefly (between a quarter of a second to a second, depending on your player) and then resumes playing the program from the second layer of information. As DVD technology improves, I’m sure that layer switching will become almost completely unnoticeable, but for right now it makes the format even more consumer friendly.

Except for the overly sentimental last five minutes, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY is a nearly perfect action-adventure/science fiction film. As I said in the past, the last five minutes of TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY are so sickeningly saccharine, one would think Steven Spielberg directed them. Aside from this minor shortcoming, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY delivers the goods. Director James Cameron co-wrote and directed this enormously popular sequel to his enormously popular original. The original TERMINATOR film was made on a exceedingly low budget, but used story and filmmaking ingenuity to create a true science fiction classic. The sequel had none of the original’s financial restrictions, and at the time of its release, ranked as one of the most expensive films of all time. With its non-stop action and cutting edge special effects, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY places every last dollar of its cost up on screen to entertain and amaze its audience.

In this sequel, Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the role of the Terminator, a cybernetic killing machine from the future. But in a twist on the original, this Terminator has been reprogrammed to be the protector of a young boy who will grow up to be the greatest freedom fighter in the future war against the machines. Linda Hamilton recreates her role as Sarah Connor, the mother of the future leader. Instead of the nave girl she was in the first film, Sarah Connor is now a lean, mean fighting machine, preparing her son for the bleak future ahead. Edward Furlong fills the role of John Connor, the future leader quite well. He’s just snotty enough to be a realistic pre-teen, without being totally obnoxious. Robert Patrick is the film’s true villain, another Terminator: model T-1000. The T-1000 is an advanced prototype made from a liquid metal, and able to mimic almost anything of equal mass. TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY was the first film to utilize computer image morphing to great effect, allowing the T-1000 to change from one form to another.

Live Entertainment should be congratulated for their new Letterboxed, THX certified presentation of the 139 minute theatrical version of TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY. This DVD is simply stunning! The image is so crystal clear and razor sharp that it sets a new standard, which other films should try to emulate. The Letterboxed transfer frames TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY close to its 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Since TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY was produced in Super-35, the depth of field and clarity of the image is startling for a film in this ratio. Every nuance of Adam Greenberg’s cinematography is recreated in this marvelous transfer. I couldn’t really detect any digital compression artifacts on this DVD. The layer switch happens rather unobtrusively, on a stagnant image at the end of chapter forty-two.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has an effective action movie mix, with a lot of bass and directional effects. The mix doesn’t use the rear channels as elaborately as newer films, but the overall effect is quite pleasing. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround soundtrack as well as French and Spanish language tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish. This DVD also features the Descriptive Video Service for the sight impaired and closed captioning for the hearing impaired.

The Interactive menus are animated and feature some cool effects. The scene selector has moving video in each window showing part of each chapter. Through the menus, one can access a theatrical trailer as well as a theatrical teaser. The menus also feature production notes as well as cast and crew biographies/filmographies.


Terminator 2: Judgment Day - The Ultimate DVD Edition



DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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