Terminator 2
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The Ultimate Terminator 2

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One of the most compulsive reasons for getting a DVD system now is to be able to watch movies in a better manner than you could see them in the theater. As such, we are now seeing DVDs produced with multiple sound formats, alternate versions and many extras. Consistent with this trend is the release of The Ultimate Terminator Two. It certainly lives up to its name. I am very sure that everyone reading this already knows the plot. A sequel the 1984 hit this story picks up about 12 years later when Sara Conner’s (Linda Hamiton) son is now grown up. In the future the evil machines that control the world once again send a terminator (Robert Patrick), a human looking killing machine, back in time to kill the boy. The boy (Edward Furlong) is destined to grow into the world leader that will oppose the rule of the machines. The resistance headed by the grown John Conner managers to send an older style terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back in time to defend the boy. Since the defending terminator looks like the one that tried to kill Sara years ago there is some natural fear of him at first. The new terminator is made of liquid metal and can change shape at will, making him far more dangerous than his predecessor.

The cast includes the two main actors from the original cast, Hamiton and Schwarzenegger. Rather than playing the helpless waitress in this film, Hamilton is extremely buff in both her appearance and military attitude. She seems to be able to live the role of a person on the run from the authorities, one that knows the exact date the world as we know it will be destroyed. Schwarzenegger gets a chance to break out of his machine like demeanor to learn how to be human. In all the roles are well played and add to the believability of the film.

The real star of this film is the director James Cameron. He is not an overly prolific director, very careful as to the projects he chooses. In this way he can spend far more time on the details of a film than the directors that seem to crank out a picture every year or two. Detail is the name of the game with a Cameron film. Every scene is shot to perfection. The staging is set like a Broadway play, every prop in place, every actor precisely on their mark. The camera and microphones becomes an extension of the audience’s eyes and ears. Typical of a Cameron film there are many, many special effects. Rather than use them to carry the story Cameron takes great care with the computer generated effects he loves so well to make them integral to the plot as well as the action. The people carry the story while the effects just makes it more believable and interesting. Cameron also uses the soundtrack to the best possible advantage. It never overwhelms the film but is there to do what it should, create and sustain the mood. Of the nine movies that are currently listed as directed by Cameron all but his very first two were run away hits. There is a reason for this, James Cameron knows how to make a movie that satisfies the movie going audience. He gives us what we want, an interesting story well told.

This film has been out on VHS tape for many years now. Like most such DVD re-releases many will ask the natural question, ‘Why should I buy this film again?’ In this case the decision is a no-brainer. The disc IS the ultimate. Not only do you get the theatrical version of the film but you also have the special edition with almost 20 minutes of extra footage. Add to this a hidden bonus of a third, extended special version and there are three movies on the disc. There is a commentary by 28 people involved in the film’s production including director, actors, special effects wizards and most crew chiefs. To help in knowing who is speaking at the moment the name and title of the person is shown above the film. The disc contains Dolby 5.1 and DTS audio, is THX certified and the anamorphic video is so clear it looks better and most theaters could ever hope for. This is the DVD that is ‘currently’ the best to show off your system and make your friends run out and buy a DVD home theater.

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