on 12 October 2012
Cant believe I completely missed the release date on this classic film on Blu-ray and only just received it nearly two weeks after it was available.
This was the film that kick started Cameron's career , and with the huge success with this and all his other films (where he and he alone can only outgross himself at the box office) he's been firmly placed with the big players in Hollywood...and rightly so!
This film has always been a firm favourite of mine and its still just as popular after nearly 30 years and have bought many versions throughout the decades.
Although this film already had a Blu-ray release for a while now (US import only) , I never bought it , as I find US imports to be tricky at best when playing them in the UK... Sometimes they work , sometimes they don't , but this newer UK version is a vast improvement from previous released formats and I can quite honestly say that the picture quality is now just how it should be.
Though the film was mostly shot at night (..mostly) , the daytime scenes are the ones that impress the most with the overall quality.
Detail has to be seen to be believed and you'd be forgiven into thinking that this was filmed on anything other than a state of the art HD camera as facial closeups are just astounding ! Being able to see the pours in peoples skin and count the individual hairs on their heads is pretty amazing , especially when you think just how low a budget this film was , it impresses me even more and can now hold its head up very highly indeed in the quality stakes.
When it came to the old Remastered DVD , for whatever reason , and I really can't get my head around as to who thought this was a good idea , the Future War prologues original text had been replaced with cheap nasty subtitles (the kind you'd find on Ceefax) , but thankfully , this has now been replaced back to its original text on this Blu-ray... Not even George "Because I can" Lucas would have tampered with that , but you do get the feeling that this had nothing to do with any choices Cameron had made , and any input in the last two format releases had been left in the hands of corporate owners who think they know better !
The sound... Hmmm , tricky one this. Although its presented in 5.1 DTS master audio there are some good points and some bad.
The good points are that the sound is better than its ever been and the surround effects of ricocheting bullets , screams and explosions are fantastically transferred with a rich crisp clarity... However!
The bad points are that certain sounds (not all , but mainly gunshots) have been replaced with different gunfire sound FX from its original theatrical and VHS release.
Although this alteration was done a couple of years back on the Remastered DVD to accommodate for the newly improved sound format of the time , it still sticks out like a sore thumb from someone who has watched this film over a tragazillion times and was kind of hoping with the new technology of today , it would have been possible to simply enhance the original sound and put it back.
Brad Fiedel's score (although brilliant) almost suffers with the new clarity. Apart from the iconic main theme , the new and improved clarity with the sound makes other parts of the music score just sound that more... "electronically 80's" if that makes any sense to you as you can quite literally hear the datedness of the keyboard that he's using.
Although , I really must stress that these "bad points" really are just my own personal discrepancies that I have with the sound , and in no way am I slating the excellent quality of the transfer , so this really shouldn't put you off upgrading this film at all.
Extras are a bit of a let down by getting slightly less than the Remastered DVD. Most of the extras are here , but the "Other Voices" documentary has been omitted on this Blu-ray release and can't for the life of me think why they have done this , so don't get rid of your Remastered DVD version just yet !
Its always a pet hate of mine when features are skimped on with Blu-ray as there really is NO EXCUSE for companies to do this... Wasn't that the whole point of Blu-Ray ??? Its not like there isn't enough room on a disc (50GB) to fit it all in , and its a shame that Cameron hasn't done a commentary or even add the old half hour "making of" that you got on VHS , along with everything else instead of giving you less when making a transfer... Again , feels like corporate bean counters interfering.
The film itself really is worth a ten star rating , MINIMUM ! And the new picture and sound are a huge improvement over previous releases , and despite what some reviewers are saying , this film is NOT CUT in anyway shape or form no matter what running time is advertised !
All in all , this is a very worthy upgrade , but have dropped one star purely for skimping on the documentaries and the lack of anything new on the extras , as I'll only ever review the product and not the film itself.
on 8 June 2012
Schwarzenegger; love him or hate him you have to give him credit for knowing what he is and what he isn't. He knows his acting presence is never going to be mentioned with the same breathless awe of Meryl Streep. Arnie does a great job of choosing roles that suit him perfectly. One of those roles is the near monk-like silence of the cult classic killing machine known as the Terminator.
We can overlook the fact that Skynet chose to send back a Terminator with a heavy Austrian accent to 1980's America because over the twenty or so times I have seen this film I really could not care less. This is probably Schwarzenegger's greatest film. The role doesn't ask too much of him and he plays it perfectly. As soon as Arnie is teleported, crouching fully naked beside a dump truck he is the Terminator. Many people would demean him, claiming it only works because he cannot act. I disagree. Acting is making the viewer believe and whilst watching this film you don't see former Mr Universe, you see an unstoppable cyborg killer would will not stop and not rest until he has completed his task.
What works for The Terminator is the simple premise and James Cameron's ability to put a new spin on something we've seen before. He did it with Alien and like it or not he did it with Avatar. The rules of time travel are well worked out and simply explained. Nothing dead can travel back in time (Hence why we get treated to Arnie and Michael Biehn's buttocks at the start of the film). The Terminator itself cheats this rule by being living organism over metal skeleton.
Perhaps most striking about this film, given that it was made in the action hero 1980s where machine gun wielding bodybuilders was the norm, is that the hero character is female. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is now an icon. She's not the atypical screaming woman who's running up the stairs instead of out the door. She's a normal woman, working part time at a diner, living with a roommate and struggling to find a boyfriend that isn't more concerned about his car. When the time comes, she steps up to the demands of the film. She never thought she could be a hero or brave or fight a cyborg from the future but she does all of these things and the film is really about her and her journey.
Much of the colour and explanation comes from the haunted but utterly devoted Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) who successfully balances the forlornness of the future with his love for Sarah and determined resolve to protect her. He is the underdog in this fight and it's hard not to root for someone so passionate.
A supporting cast of Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen and Earl Boen as the psychiatrist add a light-heartedness to a very bleak and depressing environment. It works. Cameron's direction and pacing transition well between visions of a possible future and the unravelling present.
There is a reason this film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry a requisite being `culturally, historically or aesthetically significant'. The Terminator is all these things. It is a film that has referenced and inspired so many others and if it's not on your list of films to watch before you die, then you are a fool.
Supposedly based on a dream, but probably based on an outer limits episode with a fair chunk of Cameron imagination thrown in, The Terminator (TT) tells the fantastic story of a ruthlessly efficient killer Cyborg sent from the future to kill the mother of a future leader of the resistance against the machines, that have taken over the world. However the Cyborg is unaware that a resistance fighter has followed him back in time and is tasked with stopping him, if he can.
Starring a perfectly cast young Arnold Schwarzenegger as TT and Michael Biehn as Kyle Reece, the protector trying to save the future, TT is essentially a non stop turbo charged chase movie that hardly lets up for it's full running time. Exposition (explaining the story) a problem for most action adventure films never slows the action. Exposition is cleverly meshed into the action and takes place whilst things are blowing up around them or when they are being chased at high speed in a darkened and intimidating underground parking lot. We get the fairly simple story but the action isn't allowed to stall in the slightest. Clever cinematic touches pepper the screenplay to supply back story again with images rather than words, such as the dialogue free dream sequence whilst Reece sleeps in the car before a major confrontation with that killer cyborg. In the hands of a less talented director the back story elements and time travel aspects could have complicated the screenplay no end. However by expecting his audience to at least think a little, he does not need to explain every little detail and can concentrate on creating a visually exciting feast of a film like no other.
Cameron's low budget first film is not only a beautifully made and exciting Sci Fi classic but a love story too boot. The relationship between Kyle and Sarah is handled beautifully and we fully accept the future of humankind is literally in their hands. From the, now famous, opening shot of TT's electric fused emergence from the ether to the final confrontation in the factory full of heavy and obedient machinery, nice bit of irony there, TT is Film-making 101 for all budding film makers out there. The lack of money and “on the hoof” shooting almost certainly made TT a better film. More money and time will almost certainly have spoilt what is an extremely visceral and thrilling film even today over thirty years later. It has to be said that the special effects are rather amateurish by today's standards, but if you invest in the story and the characters, which you will, this doesn't matter. How many summer blockbusters have you seen with incredible special effects but with wooden characters and dull story you have forgotten within a few days.
Seven years later Cameron pulled off the almost impossible by writing and directing an even better Terminator Two Judgement Day. The third, fourth and fifth sequels, all with no artistic input from Cameron, are very poor. Salvation is almost unwatchable.
The Terminator is one of the great films of the Eighties and launched a supreme talent.
on 23 December 2007
Made on a budget of around 6.5 million dollars its a real marvel a film like this was made, quite simply its edge of your seat thrills and non-stop suspense at its finest, but with great heart and tremendous story. A lot of work has clearly gone into this wonderful movie and its evident on screen. With Cameron's masterful story telling, an underrated cast with some chilling effects for the Terminator cortesty of the legend himself Stan Winston and an amazing story which maintains realism despite time travel and the sci Fi elements i honestly cannot find one significant flaw in this movie.If you like action or sci Fi or thrills or intricate story or even a bit of horror or even a love story then you will like/love this film because it somehow SUCCESSFULLY combines them all seamlessly.
As for the DVD it has been re-released on several versions but the Definitive edition is just that, it has all the documentaries and features the other versions had but with a few extras. Disc one contains the film itself in its best picture and remastered sound, basically the typical DVD improvements that you get as opposed to VHS. Disc Two contains about half a dozen deleted scenes some more relevant than others (one which contains a very good twist which sets up part of the story for The sequel T2) and several documentaries. The legacy of the terminator and closer to the real thing are OKAY its "Other voices" which contains the real gold, fantastic look into the films making cast,crew, effects and a number of brilliant anecdotes regarding effects,filming,casting(given budgetary constraints things like the last Scenes were made involving a good few VERY interesting stories) this two disc set comes in a metal slip book and is almost certainly the best edition you will get for the first Terminator movie.
A great Film presented in a premium DVD package it is a movie you need to see at least once in your lifetime. Top notch entertainment.
on 21 November 2015
The very first Terminator film came out in 1984 and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the titular role, Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn.
Schwarzenegger is a cyborg, a T800 to be precise, a half man, half machine android, sent back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Hamilton) a waitress at a diner. Who sent him and why, you may ask? In the not too distant future a computer will gain consciousness, (yep, the much dreaded AI!) and decide to wipe out humankind, but we don't go quietly. No sir! We fight back and the man that would lead us is John Connor, Sarah Connor's unborn son. With his leadership, humans defeat the machines. In order to prevent this from happening, Arnie, the near indestructible cyborg, is sent back to 1984 to kill John before he can be born by killing his mother, Sarah. All is not lost for Sarah and John sends back one of his men, Kyle Reese (Biehn), to protect Sarah. Luckily Reese is able to save Sarah just before the Terminator gets to her but then the chase is on as Kyle and Sarah go on the run pursued by the dogged and merciless T800!
They don't make 'em like they used to! is an old saying and certainly applies to the original Terminator film. I'm not saying the other films in the franchise weren't good, they were fine, but this was the original film and, in my opinion, the best.
The story is gripping and the action is first rate as the Terminator, bristling with firepower, demolishes everything and everyone standing between him and his target, the unfortunate Sarah.
Schwarzenegger is perfect as the android who doesn't say much but grunts, swears and looks menacing which adds to the scary, dark tone of the film, shot mostly at night in Los Angeles. Hamilton is convincing as the happy-go-lucky Sarah, whose life is turned upside down by the Terminator, as is Biehn, as Reese, the tough, traumatised soldier from the future, sent to save her.
The original terminator still stands as a top notch flick even after all these years, thanks to the fine directing, quality story, action and performances, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this film to any action lover or fan of the Terminator series or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Due to the violence, however, it's not for the kids!
on 8 April 2014
Rather than review the film I’m going to write about the blu-ray, specifically the remastered UK version which was released at the tail-end of 2012, and features a mainly blue coloured cover depicting the titular cybernetic organism brandishing an uzi and pistol, raised up by his head. This blu-ray release is uncut.
First up, picture quality. With the exception of a few optical effects shots one could mistake this for a new film set in the 1980s. There is a fine layer of grain across the image - a faithful and beautiful representation of the original film source. I was absolutely blown away by this when I watched it the other night, the movie has been restored with the utmost care and respect without resorting to artificial sharpening or digital noise reduction in order to lend the film a ‘cleaner’ or ‘more modern’ look (ala Fox’s continued flawed ‘Predator’ blu-ray releases). Apparently there have been some minor colour timing changes, but these are certainly not to the detriment of this release and if anything only serve to enhance the experience. I really can’t fault the picture and doubt it could look much better, even in 4K.
The 5.1 audio track is equally impressive; the opening scene of post-apocalypse Los Angeles sets the bar high, and the mix retains this level of excellence until the credits roll. By no means do I claim to have the best audio setup out there (Sony STR-DN1030 & Wharfedale DX1 HCP) but I came away more than satisfied. I would have preferred it if the original mono track was included with this release, but the 5.1 mix sounds natural to my ears.
If you’re a fan of the movie and a home theatre enthusiast, this is a must own!
on 22 September 2015
The movie Terminator Genesys wishes it was.
I watched this again recently after buying the new blu-ray release. The picture has been improved. Also, after seeing Genesys at the cinema, it made me see how superior this one and also T2:JD really are. Despite being old movies, not only do they both look fairly new on blu-ray, but they are also far better.
The classic original is still scary and very tense, no cheesy scenes to be seen, or if there are, I don't notice them. This is the way the Terminator needs to be. The sequel being lighter, but still having plenty of kick.
Whether or not they do make a Terminator Exodys (I read that is what they would call it) it's unlikely I will bother to watch it. If you want the right Terminator experience, go for this, and on blu-ray if possible.
Quite frankly, ever since James Cameron stopped making the Terminator movies, which began as his own pet project, the series had just dropped in quality.
T3 was more of an FX filled sci-fi comedy, Salvation was more serious like the original but fairly boring in comparison, and Genesys was basically just a poor imitation and rehash of the greatness which had already come before in Terminator 1 & 2. Also the actors playing the new Sarah Conner and Kyle Reese just weren't up to par, Michael Bien and Linda Hamilton will always be those characters to me.
Get this classic movie and see how they just don't make 'em like they used to.
on 26 July 2011
already owning Terminator on dvd(special edition 2 disk)i wanted to see the difference in Blu Ray and found only a slight improvement.
i bought this because i had read it is supposed to be the better blu ray version out there. as other reviews have stated, this looks like an upscaled dvd version. no restoration on the blu ray release what so ever. extras are poor compared to the dvd.(looks like i'l be keeping my 2 disk dvd version for the mass of extras on it) also included in the blu ray is a dvd copy of the film. both films come in standard dvd case. looks odd sitting on the shelf lined up with blu rays especially when some of us are getting rid of their dvd's in favour of blu ray. Terminator is still a great film, shame it's not thought of that way and have been cleaned up and given a new lease of life for blu ray.
Latest DVD release for the terminator.
Let's talk about the movie first, just in case anyone reading this hasn't seen it.
1980's america, and ordinary lady sarah connor has her life turned upside down when a cyborg from the future travels back in time intending to kill her. so that she won't give birth to the man destined to lead the human fight against machines that want to rule the world. Her only hope is kyle reese, a human fighter from the future who has also travelled back in time. But his mission is to protect her. The terminator shatters sarah's life, and she and kyle have to run and fight to survive. To live, Sarah will have to find the will to fightback.
One of the best action movies ever made. It never lets up for a second. And it benefits from excellent casting. Schwarzenegger was originally down to play reese, but we went for the terminator role instead. a smart move because it suits him better. uttering less than forty words in the entire film, he's an absolute force of nature. a seemingly unstoppable force of destruction.
Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton as reese and sarah respectively both fill their characters with so much humanity that you can really root for them.
Violent and with a fair amount of adult language thus a 15 certificate, but never gratuitous. a movie that should be in the collection of every science fiction and action movie fan.
now about the dvd:
this is a new single disc edition with absolutely no extras. The disc begins with the ubiquitous anti dvd piracy add but just pressing next will take you to the main menu. it offers direct scene access, and the following languages and subtitles:
languages: english czech polish
subtitles: english czech danish finnish greek hebrew norwegian swedish.
and that's that. There's no digital restoration or the like to the print, but the picture quality is good enough anyway. if you want to add this to your collection cheaply, or if you want a cheap way to encounter a classic movie you've not seen before, this will suit you fine.
on 25 February 2009
I'm making this review as a way of differentiating the various DVD releases and informing people this "Ultimate Edition" is the must have. This review is not of the movie, since we all know this film is ground-breaking. This review is purely for fellow fans, like myself, struggling to find the best DVD edition to own. This really is the definitive DVD edition of The Terminator. As a massive fan of the first two movies, I own all of the DVD releases. This is easily the best release of the first film on DVD ever. Here is why:
#It has collectively, the same amount of extras as those found on the previous release, although, there are a couple of new clips added in one of the documentaries, as well as a whole new documentary for this release. There's also deleted scenes, interviews, photo galleries the list goes on. Those of you looking for the extras, you will not be disappointed, I sure as hell was not.
#In terms of picture quality, sound quality and everything else in between, this is the best of the lot. I'd advise you watch the film with headphones on a HD TV for the full impact!
#There is a lengthy booklet that goes deep into what the film has achieved, a few snippets of comments from those who worked on the film.
#The packaging is excellent, and definitely the best looking of the various editions.
I hope this helps anybody who were trying to figure out which was the best release. Lucky you, you've found it.