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Although , it really is a ten star film!
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... And wasn't that one of the selling points 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.