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Official HTF HD-DVD Review: Terminator 2 Import - Recommended


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#1 of 39 OFFLINE   Gary Murrell

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Posted June 12 2007 - 10:52 AM

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Studio: Studio Canal
Year:
2007
Rated:
R
Film Length:
137 minutes Theatrical/152 minutes Special Ed.
Aspect Ratio:
16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1) (both versions)
Video:
1080p/24 (both versions)
Audio:
English DTS Master 5.1 (both versions)
Subtitles:
English, French (both versions) (forced French on theatrical)

Release Date: 2007 Import

Overview and Film Information

Everyone knows the what is the now legendary story of what some would argue is the best sequel in film history, "Terminator 2 Judgment Day" has thrilled movie nuts and hardcore fans ever since its release back in 1991. T2 is just one of those impact films that comes along ever few decades, the action, the special effects, even the strange but equally great musical score will never be forgotten. For those interested in a simple plot summary, here is one courtesy of IMDB:

Nearly 10 years have passed since Sarah Connor was targeted for termination by a cyborg from the future. Now her son, John Connor, the future leader of the resistance, is the target for a newer, more deadly terminator. Once again, the resistance has managed to send a protector back to attempt to save John and his mother Sarah.

T2 is no stranger to home theater owners and has been released on every format known to man including Blu-Ray, multiple DVD releases, multiple laserdisc releases, even a WMV and D-Theater HD release. Naturally one of the most popular films of all-time would be expected to be released on one of the new optical based HD formats and that time has come. Lionsgate (the domestic distributor for T2) released T2 on Blu-Ray disc very early in the formats life. The release had a few issues, some of which were opinions that the video quality were not that great and the most of which is that the release was only the theatrical cut of the film and did not include the much preferred Special Edition version. This special edition HD-DVD release of T2 will not be found on store shelves in the USA and will not be found on the Blu-Ray format, this version is a special French only release from Studio Canal and must be imported if you wish to own it. We would like to think the great folks at Xploited Cinema for their amazing service and for providing us with this release.

This special edition version of T2 is a 2 disc set that contains both versions of the film, the theatrical cut and the Cameron Special Edition cut. Each version is on a separate disc for the ultimate in picture and audio quality. There are some slight issues with this release that need to be pointed out, the theatrical version of the film (Disc 1) features French subtitles that are not removable, however by using the "C" and "D" buttons on your Toshiba remote you can move the subtitles and make them smaller, for me and my 2.40:1 projection system this was perfect because the subs can be moved completely into the black bars and out of the film image. The Special Edition version of the film (Disc 2) has French and English subs that are user selectable along with the option of no subs. In addition to the forced French subs on disc 1, the menus are only in French, this however is not a problem as things are self explanatory. Disc 2 has user selectable menu languages.

Video Quality **** out of *****

The video quality of both the theatrical and Special Edition versions is the best that has ever been seen in the home theater environment, easily bettering the D-Theater release from a few years back. Both versions are featured in 1080p/24 resolution and are in the OAR of 2.35:1. Video quality is amazing throughout, many scenes look so good in fact that it is shocking to me personally because I have never seen T2 look so good. Colors are nearly perfect and are rich and natural thanks to the super high chroma resolution. Detail throughout the film averages from fair to great and is excellent in many scenes. Blacks are solid and very pleasing, which is important for many of T2's nighttime scenes. Contrast ratio is also very good and shows itself many times, albeit some rare scenes slightly on the milky side. Whites and blacks are also slightly clipped and crushed respectively in a few scenes. Both versions of the film exhibit a slight minor mushy/NR type look and are missing some of the natural film grain that is expected, this is minor at worst and is not true for the entire film. It is my opinion that this could be overcome with a new master and there is a possibility that NR could have been slightly used on this film in a few scenes. Both versions of the film are downright beautiful 95% of the time and I recommend them without question, if you are a fan of T2 then you must own this release, it is a guaranteed smile on any fans face. One great demo scene to check out is Chapter 7 on the theatrical version of the film, this scene shows the film at it's best.

Audio Quality ****.5 out of *****

The audio quality of this release leaves right off where the video does and those are some tough shoes to fill. Both versions of the film have included a downright breathtaking English DTS-Master 5.1 soundtrack. If the current Toshiba HD-DVD players could playback the lossless DTS-Master track then audio quality would be even better. In the current firmware'd Toshiba players you will want to playback this release from the digital audio output. DTS Master tracks include what is known as a core DTS track, this core track is a lossy full-bitrate DTS track at 1506kbs, equivalent to DTS on laserdisc and early DVD. I have heard so many T2 tracks over the years that I could go on for ages, but I can say without a doubt that this is the best I have ever heard T2 sound. Both versions of the film have amazing detail & clarity, downright scary good ambience and very natural environments. Details and effects are sharp but not localizable in the least. Bass is solid as a rock, tight and deep. This DTS track delivers in spades on both releases and when combined with the video is a true delight.

Extra Features and Menus * out of *****

There are no extra features on this release. There is a nice preview trailer showing many of Studio Canals releases and upcoming films including Serpico, The Fog and The Graduate (which will be covered in future reviews). Both discs include a rather simple test tone and video setup pattern and a short explanation of how the subtitles work. Menus are nice and well laid out, easy to navigate and simple.

Overall **** out of *****

If you are a fan of T2 and own a HD-DVD player, I cannot imagine one not being pleased with this release. Personally I have rarely been this excited over a HD-DVD or Blu-Ray release thus far in both of the formats short existences. The video and audio qualities are without a doubt top notch. If you are however a fan of extras (which I am not) you may want to hold onto that T2 Ultimate Edition DVD release. If you are simply looking for the downright best image and audio quality that T2 has to offer, then you will want this release without question. If you only own or plan to own HD-DVD, then this is it, unless Lionsgate plans to go format neutral. If you have always wanted the Special Edition version of this film in HD, this is it also. So far the previous D-Theater, WMV and Blu-Ray releases are all the theatrical version of the film.


#2 of 39 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted June 12 2007 - 11:25 AM

Gary, I had the opportunity to watch this imported HD DVD last weekend and agree with you completely on the PQ and AQ of this release. IMHO, the PQ even bests last years Lionsgate BD release (which I also own). Thank you for the fine review.
Thomas Eisenmann(Last updated 09/30/11)

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#3 of 39 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted June 12 2007 - 11:31 AM

Thanks for the review, Gary. I ordered it back in Januari, from Amazon France, more or less a gamble - only to receive "unfortunately delayed" messages a few times (all in French). But I have to agree with you that the final result is almost unbelievably good! Cees

#4 of 39 OFFLINE   Gary Murrell

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Posted June 12 2007 - 11:46 AM

thanks guys, I too was very pleased with this, more than pleased in fact, I think I may make some custom cover art for the set Posted Image

-Gary

#5 of 39 OFFLINE   Jordan_E

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Posted June 12 2007 - 12:09 PM

And this is why I try to stay away from these sort of reviews! Good job, Gary! You convinced me to try and sneak this past the wife on the old plastic money.
And you believe, at heart, everyone's a killer...

#6 of 39 OFFLINE   StevenW

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Posted June 12 2007 - 05:06 PM

It would be great to one day see a side by side comparison of the US and French releases.

#7 of 39 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted June 13 2007 - 02:29 AM

I enjoyed your review, Gary. I would like for Blu-ray to have another crack at T2 with this extended cut, since I was rather disappointed with the previous Blu-ray release of the theatrical edition. Not terrible, of course, but I didn't consider it that big a step up from SD-DVD.

#8 of 39 OFFLINE   Nick Graham

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Posted June 13 2007 - 03:24 AM

Must....resist....spending....$40...to....import.. ...... CURSE YOU MURRELL!!

#9 of 39 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted June 17 2007 - 02:37 PM

Nice review Gary. I'm all over it. Posted Image

#10 of 39 OFFLINE   Brent M

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Posted June 17 2007 - 03:21 PM

This review pushed me over the edge and I just ordered my copy from Xploited Cinema today. Can't wait to get it as T2 is one of my all-time favorite action flicks. Posted Image
"If you're good at something, never do it for free."

#11 of 39 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted June 18 2007 - 06:24 PM

Just did the same Brent! Posted Image

#12 of 39 OFFLINE   Brent M

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Posted June 18 2007 - 06:44 PM

Mine shipped today and the e-mail said it will be here in 2-5 days. SWEET!!! Posted Image
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#13 of 39 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted June 18 2007 - 11:38 PM

Tim and Brent, I promise you that you will not be disappointed. This is a very well done release.
Thomas Eisenmann(Last updated 09/30/11)

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#14 of 39 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted June 19 2007 - 12:44 AM

Second that! Next we need The Terminator (which I already own on BD too). Cees

#15 of 39 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted June 19 2007 - 03:44 AM

Cees, who owns the EU rights for Terminator?
Thomas Eisenmann(Last updated 09/30/11)

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#16 of 39 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted June 19 2007 - 07:47 AM

Thomas, I'm not sure. There have been numerous releases on VHS and DVD - even "trilogy sets" - by different studios: (Fox) Pathé, Carolco, Sony Pictures (!), but most of them by "MGM Home Entertainment (Europe)". The BD is available here too (probably just a US import). Cees

#17 of 39 OFFLINE   Mark Cappelletty

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Posted June 19 2007 - 11:16 AM

Got mine today from xploited. Wow! Pretty amazing looking.

#18 of 39 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted June 19 2007 - 06:20 PM


Mine shipped today too Brent! Looks we both can enjoy Awnuld in HD DVD. Posted Image

#19 of 39 OFFLINE   Viper

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Posted June 20 2007 - 02:58 PM

Sad we have to import awesome movies like this rather than getting U.S. releases in a timely mannor.

#20 of 39 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted June 20 2007 - 03:02 PM

In some ways it's kind of cool to get a few imports. One of those nananabooboo things to brag about. Of course we spent double! Posted Image




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