Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

(Third viewing, On DVD, December 2000) This has long stood near the top of my “favourite films” list, and a thorough examination of “The Ultimate Edition” DVD only confirms this opinion. James Cameron always delivers, and his 1991 magnum opus does everything you could imagine from a science-fiction film: Good story, fantastic characters, a lot of underlying philosophical issues, exhausting action scenes and impressive special effects. It has aged very well (at the exception of the trailer, a form of cinema whose execution and overall quality has risen dramatically with the introduction of AVID editing machines during the nineties, but that’s another essay for another time.) and still represent a career high for everyone involved. The DVD itself lives up to it’s “Ultimate Edition” billing, containing no less than three versions of the film, three making-ofs, an astonishing number of video featurettes, the complete script and oodles of miscellaneous information about the film. It’s a film school on a disc (or two) and it features everything to satiate your thirst of knowledge about the film. It’s so complete that it feels as if the only thing missing are the dailies. (There are even edit-your-own multi-angle segments and multi-audio-track sound editing demos) Truly a superlative, nay, an essential DVD: Great film, great use of the medium.

(Fourth viewing, On DVD, July 2003) Yes, this film is ageing. But it’s ageing very well, and the fantastic thematic depth of the film more than compensates for the increasingly primitive special effects. One of the rare actions films to pack a steady punch even after multiple viewings, Terminator 2 is a wonder to behold on almost every level. James Cameron has rarely been as comfortable with the camera, and that also stands for the adult acting talent in the movie. The only increasingly annoying flaw is Eddie Furlong’s freshman performance, which is often the weakest link of the film. Otherwise, well, just sit down and enjoy the true conclusion to the Terminator series. (I scoff at T3) The “Ultimate Edition” DVD is still a stunning example of what is possible with the format, even after being superseded by yet another “Extreme Edition”.

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