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The Terminator (Blu-ray Review)

MGM through 20th Century Fox is releasing a series of films that have been repackaged into their version of a digibook.  The Terminator is one of these films.  On the heels of its 30th anniversary The Terminator has been given this digibook treatment, but what else is packaged with the Blu-ray?  Is it a special edition, does it come with the fabled restored print that Lowry Digital  (rumored) completed some time back?  All of these questions and more will be answered as you take a trip with us back to 1984 and see where it all began.   We’re also really happy to be bringing this Terminator review to masses in general for the first time.  It’s a been quite a few years since it debuted on Blu-ray.  Enjoy!

Film  

The Terminator (as if you didn’t already know) is the story of a super human killing machine known as a cyborg that is sent back in time to kill the woman who will be the mother of the future resistance leader that will unite humanity against the machines.  See, not that complicated at all.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is the unstoppable killing machine, Linda Hamilton plays the soon-to-be iconic heroine, and Michael Biehn plays Kyle Reese, a resistance fighter also sent through time to protect Sarah. 

What really is there to say that hasn’t already been said?  The Terminator is a classic!  This would be the career maker for just about everyone involved.  Arnold Schwarzenegger became a huge star and James Cameron became one of the greatest directors of all time due to the success of The Terminator. Shot for a budget of around 6 million dollars and before the birth CGI, The Terminator pulls out all the stops in terms of technical achievements and revolutionary special make-up effects by the late master creature creator Stan Winston.

On this cold dank night in Los Angeles the machine known as a terminator must find and terminate Sarah Connor, so that her unborn son will never take the helm of the leadership resistance.  It’s only a matter of time before their paths cross since the killing machine is systematically wiping out any and possible leads that may involve Sarah Connor.

The action scenes are raw and filled with tension as the police also get involved and not to mention this is where Arnold spoke those magic three words that made him an action legend.  “I’ll be back.” Yup, it was here.  Some people out there will say that script and structure-wise The Terminator is a much more balanced film than any of the several sequels that came after.  I’d agree with that, because I don’t really know if James Cameron had ever planned it out as a potential franchise, so he had to put his soul into this film since it would also act as his first official calling card in Hollywood.  It was a kind of do or go back to driving a truck as you would never work in this town again type of scenario.  Cameron laid it all on the line and won.

The Terminator is classic action science fiction that is pretty basic in its story convention, but kicks serious butt nearly 30 years later.  Obviously if you haven’t seen this and are curious (or been living under a rock) about the franchise it is imperative that you pick the film that started it all.

Video 

The Terminator is presented in 1080p 1.85:1 widescreen.  I am sad to say that this is NOT the fabled restored print.  This is the original MPEG 2 found on the previous Blu-ray release.  Bummer.  Terminator has always had a rough look from its early days on VHS, laserdisc, and dvd.  It’s no different on the Blu-ray format, but it has not looked better than it does on Blu-ray.  Dirt and scratches to show up every once in a while.  I was surprised that the future world scenes looked pretty crisp considering those were rear projection opticals and those ALWAYS look bad in those earlier editions.  Not here.  I’m hoping that in 2014 (30 year anniversary) we will see a full blown restoration print made available.

Audio 

The Terminator is presented PCM (Uncompressed) 5.1 lossless sound.  The Terminator sounds pretty good on Blu-ray.  It does contain a somewhat dated mid 80’s synth soundtrack, but those are always cool, in my opinion.  The front channels get to do all of the work, the rear speakers handle ambient sounds, and in scenes taking place in the future the surrounds handle the laser fire very nicely.  Like the video, here’s hoping that the soundtrack gets a facelift as well in the future. 

Special Features

This edition of The Terminator contains the same exact special features that the previous Blu-ray copy had.  They’re all presented in SD, but are actually pretty cool.  They’re also about ten years old.  Yikes!

  • 7 Deleted Scenes
  • Creating The Terminator: Visual Effects & Music
  • Terminator: A retrospective

Final Thoughts 

Yeah, this edition looks to be nothing more than a repackaged edition of film that was already available.  If you’re a digibook collector or don’t own the previous release Blu-ray then you should pick this up.  We’ve still got a couple of years to go before they release a (rumored) restored edition for us.  In the meantime enjoy this classic science fiction film as is.  It’s actually not bad in terms of presentation.   Give it a go!

 

Order The Terminator (digibook) on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

4 Responses to “The Terminator (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    I wish I could finally have the definitive versions of these Terminator movies (the good ones).

  2. Sean Ferguson

    I was hoping this would be a new transfer too.

  3. BIg BOys Oven

    wow must sell well!

  4. Brian White

    I TOO wish this was a new transfer!