Fresh on 4K: ‘TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY’ is back again, again, but in supreme quality

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Connor Bynum // Film Critic

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY

Rated R, 137 minutes.
Director: James Cameron
Cast: Arnold SchwarzeneggerLinda HamiltonEdward FurlongRobert Patrick and Earl Boen

Available today on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital HD.

Just in time for us to spend those Christmas gift cards, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY hit store shelves this week in glorious 4K UHD resolution. But how does the 1991 action classic hold up with the increased visual fidelity? In short, this is the best the film is ever going to look, and it looks damn good.

Movie Grade: A

Set 10 years after the events of the first film, a reprogrammed T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) arrives from a war-torn future between man and machine to protect the future leader of the human resistance from the sinister T-1000 (Robert Patrick), a more advanced Terminator model made out of liquid metal. Sarah Connor (an unrecognizable Linda Hamilton) has since been committed to a mental institution after surviving the first assassination attempt by the machines and has lost custody of her 10-year-old son/destined savior of the world, John Connor (Edward Furlong). What follows is a nearly perfect film, as well as a nearly perfect sequel that improves on its predecessor in every way.

Video/Audio Grade: A-

This is not the first time James Cameron has revisited one of his previous films, and based off of the outstanding work done on the 2012 re-release of TITANIC, it’s safe to say that if anyone takes remastering an existing film seriously, it’s Cameron. Derived from a native 4K Digital Intermediate, this disc is playing in native 4K rather than through upscaling, and the quality is sensational. Details of the Terminator’s face as more and more of his robotic infrastructure is revealed look as believable as ever. Textures in the climactic steel mill scene really stand out as every piece of machinery is distinguishable from the rest. The added HDR is also a fantastic feature as darker scenes outside Cyberdyne Systems never have that telltale shade of grey hovering on the screen.

However, it isn’t all perfect on the video front. While nearly every scene featuring practical effects feels as though we are on set with Arnold and co., many of the scenes featuring a computer generated T-1000 often show their age. Although, the lack of complete perfection in this area is understandable if not entirely forgivable, as T2 was one of the first films to break through with such pioneering technology. Furthermore, credit must be given to Cameron for staying true to his original work, when the option to simply re-animate these scenes was almost certainly available and may have been taken up by a lesser director.

The DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix is clear and distinct with gunshots and explosions piercing your speakers accompanied by Brad Fiedel’s rhythmic synth-heavy score. An Atmos track would have been a nice touch, but this disc will be sure to give your speakers a run for their money.

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in ‘TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY.’ Courtesy of Lionsgate.

Extras Grade: A-

While none of the special features make their way onto the 4K disc, the extras on the included standard Blu-ray are thankfully more than just a rehash from previous releases. Indeed, many of the original supplemental features do make a return including alternate versions of the film and a 1993 making-of featurette, but the brand new documentary feature “T2: Reprogramming the Terminator” is a fantastic watch. The cast and crew all make a return to give a retrospective look on what made the movie such a success and it’s a blast of nostalgia as well as an excellent incentive to double dip for current owners of the Blu-ray.

  • BRAND NEW 4K RESTORATION of the film supervised by director James Cameron
  • NEW “T2: Reprogramming the Terminator” 55 Minute Documentary Including Exclusive Interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron, Edward Furlong and More
  • Two Feature Commentaries including 23 members of the cast and crew, including director James Cameron and co-author William Wisher
  • “The Making of T2” 30 Minute Featurette
  • Seamless Branching to View 3 Different Versions of the Movie
  • Two Deleted Scenes with Audio Commentary
  • Original Trailers

4K Blu-ray Technical Specs:

  • Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, German DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
  • Subtitles: English/French/German

Blu-ray Technical Specs:

  • Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, German DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1

Final Grade: A-

This is the definitive way to watch TERMINATOR 2. It may be a little rough around the edges with moments of early CGI technology, but even with those noted gripes, there is plenty to enjoy. Call your dad, pop open a beer and treat yourself to one of the best action movies ever made in the way it was meant to be seen.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.