le 4 août 2015
THE TERMINATOR [1984/2012] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] Newly Remastered in Hi-Definition! Where It All Began! One Was Sent To Protect, One Was Sent To Destroy!
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as the most fierce and relentless killing machine ever to threaten the survival of mankind!
An indestructible cyborg, a Terminator [Arnold Schwarzenegger] is sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor [Linda Hamilton], the woman whose unborn son will become humanity's only hope in a future war against machines. This legendary sci-fi thriller from pioneering writer/director James Cameron, written with Gale Anne Hurd, fires an arsenal of action and heart-stopping suspense that never lets up!
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Rick Rossovich, Bess Motta, Earl Boen, Dick Miller, Shawn Schepps, Bruce M. Kerner, Franco Columbu, Bill Paxton, Brad Rearden, Brian Thompson, William Wisher Jr., Ken Fritz, Tom Oberhaus, Ed Dogans, Joe Farago, Hettie Lynne Hurtes, Tony Mirelez, Philip Gordon, Anthony Trujillo, Stan Yale, Norman Friedman, Wayne Stone, David Pierce, John E. Bristol, Webster Williams, Chino 'Fats' Williams, Greg Robbins, Marianne Muellerleile, John Durban, Marian Green (uncredited), J. Randolph Harrison (uncredited), David Kristin (uncredited), Darrell Mapson (uncredited) and John Stuart West (uncredited)
Director: James Cameron
Producers: Derek Gibson, Gale Anne Hurd and John Daly
Screenplay: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd and William Wisher Jr. (additional dialogue)
Composer: Brad Fiedel
Cinematography: Adam Greenberg
Video Resolution: 1080p [Color by Deluxe]
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital, French: 5.1 DTS, Portuguese: 2.0 Dolby Digital and Hindi: 2.0 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Cantonese, Danish, Finnish, Suomi, Icelandic, Bahasa Indonesian, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish and Indian
Running Time: 102 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / ORION
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: James Cameron's hard-wired hardware time travel thriller ‘The Terminator’ was more than the surprise hit of 1984. Made in the pre-video era when young filmmakers could still learn their trade and flex their creative muscles on exploitation films cranked out for quick payoffs in urban theatres and drive-ins, it launched the filmmaking careers of James Cameron and producer Gale Anne Hurd, it gave star Arnold Schwarzenegger serious action movie star credentials and reactivated his foundering Hollywood career, and it added a dynamic entry into the dark subgenre of science-fiction dystopias seen in such films as ‘Blade Runner’  and ‘The Road Warrior’ . The pace and visceral action recalls the latter and the nocturnal setting and "tech noir" stylings echoes the influence of the former, but the contemporary milieu, the clever script and low-budget ingenuity, and James Cameron's own sensibility gives the film an identity all its own.
What started as a fever dream induced hallucination of a towering metallic skeleton rising out of a billowing plume of flames, has now gone on to spawn a franchise of big budget movies, TV shows, theme park attractions, video games, comic books, toys, and merchandise that remain popular and ever-expanding even today. At the heart of it all, though, is still that original, action-packed, dark explosion of science fiction and suspense from 1984. James Cameron's 'The Terminator' is a milestone of its genre, effectively taking inspiration from all that came before, to end up with something refreshingly unique. After nearly thirty years, it continues to be one of the most influential sci-fi thrillers ever made.
For the very few who may not be familiar with the story, the tale follows an average waitress named Sarah Connor [Linda Hamilton], who suddenly becomes the target of an unstoppable, cybernetic killing machine from the future [Arnold Schwarzenegger]. A human soldier, Kyle Reese [Michael Biehn], is also sent to the past, and becomes Connor's only source of protection from the seemingly indestructible Terminator. Together, they flee from the metallic assassin in an exciting, edge-of-your-seat effects-laden spectacle that eventually sees the very fate of humanity hanging in the balance.
Serving as the audience's surrogate, Linda Hamilton is great as Sarah Connor, imbuing the role with a relatable every-woman appeal. Her character's gradual strengthening over the course of the story is handled well, and effectively hints at the more dramatic changes she will endure in the sequel. Michael Biehn is also solid as the brooding, war-weary hero from a dystopian future, and together the pair has decent, but not quite sparkling chemistry. Arnold Schwarzenegger's performance has of course become iconic, and no matter how many times it's been parodied or sanitized in later instalments, his cold, intimidating presence still brings an arresting level of true menace to the screen. So much so, that it momentarily purges this memory from my mind.
On the narrative front, James Cameron's script is strong on ideas, but a bit broad on characterisations, something that remains a common trait in much of the director's work. On the plus side, the overarching premise is pure sci-fi gold, brilliantly balancing a classic high concept idea with a surprisingly intimate and self-contained scope. Deeper themes dealing with the concepts of "man versus machine" and the violent pitfalls of technology are all potent and remain just as relevant today as when the movie was first released. While the screenplay does wear some clear influences on its sleeve, the film never becomes truly derivative (though, Harlan Ellison would certainly disagree), and quite to the contrary, it has gone on to inform an entire subgenre of science fiction.
As strong as this cybernetic backbone is, some of the finer points of the storytelling process aren't as fully realised, revealing a few clunky quirks in the director's creation. Dialogue (never Cameron's strongest point) can occasionally come across as a little cheesy, stilted, or overly dramatic. Likewise, the performances lose their way a bit, sometimes feeling artificial and forced. With that said, the core of the plotting and character development all still manage to work, creating a solid base for the director to expand upon, giving him free reign to explore the film's real focus big science fiction concepts, exciting action, and kick ass effects.
Through pioneering SFX work and an unrelenting cinematic pace, James Cameron brings an energetic and raw visual style to the proceedings. Though fairly low budget, the self-proclaimed "king of the world" rarely lets these monetary limitations show, filling the runtime with speeding chases, massive explosions, and suspenseful shootouts. Stan Winston's visual effects creations have become the stuff of legends, and while a few shots might be slightly dated, the film's make-up still holds up remarkably well. One really gets the sense that this is a work from a young filmmaker who has something to prove, and James Cameron clearly doesn't hold back.
Endlessly re-watchable and effortlessly entertaining, 'The Terminator' is a true staple of the science fiction genre, and a defining example of blockbuster filmmaking. While there are certain weaknesses in the script, the action, effects, and genuine creativity more than make up for any minor shortcomings. Through the story of an emotionless, virtually indestructible monster that will literally stop at nothing to destroy its targets, Cameron is able to tap into some of mankind's most basic fears, creating a visceral and truly frightening "tech noir" that hasn't lost any of its terrifying lustre. Even in Hollywood's current climate of massive budget, computer-generated summer tent-poles, 'The Terminator' continues to remind audiences and would-be filmmakers, that all one really needs to create explosive entertainment, is talent, ingenuity, and courage. Well, all that and a really, really big Austrian.
James Cameron gave the film a dark, grungy, "tech noir" look, dominated by night scenes and pounding action, and the effects followed suit, creating a vivid world on limited resources. If they don't always look "realistic" by the standards of CGI-enhanced modern effects, they are consistently dramatic and imaginative and have a visceral grit to them. Composer Brad Fiedel's percussive electronic score said, "It was the idea of this mechanical man and his heartbeat," he explained in an interview and matched James Cameron's driving pace. Reese shouted out exposition in the heat of action scenes, explaining the history of the future to Sarah Connor while on the run for their lives. The film slowed just enough for audiences to catch their collective breaths and ride the rhythm to the next action sequence, and James Cameron punctuated the tension and the action with witty flourishes and moments of black humour.
Finally, I found this very interesting comment by James Cameron on casting Arnold Schwarzenegger and I thought you would like to read it, and it is as follows: "Casting Arnold Schwarzenegger as our Terminator, on the other hand, shouldn't have worked. The guy is supposed to be an infiltration unit, and there's no way you wouldn't spot a Terminator in a crowd instantly if they all looked like Arnold. It made no sense whatsoever. But the beauty of movies is that they don't have to be logical. They just have to have plausibility. If there's a visceral, cinematic thing happening that the audience likes, they don't care if it goes against what's likely."
Blu-ray Video Quality – It's been a long time coming, but the Blu-ray gods have finally answered our prayers. After several worthless double dips, the film has at last been given a re-mastered video presentation to replace the old, problematic, and oftentimes ugly transfer found on all previous editions. Now provided with a 1080p encoded image in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, with the exception of one possible caveat, this new transfer offers a rather remarkable improvement all across the board. The noticeable damage and wear from the previous versions has all been cleaned away, and the print is now nearly pristine. Thankfully, grain is also better resolved, with a more natural and consistent appearance that's free from the periodically smeary and compressed quality found in the last encode (though it can still look just a tad static in some shots). Clarity is substantially improved as well, and while the movie still shows its gritty, low budget roots, there is now a strong sense of fine detail and dimension that was previously absent. Contrast remains steady, with solid black levels and good shadow delineation. This brings us to the new transfer's most controversial and only potentially off-putting aspect its altered colour timing. Yes, it's true many scenes do offer a comparatively teal hue. With that said, I actually think the adjusted style works pretty well, and while the frequently blue/greenish tinting isn't always appealing, I never found it to be particularly distracting (and I'm not usually a fan of this look). Likewise, the entire runtime isn't completely slathered in teal, and there is some nice pop in bright outdoor scenes. In fact, there are a few shots that actually look a bit more natural than the previous transfer, which occasionally had more of a washed out, faintly magenta/purple push to it. Now of course the question becomes which colour timing is more faithful to the original theatrical presentation and unfortunately, I'm simply in no position to answer that. For what it's worth, this seems to be how James Cameron wants the film to look now, and while some fans are certainly free to disagree, I think the resulting image is quite strong. With a dramatic increase in clarity and depth, this new re-mastered edition of 'The Terminator' offers a cleaner, sharper, and more filmic image. The teal colouring might put off some viewers, but I can't say that it bothered me much. For all intents and purposes, this is a fantastic visual upgrade.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – `The Terminator' is now presented in an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track (as opposed to LPCM), this is the same surround sound mix from the previous releases, and once again the original mono track is nowhere to be found. Dialogue is relatively clean, though there are some slight distortions and crackles in the high frequencies. Surround usage is ample and aggressive, sending laser blasts, explosions, gun shots, and squealing tires all around the room. Unfortunately, the soundstage can actually be a little too vigorous, and some of the directionality and imaging feels unnatural and forced. Likewise, there are balance issues, causing the effects work to overpower the rest of the track. Dynamic range and bass activity are both robust, giving a welcome sense of scale and kick to the action scenes, but neither is on par with contemporary efforts. I find the track to be mostly brilliant and effective, its lack of refinement was much more apparent to me this time around. Likewise, many fans have expressed dismay over its use of re-recorded effects (particularly gunshots) that don't fit as well with the on-screen action. By simply including the original mono mix, this could have been a perfect opportunity for the studio, to not only rectify the film's video issues, but its audio problems as well.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Creating the Terminator: Visual Effects & Music [480i] [13:00] This is a brief but interesting look at the making of the film's special effects, focusing on scenes set in the future, and the tanker truck explosion near the climax of the movie. Interviews with the VFX crew and behind-the-scenes footage are also provided, detailing how miniatures and forced perspective were used in the process. The music is touched upon as well, including an interview with the composer.
Special Feature: Terminator: A Retrospective [480i] [21:00] Here we get a look back at the film's production that mostly consists of a conversation between director James Cameron and star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Topics touched upon include the inspiration for the story, the casting process, crafting the character of The Terminator once Arnold was brought on board, Stan Winston's fantastic makeup and effects, and the success which led to the second film. Though far from ground-breaking, fans that somehow haven't already seen this feature on previous Blu-ray or DVD releases will definitely want to take a look now.
Special Feature: Terminator Scenes [480i] Seven deleted scenes are included here with 1.0 Dolby Digital audio, and are viewable individually. Though most are quick and disposable, there are a few extra bits of development between characters and several hints and setups to plotlines that would be later developed in the sequels and they are as follows:
1. Wholesome Sarah [1:00]; 2. Wrong Sarah [1:00]; 3. Lt. Traxler's Arc [2:00]; 4. Sarah Fights Back [5:00]; 5. Making Bombs [2:00]; 6. Tickling Reese [1:00]; 7. The Factory [1:00]
Finally, 'The Terminator' is a science fiction classic that still holds up remarkably well, serving as a testament to raw, low budget, innovative filmmaking. More than just another repackaging, this release finally offers fans a re-mastered video transfer. With the exception of an occasional teal push that might put off some viewers, the new picture is a sizeable improvement. Unfortunately, though decent, the included 5.1 track retains all of the issues fans have complained about for years, and the mono mix remains missing. Sadly there are no new supplements, but the regurgitated special features are worthwhile (if you haven't already seen them.) While this is an underwhelming release in many respects, the new video transfer really is a large improvement. This isn't the perfect disc many were hoping for, but as far as I'm concerned, it's still a worthy upgrade. Despite this, I am so very pleased I have this particular ultimate upgraded Blu-ray released and I am also so honoured to add this to my ever increasing Arnold Schwarzenegger Blu-ray Collection and until they release an Ultimate Re-mastered Blu-ray, this one is the one to purchase. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom