We are all too familiar with the story of this movie, so I will spare you the details. "The Terminator" was a sleeper sci-fi hit that was a rarity in its genre. Movie-goers were beginning to see sci-fi films that rose above others in the genre and even other genres. "Alien", "Blade Runner", "Star Wars", and, the film that started the revolution, "2001: A Space Odyessy". What made "Terminator" so different was not just another bleak view of the future, but a tense, edgy thriller with some damn fine writing. But while it took an effort to make films like those, it took a greater one to make a sequel. "Aliens", "The Empire Strikes Back", and very few others accomplished this task successfully. As for "T2", unless you've been living under a rock, we all know how well it did. This is definitely the best of the series (in my opinion at least) and definitely one of the best action movies to grace the face of our planet. This is the movie that also started the trend of making action movies with ridiculously huge budgets and paying action stars ridiculously huge salaries. But T2 delivers, with a great story, stunning visuals, and Schwarzenegger in his prime. Plus who can forget Brad Fiedel's synthetic score which has been parodied numerous times?
Why another DVD though? This film has been put on DVD almost as many times as "Independence Day". Special features are somewhat reserved here, so what justifies another release? DVD producer Van Ling answers the question in a quaint little insert about how new technology has developed since the last T2 transfer. They can now present T2 the way it should be, digitally mastered from a 1080p, 24sf digital telecline transfer for "superior video and audio quality". This release of T2 is aimed toward the home theater crowd. All that confusing talk means that the picture is presented with more clarity.
And the sound is just awesome. The DTS track has been dropped from the "Ultimate Edition" in exchange for a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX track and a Dolby headphone track. If you have the technology, try to watch a DVD with a DTS track whenever possible. In the case of this DVD, there's only the Dolby 5.1 EX track. But the track on this "Extreme DVD" defies both the Dolby and DTS tracks from the "Ultimate Edition". It takes full advantage of a dimensional sound field.
The goodies here are minimal; a SFX documentary, a behind the scenes montage, and a few DVD-ROM goodies that I didn't bother to try. But there is the original version of the film available to Windows Media Player 9 users on the second disc. You can watch it on the first disc as well, it's disguised as an easter egg. On the main menu of Disc 1, hit the right button five times while highlighting "Play Extended Version". There's also an enhanced mode with behind the scnes and there's a spankin new commentary by James Cameron himself.
But the question remains; is this DVD worth buying? It really boils down to what your reasons are for buying this new DVD. If you don't own the film, yes. If you're troubled by the mediocre video quality of either of the first two releases, then yes. If you want Cameron's commentary and other new supplements, yes. And if you want to playback T2 in HD on your PC (and even if you find that your computer equipment is currently insufficient for HD playback), yes. But if you want extensive behind the scenes, you might want to stick with your "Ultimate Edition". This "Extreme Edition" delivers though, despite falling short in the behind the scenes section.