Terminator Anthology [Blu-ray]

Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, Edward Furlong
Directors: James Cameron, Jonathan Mostow, McG
Format: Box set, Blu-ray, Color, Widescreen
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
Number of discs: 5
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Run Time: 487 minutes

Special Features:

- The Terminator: A Retrospective
- Other Voices documentary with James Cameron
- Cast and crew interviews about The Terminator
- The Terminator deleted Scenes with James Cameron
- Audio commentary with James Cameron and writer William Wisher on Terminator 2
- Terminator 2 cast and crew audio commentary
- Terminator 2 deleted Scenes and outtakes
- Over eight hours of interactive Terminator 2 special features, such as behind-the-scenes video and multimedia galleries, storyboard-script mode, quizzes, and games
- Three audio commentaries for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
- Terminator Salvation mythology timelines
- Terminator Salvation: Re-Forging the Future documentary




It is rather ironic how a B-movie made for a mere $6.4 million in 1984 would go on to spawn a franchise that will encompass three mega budget blockbuster sequels in the decades to follow. The first sequel, Terminator 2 – Judgment Day (in 1991), would cost $94 million to make while Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) and Terminator Salvation (2009) would cost $200 million apiece!

Quite an achievement for a movie by a first-time director (James Cameron making his directing debut after being kicked off Piranha 2) featuring an actor who had yet to make it to the A-list!

Rewatching the four movies today it is instructive to see how much special effects have progressed throughout the years largely thanks to CGI. It is however also interesting to note what a long way some ingenuity and old-fashioned model work can go: it is still difficult to believe that that fuel tanker blowing up in flames in the first Terminator is actually nothing but a model truck! With the later sequels one at times wishes that the film-makers had opted for some model work instead of some very obvious CG.

That said, the first Terminator movie has also aged the worst of the bunch thanks to a dated synth score, low-budget effect work and some bad ‘Eighties fashion. It however remains a bona fide sci-fi classic and so does Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which most memorably bought us the liquid metal Terminator. The last two movies however try too hard to be Terminator movies. They tiredly repeat memorable dialogue from the first movie in “homage” and even go so far as to feature Guns ‘n’ Roses songs as an in-joke. Yet despite the high-budget gloss a feeling of creative bankruptcy lingers although it must be said that both at least tries to advance the Terminator mythos by blowing up the world at the end of Terminator 3 and setting Salvation in the post-apocalypse. Story-wise it becomes like a snake devouring its own tale, a bit like the original batch of 1970s Planet of the Apes movies.

THE DISCS: If you’re the type that collects box sets of blockbuster science fiction movies you’ll know that this is the first time that the four Terminator movies have been all bundled together. This is largely because the video rights for the various movies reside with different companies – Terminator resides with MGM; Terminator 2 with Lions Gate; and Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation with Warner Home Video. (The Terminator series have always had a convoluted rights history because the original company that made the first two movies went belly up.)

Unfortunately all this “new” box set does is bundle together the existing Blu-ray discs as one package. So this new Anthology set does not represent an upgrade in any sense of the word. If you already own any of these movies on Blu-ray there is no reason to buy this. In fact these are the very exact same discs you’d get if you were purchase any of the movie separately. The discs haven’t been overhauled in any way whatsoever and they in fact still bear the corporate logos of the company that made them instead of Warner Home Video who is in fact releasing this set. So you get some rather dated trailers for xXx (2002) and Underworld: Evolution (2006) on the disc containing the first Terminator movie.

Despite old bonus features there is no consistent menu design to the discs. Worst though is that Terminator 2, released by Lions Gate, has region encoding and will only play on Region A/1 and region-free Blu-ray players. This is in direct contrast to Warner Home Video’s policy of not enforcing region encoding on any of their discs. (The other four discs have no region encoding and will play on any Blu-ray player.)

Buyers should also note that the first Terminator disc here is not the so-called “special edition” and has a limited number of special features compared to the newer release.

WORTH IT? Packaging all the Terminator movies together for the first would have been a great opportunity to bring out a consistent set with some up-to-date featurettes but it was not to be, alas.

RECOMMENDATION: There is no particular reason to buy this box set if you already own one or more of these flicks on Blu-ray or even on DVD. Buying the Anthology at Best Buy might cost you marginally – perhaps a dollar or so - less than buying the movies separately, but that is about the only advantage to be had.



blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).