DVD of the Week – Disc Commentary Track for Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
by NIR SHALEV
Today’s DVD pick is the commentary track for Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This commentary track was recorded in a studio in 2003. It features the voices of director James Cameron and co-writer William Wisher. On this commentary, Cameron and Wisher talk about the film’s incorporation of the paradox of time travel and how although it’s a spectacular action film, it maintains its core idealism by developing its characters until the end credits run.
They talk about the special effects in the film and how CGI (computer generated images) was making itself known to the world in the late 80’s; the way in which even the actors can be replaced with CGI versions of themselves. Industrial Light and Magic (George Lucas’ special effects company) provided all of the CGI in the film but most of the special effects in the film, a good 70%, were practical. James Cameron also mentions many times how a certain stuntman had injured himself because stunts were a major focus and feature of the film.
Cameron talks about the terrific chemistry the actors had with one another. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s terminator was the father figure, Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Conner was the overprotective mother, and Edward Furlong was the teenage boy who was to grow up to become the leader of all of mankind. They were a type of “Atomic family” and at one point Sarah Conner picks up a rifle and decides to assassinate the creator of the cyborgs (in their present), thus becoming a terminator herself.
These kinds of complexities cannot be absorbed right away and repeat viewings are necessary, but this commentary track is a great education in screenwriting as well as a (practical) special effects showcase. We can learn how to make science fiction visually interesting while having great character development at the same time.
This version has been mastered from a 1080p high definition print and has 5.1 surround, THX optimizer, and various subtitles. The second disc of the set is where things get awesome. It features a 1080p version of the film that can be viewed on a desktop or laptop computer WITH the software to run it. It’s like an early version of a digital disc, but before Blu-ray discs came out.
New releases this week: Bride Wars, Hotel for Dogs, The Uninvited