Delayed for over a year, the release of the US Region 1 Ultimate Edition of "Terminator 2: Judgment Day", produced by Van Ling, has now made it onto UK Region 2 DVD. The problem was how to author in all the special features onto the discs, especially in the higher resolution PAL format. The job has been done and it's a good one, although there are a few omissions.
While the US release offers both the original theatrical version and the longer director's cut, this UK disc only contains the new version. It's unlikely that most fans would object to the version that offers more, especially when the technical spec is so good.
The picture quality is excellent, with only a few slightly grainy moments in a few darker scenes, while you have two choices for sound - choose between a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX or DTS 5.1 ES sound mix to go with the film. The latter seems to be a touch more enveloping, but you'll hardly suffer if you opt for the Dolby option. The sheer amount of bass on offer is quite frightening but will showcase good subwoofers.
The Ultimate Edition DVD was overseen by Van Ling, who then went on to produce the "Phantom Menace" DVD. He was also the creative supervisor and visual effects co-ordinator on "Terminator 2", so he's ideally placed to host the audio commentary on the disc. It's made up of comments from 26 interviewees, including director James Cameron. There's a lot of detail on the special effects processes and on the re-insertion of the new scenes.
Also on disc one are cast and crew biographies and filmographies, and a THX test signal package. Be warned: the THX process should not be considered as the ultimate judge of your system, merely a guide.
An undoubtedly packed disc, the one complaint is the navigation. The animated menus look incredible (as with disc one), but finding all the features is a bit of a chore. Once found, though, most are worth a look and "T2" fans have a lot to explore: The making of "T2" is a mix of behind the scenes footage, and cast and crew interviews. With a running time of 30 minutes, this documentary offers a good look at the film - from conceptual design right through to execution.
"T2": More than Meets the Eye is a 22-minute featurette that examines the deleted footage, what was then re-instated to the movie, and opinions as to why they were missed out in the first place. On the downside, the making of "T2: 3-D" is a cheesy 23-minute look at the creation of the Universal Studios theme park ride: tiresome and boring.
There's also one teaser, three trailers, and four short interview segments on offer in a section entitled Interrogation Surveillance Archives. James Cameron features in three of them, discussing script development. You can even read the script, and check out over 700 storyboard stills.
On top of all this, there's also the Ultimate "T2" DVD Supplement! This massive section is like an encyclopaedia of "Terminator 2". Everything is covered - from concept to execution; public and critical reaction. This 50-chapter feature comprises short video segments, stills and text audio.
By the time you've got through both discs, it's hard to imagine that there's anything left to cover, and for a "T2" fan, it surely doesn't get much better than this truly Ultimate Edition.
Ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, DTS 5.1 ES
Technical Features: Scene selection, multiple language subtitles, and animated menus.