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"Terminator Anthology" Blu-ray set presents the original cyborgs-vs.-human saga

Terminator Anthology

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On October 26, 1984, Orion Pictures released The Terminator, a science fiction/action adventure film co-written by James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd and William Wisher, Jr. and directed by Cameron (Titanic, Avatar). Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role, Cameron’s directorial debut was a time-travel story about a lethal and seemingly unstoppable cyborg sent back to 1984 from the future by a sentient computer network, Skynet, to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) before she becomes the mother to John Conmor, Skynet’s human nemesis.

Schwarzenegger's Terminator "will be back" in Terminator: Genesis
Schwarzenegger's Terminator "will be back" in Terminator: Genesis
Photo by Ken Ishii/Getty Images

Though The Terminator was not expected to become a box office success, it earned $78.000,000 during its worldwide theatrical run. The film’s success helped make Schwarzenegger a bankable lead actor and launched a multi-media franchise which includes three feature film sequels, a Fox TV series (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), video games, graphic novels, and a trilogy of novels about John Connor.

In addition, Annapurna Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Skydance Productions are rebooting the Terminator saga with a new trilogy of films which aren’t connected to the existing quadrilogy. Terminator Genesis, due for release in 2015, is currently in production and will feature the return of Schwarzenegger to the franchise. Its cast will include Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) as Sarah Connor. It is also rumored that Zero Dark Thirty actor Jason Clarke is in discussions with director Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) to take the role of John Connor.

The four films of the James Cameron-created storyline have been released for home viewing on videocassette, DVD, and Blu-ray disc (BD) several times since the mid-1980s, but Warner Home Video’s Terminator Anthology is the first BD box set that includes The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and Terminator Salvation.

When the Terminator – a terrifying cyborg sent from the future to destroy mankind – made its first elerctrifying appearance, the adrenaline-charged sci-fi thriller became an instant, enduring icon! Now, for the first time, all four chapters of the spine-tingling Terminator saga – from the initial attack of the machines to John Connor’s resistance – are available in one comprehensive 5-Disc collection chronicling the battle between the human race and Skynet! Go deep inside the resistance and explore hours of extras and multiple director commentaries. Live the battles on Blu-ray. - Terminator Anthology blurb.

Content

THE TERMINATOR (1984)

The Terminator: A Retrospective

“Other Voices” Documentary with James Cameron interviews

Deleted Scenes with James Cameron audio

T2: SKYNET EDITION (1991)

All 3 versions of T2 in 1080p THX - Theatrical, Extended and Special Editions

T2 Audio commentary with James Cameron and writer William Wisher

T2 Cast & Crew audio commentary

Deleted Scenes/ Outtakes

Over 8 hours of interactive special features: behind-the-scenes video and multimedia galleries, storyboard-script mode, quizzes and games

TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES

3 Separate audio commentaries with Director and Cast

TV Special: "HBO First Look"

2 Special Featurettes: “Dressed to Kill” and “Toys in Action”

Storyboards; Deleted Scene; Theatrical Trailer

TERMINATOR: SALVATION

Original Theatrical and Director’s Cut versions of the film

Storyboard comparisons

Terminator Mythology timelines

“The Moto-Terminator” featurette

“Re-Forging the Future” featurette

Terminator Salvation Official Movie Prequel Digital Comic Issue #1

“Resist or Be Terminated” Video Archive

Packaging: Warner Home Video ensconces the five BDs of the Terminator Anthology in a nicely designed DigiPack which comes with a slipcover. The slipcover’s color scheme is a menacing mixture of dark colors, the blue and white “Blu-ray Disc” logo on top, and a silver logo which says Terminator Anthology. Under the latter, there is a stylized “T” cut out to reveal a menacing endoskeleton’s skull and its red mechanical eyes.

Evaluating Terminator Anthology: As is usually the case when a “one-shot” movie becomes a franchise that involves not only different directors but different production companies, the quality of the films is somewhat uneven. This is more true of the last two films, partly because of the 12-year gap between T2 and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, but mostly because James Cameron did not participate in the making of T3 and Terminator Salvation. There is a stylistic difference between Cameron’s films and those by Jonathan Mostow and McG. Happily, the stories told in all four films tend to be thematically consistent, unlike those in 20th Century Fox’s Alien franchise.

As box sets go, Terminator Anthology is a nice collection to get.

The packaging, for instance, is nice to look at. I like the color scheme the designers chose and that exoskeleton’s chrome-colored skull, with its red bas relief eyes and evil-looking grin, looks mean as hell. However, the slipcover and the 5-disc DigiPack are not as sturdy as the Star Wars: The Complete Saga, The Alien Anthology, or Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures box sets from (respectively) 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Video.

The DigiPack which holds the five BDs is one of those fold-out cardboard-and-plastic affairs that fit neatly in the outer slipcover, albeit with a bit of careful handling. The Terminator, T2, and Terminator 3; Rise of the Machines come in the first three disc-holding compartments, while the two-disc Terminator Salvation set fits in one of those overlapping disc-holders where one BD can be tucked under the other and secured by the “hub” that mates with the hole in the center of each disc. In theory, this prevents the BD from getting loose in the package and getting scratched on the playable side. In practice, however, one must make sure that the discs are secure, or else they will get loose.

This is why I prefer the sturdier book-like DigiPacks of the Star Wars, Alien, and Indiana Jones franchises; they might be more expensive and even a bit tricky to handle, but they are more durable and protect the BDs better.

As for the extra features in the Terminator Anthology, there are no exclusive new documentaries or featurettes. All of the extras in the BDs in this set are ported over from their DVD counterparts and, except for those in the Termination Salvation set, most are presented in standard definition.

This, of course, makes the Terminator Anthology a “must-get” set for four constituencies: Terminator fans who haven’t purchased the individual films’ BDs Terminator fans who have the individual movies on BD and want a backup set “just in case” one or more of their movies get damaged, and Terminator fans who might want this set to “show off” on their video shelves even though they may already own the earlier single-movie BDs.

Finally, this set is great for new viewers who may not have seen any of the four films and may wish to experience the Terminator franchise before watching the 2015 reboot, Terminator: Genesis.

Blu-ray Technical Specs and Packaging Details

  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013
  • Run Time: 485 minutes

Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: see individual releases
Original aspect ratio: see individual releases

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: LPCM 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles
See individual releases

Discs
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Five-disc set (5 BDs)
Bonus View (PiP)
BD-Live

Packaging
Slipcover in original pressing
DigiPack