The Terminator Trilogy Hits High-Def: Three Studios, Two Disc Formats, One Reviewer

Friday, September 22, 2006 at 12:24 AM ET

It could only happen in Hollywood. With the release on September 26 of 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines' on HD DVD, all three Terminator movies will now be available on high-def -- unfortunately, you'll need both an HD DVD player and a Blu-ray player to see them all.

The reason, of course, is because all three films are distributed by different studios here in the U.S., and each of the three studios have their own high-def format alliances.

And while it's an absurd situation for fans of the series and early adopters of both formats, it does present a unique opportunity to compare the differing approaches of the three studios releasing the films across the two high-def formats, so we asked High-Def Digest editor Peter Bracke (who has watched and reviewed all three titles) for his top line thoughts on each of the high-def 'Terminator' releases, and his comments follow below:

The Terminator
MGM/Sony, Blu-ray; $28.95

Bracke says: "One of MGM's inaugural Blu-ray releases with Sony, 'The Terminator' was a better-than-average launch title for the format when it was released back in June. A nicely cleaned-up transfer -- with bold colors and a surprising lack of grain and dirt on the source print -- almost made me forget that this was a film made on a pittance over two decades ago.

Unfortunately, as with most early Blu-ray releases, 'The Terminator' was almost entirely shorn of the bonus features that graced the highly- acclaimed standard-def DVD special edition. A pithy featurette and a few deleted scenes just didn't quite cut it."  Read full review...

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Lionsgate, Blu-ray; $29.99

Bracke says: "With a record number of standard DVD releases of 'Terminator 2' (including the 'Extreme Edition' and the 'Ultimate Edition'), any next-gen format release of this modern sci-fi classic has a lot to live up to. Like its predecessor, only coming from a different studio, 'Terminator 2' on Blu-ray is another relatively bare bones release that is only saved by the fine transfer and aggressive Dolby Digital and DTS soundtrack options.

Given Lionsgate's track record of releasing 'T2' in about a 128,364 different configurations on disc, don't be surprised if the flick is re-released on Blu-ray in some new and improved version by this time next year."
Read full review...

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Warner, HD DVD; $29.99

Bracke says: "Now, this is how it's done. Warner gives 'Terminator 3' the deluxe treatment on HD DVD, complete with an great transfer, fine soundtrack and tons of extras, including the HD exclusive "In-Movie Experience" interactive video commentary.

The good news for Blu-ray fans is that with Warner taking a format-agnostic approach, a Blu-ray version of 'T3' can't be far behind. Word on the street is that once a healthy supply of BD-50, dual-layer discs are finally ready for primetime, Warner will begin issuing their more feature-loaded HD DVD titles (such as 'T3') on Blu-ray."  Read full review...

For Peter Bracke's complete, detailed reviews of each of the Terminator movies, click the linked titles below:

The Terminator
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines