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Terminator 2: Extreme Edition

A few years after Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) barely escaped with her life in James Cameron's 1985 The Terminator, she has been committed to a mental institution as a paranoid schizophrenic, while her adolescent son John (Edward Furlong) is in the custody of foster parents. But the forces from the future return, in the form of both an advanced prototype T-1000 Terminator who has been assigned to kill John (played with a feline, predatory quality by Robert Patrick), and an earlier Terminator model (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who is now a protector instead of a killer. Chock-full of director James Cameron's methodically crafted action sequences and featuring a passionate performance from Hamilton, Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a bonafide sci-fi classic, despite the fact that Furlong is an annoying git throughout and Cameron gives in to some of his more overindulgent instincts (do we really need two semi-truck chases?). Artisan has re-issued this fan-favorite on DVD for the third time, even though the first version (from 1998) was something of a legend in DVD circles, in part because it was the first RSDL disc released — demonstrating that films on DVD over two hours could be played without a side-break — and because it employed the ambitious "Video Descriptive Service" audio track for the blind, a feature that unfortunately has yet to appear on many subsequent DVD releases, while the follow-up "Ultimate Edition" (need we remind the folks at Artisan that "ultimate" means "final"?) featured all the supplements one would want out of the film and a DTS track. The "Extreme Edition" (is the word "extreme" passé yet?) has been released as a tie-in for 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, but it does offer a few new treats for the die-hards who don't mind being triple-dipped. The film is presented in its "director's cut" in a brand new anamorphic transfer and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, as well as a headphone-ready 2.0 surround track. Though the theatrical cut is included on the second disc in a PC-users-only format, on Disc One at the main menu if you press the right button on your remote five times, the theatrical (and better) cut can be accessed. This transfer is (unfortunately) better than the Ultimate edition (don't believe us? Check here for screen shots), but it doesn't include a DTS track. What it does have is the first-ever feature-length audio commentary from James Cameron and screenwriter William Wisher, and for all his reticence about recording one, Cameron does a fine job. Also available is a data subtitle track that runs throughout the movie and provides a wealth of information, along with pop-up icons that go to related bits of footage talking about the effects and "making-of"s. Mostly DVD-ROM content can be found on the second disc, but there is a 24-minute documentary called "No Fate but What We Make" that examines the digital-effects revolution T2 started (and includes interview footage with Peter Jackson). Also included is an eight-minute featurette entitled "T2: On the Set". Dual-DVD slimline keep-case with metal slipcover.

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