Terminator Salvation (Director’s Cut) Blu-ray Review

Published 4 years ago by , Updated December 1st, 2009 at 9:37 pm,

terminator salvation blu ray Terminator Salvation (Directors Cut) Blu ray Review

I’m finding that there are some movies that I like more upon a second viewing. It could be that once expectations are set aside (either upheld or smashed upon the first viewing) that it’s easier to accept a movie a bit more… forgivingly. While I certainly still don’t love Terminator Salvation (click link for my initial review), I’ll have to admit I found myself enjoying it more the second time around.

Terminator Salvation is released on DVD and Blu-ray this week, and I’ll be giving you the specs and a review of the Blu-ray director’s cut version right here. Terminator Salvation (Directors Cut) Blu ray Review

The film wasn’t the huge hit the studio was hoping for in the U.S., bringing in only $125MM. However it did much better overseas, bringing it’s worldwide total to a respectable $371MM. As far as reviews go, it earned a 32% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with the average review being 5/10 stars (I gave it 3/5). In our informal poll over at our Terminator Salvation contest, most people are giving it 3 or 4 out of 5 stars.

The movie suffered from lack of any real depth to the characters, little focus on John Connor (miscast with Christian Bale IMHO), and a story line that concentrated on Marcus Wright, who while being about the best thing in the movie, felt really out of place in the fabric of the entire mythos.

The best thing about the movie are the action set pieces, and on Blu-ray with a home theater set up they deliver. The picture quality is (pretty much as usual) excellent, showing uber-detail. The disc makes ample use of surround sound and the subwoofer in particular (always a good thing as far as I’m concerned).

One thing to be aware of in the Director’s Cut version of the film is that it does NOT have the 30-40 minutes of additional footage that McG said it would have when he talked about it earlier this year – the extended version is only about three minutes longer (and yes, it includes the topless scene with Moon Bloodgood). I don’t know what happened to all that extra footage since this is supposed to be the Director’s Cut of the movie. The topless scene is (as far as I could remember) the only brand new scene in the movie – the rest of the three minutes are just extensions of existing scenes in the movie with a bit more language and violence.

Oh, and if you want to watch the Director’s Cut and you don’t have a DVD player, you’re out of luck: That version is only available on Blu-ray. The DVD version is quite sparse – I don’t believe it even has any special features at all, but here are the specs on the Blu-ray [Update on the DVD version - apparently Target stores are offering a Director's Cut/SE version of the film on DVD. This is odd because it's not available at Amazon.com nor at Warner Bros' official store]:

Disc 1
Theatrical Version of Film (114 min., rated PG-13)
WB Maximum Movie Mode: Director McG hosts while you watch the movie:

  • Picture-in-Picture
  • Storyboard comparisons
  • Terminator mythology timeline

Also:

  • Re-Forging the Future: See how the filmmakers reinvented the franchise
  • The Moto-Terminator: Discover the unique relationship between the filmmakers and Ducati

Disc 2

  • Director’s Cut of Film (117 min., rated R)
  • BD-Live
  • Media Center

Featured Content:

  • “Resist or Be Terminated” Video Archive
  • Terminator Salvation Official Movie Prequel Digital Comic Issue #1
  • My Commentary
  • Live Community Screening

Disc 3

  • Digital Copy of Theatrical Version

terminator salvation blu ray2 Terminator Salvation (Directors Cut) Blu ray Review

One thing that bugged me a bit was the lack of any top level menu, and I think this isn’t specific to this disc – I really wish that some standard for Blu-ray was established when it comes to the menu system. On DVDs there’s ALWAYS a top level menu and usually you can just hit the MENU button to skip all the trailers they put up front. On this (and some other Blu-rays) you have to skip each opening trailer individually to get to the movie, and here it went straight INTO the movie instead of bringing up a menu with the usual settings, chapter selection, etc. You can access it but it’s with the sub-menu pop-up option.

The “Re-forging the Future” and “Moto-Terminator” featurettes are interesting (the moto-terminator one more if you’re into visual effects and concept design). My major takeaway from these featurettes was that they left me feeling kind of bad for the people behind the production. Even on films that aren’t very good most of the time the folks working on them are so very passionate and excited about the movie they’re working on, that I feel sorry for them when the film doesn’t turn out to be as great as they had hoped after putting all that hard work into it. There is also BD-Live content available, but since my player is not connected to the internet I wasn’t able to access that.

On the theatrical version there’s what they call “Maximum Movie Mode” or MMM. Instead of just an audio commentary, you get picture in picture video segments where McG breaks into the film to give more insight into the film and his approach to the project. There are also galleries, a Terminator timeline and other video segments that you can access while viewing the film. MMM on this film is a VERY cool feature and is one of the benefits of Blu-ray over DVD. It’s much more informative and interactive than a director’s commentary, and it includes a description of the alternate ending that McG wanted to do in which John Connor becomes a Terminator at the end of the film.

For more details on the Blu-ray head over to the official Terminator Salvation site.

TAGS: terminator salvation

53 Comments

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  1. Well the link has already been posted for the Weekly Ad, but IT IS at Target.com, so I’m not sure how you missed it. But yep, it’s there for sure.

  2. Lol here’s a link for you, just in case somehow you were unable to locate it again:

    http://www.target.com/Terminator-Salvation-DVD-Only-Target/dp/B002W9ZIZY/ref=sc_qi_detaillink

    What sucks about it, though, is that it is 24.99, which is nearly $10 more than the Blu-Ray. Unfortunately it looks like the only option for DVD owners in the States, besides importing. Enjoy!

  3. @Charles O

    How I was able to miss it? Did you see how buried that thing was? On a site for Target? Amazon doesn’t list it and neither does the WB site – how was I to assume a crappy ol’ Target would have a version neither of those two places did?

    Vic

  4. @Vic. Well, since you said you were unable to locate a copy of the Director’s Cut on DVD, I assumed you searched extensively. And then when I found it on Target.com by simply searching for “Terminator Salvation,” I was kind of surprised that you were unable to find it, especially after telling you it was there. Seeing as how it’s a Target exclusive, of course it won’t be listed at Amazon or WB.

    Either way, it’s there. You know it’s there, so you can get it, so don’t worry about it.

  5. I’m not sure the alternate ending was actually filmed. It was better though, might have at least made for a more interesting sequel with Bale as a Terminator, that fits his new acting range perfectly!

  6. Christian Bale has enormous range. Anyone who can’t see that is blind and/or completely ignorant. He has more than proven himself over the years. American Psycho and The Machinist alone (excluding all his other work) is proof enough. I love how any time someone plays a soldier in either a post apocalyptic setting or an absolute warzone they are criticized for being “wooden” or not being emotional enough or whatever the case may be. Think about this particular case: John Connor survived some profound, life changing events including WWIII and when TS starts he has been fighting in a post apocalyptic world for what, 15 years or so, and people apparently expect him to be a delicate little man, wearing a silky white robe and skipping through a field of tulips. Nobody seems to understand the context in which a story exists.

  7. I agree. Bale is an amazing actor, but his performance in this movie was just PATHETIC.

  8. Bales was horrible in Public Enemies. Although that movie was a big disapointment for me. (Could you please decide what this movie is about? The crooks? The FBI A love story? JUST CHOOSE) Anyway Bale’s accent was so distracting I cringed whenever he was about to speak. Hey Hollywood actors and actresses – if you can’t do an accent well, don’t do it. ‘Nuff said.

  9. @Charles

    I don’t want it to come across like I’m arguing, but it seems beyond odd to me that a Director’s cut of the DVD is available at Target but not at Amazon or on Warner Bros.’ own site. To me that’s like the SE DVD not existing anywhere, but wait, you can find it at Billy Joe-Bob’s DVD and Beef Jerky Emporium.

    Strange, is all. :-)

    Vic

  10. It is odd, yes. These days, all these separate retailers have stupid exclusives that should be available everywhere. It’s to the point that everytime there is a new, relatively big movie released, I go and look at what every company is offering, just in case I missed something. It’s kind of annoying, but hey, at least theres a copy available somewhere, lol.

    ~Charles

  11. don’t worry the extra 30mins will be tacked on in the ultimate director’s final cut edition a few months from now at twice the price.

  12. How dare you Vic insult Target like that. Me and my family have been going there every week for generations.. ;-D

    Christmas Eve tradition we all meet up at the Target cafeteria for hot pretzels… Doesn’t everyone?

  13. @Charles O

    Due to your investigative skills and prodding I’ve updated the review to indicate that you can find the SE version of the film on DVD at Target. Never let it be said that I don’t pay attention to my readers. :)

    Oh, and for someone else who asked – I guess I cut out of the theatrical version with MMM too soon… it DOES go into the alternate ending McG wanted for the film. Shows it in storyboard mode.

    Vic

  14. @ Vic

    “Billy Joe-Bob’s DVD and Beef Jerky Emporium”

    I’m insulted!! We eat there all the time while we are shopping for those hard to find DVD’s!! Thanks!!

  15. Don’t speak bad about Target, Vic. While it is a ghastly company to work for, they DID have the cool Iron Man special edition DVD in a plastic Iron Man helmet. :)

  16. Why on earth would Target (pronounced tar-jay for you homies :-) ) be selling the only DVD SE version? This doesn’t make since to me.

  17. I had a chance to watch the topless scene today, and its total hype!

    Its a side view in the rain, for about 2 seconds the rest of the time she’s covering up,,, lol

    The rating system is so ass backwards.

    Also noticed on the repeat viewing that Sam Worthington’s Australian accent comes through on more than one line,,, the film has some fun action scenes but its such a mess,,,

  18. Yeah, there wasn’t much to it – I can see why McG wanted it left in, it did emphasize the humanity of those left alive beyond being refugees or soldiers.

    Vic

  19. @Balboa

    I agree with your thoughts on Bale/John … to add to that, he’s living in a future he’s been prepared for all of his life. How would anyone handle that, realistically speaking? I think his performance was more somber because he had sacrificed so very much and saw so many unspeakable things in his life. If he were full of life & laughing, he’d be a character not worth saving.

    He (Bale) was more reserved in T:S than his performance in Reign of Fire – which is similar in circumstance only dragons as opposed to machines. I think his (much criticized) on-set blunder during production hurt the public opinion of his performance. (Being vague) I don’t think many audiences want their heroes/celebs to be human or flawed. That said, I don’t blame Bale for the quality of the film or his role.

  20. Well Vic, I felt the cleavage scene was meant to be a first sign of attraction between Moon’s character and Marcus, but I disagree that should be the reason it got an R rating…
    That’s just stupid!

  21. @ Vic

    I definitely agree the movie is better the second time through. I would classify it as “solid” now, whereas upon first screening in theaters I called it “OK”, but nothing to write home about.

  22. I thought bale wasnt so miscast as the lead for kyle reese who didnt look his age (looking older) and especialy Sam Worthington as the lead. Bale is not my favorite actor and in my opinion makes a great snide rich pompous badguy and thats about it, I have been less impressed with bale in any other role except American Psycho and Thinner (if i got that correctly).

    My biggest peeve with Star Trek and Terminator and Bond and Superman and mildly Batman (although not minding the new Batman music I prefer Burtons) is producers chucking the terrific musical score (wich in my opinion is why Terminator 3 onward started sucking). Music
    is 85% of a movie and just as important as a character in it, at least Lucas and Spielberge recognize the importance of music continuity with Indy/Star Wars.

    The first two terminators were absoultely terrific also because they were nonstop chase movies in addition to being action scifi films. something from T3 on they dropped. They really needed sarah connors voice over and maybe more of an appearance from Linda Hamilton as also part of the charm of Terminator 1 and 2 was it had an original idea of a strong female heroine, Terminator Salvation really doesnt innovate or elevate the genre or do anything new, her appearance also
    missed in T3.

    I was excited for this until I heard they dropped the music and dropped Vin Diesle as Sam Worthingtons character, that would have been epic, nobody can play an underdog dark con villianhero like Diesle. Like Star Trek 2009 Im not impressed with the Directors Cut, Plenty to like and Dislike, 3 minutes of extra footage isnt worth buying an
    extra dvd for. Nobody really cares about a medoicre directors input on the movie, those extras should be for guys like Cameron who can
    actualy teach something valid rather than a music video directors first film.

    Dont bother if youve already bought Terminator Salvation, much adu about nothing.

  23. @Johnny

    I laughed out loud after you said this movie would’ve been better if Vin had been cast as Marcus. Lol I’m sorry. But Vin? Really?

    And what director’s cut of Star Trek (2009) are you referring to?

    And how didn’t Salvation do anything new? It completely abandoned the setup of the original three.

    Sigh.

  24. Two problems: 1. Isn’t Kyle Reese too young?
    2. To my recollection,Kyle Reese doesn’t get sent back in time, so how is John Connor born?

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