Terminator Salvation (3-Disc Set), Blu-ray (2009)

by | Jan 19, 2010 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Terminator Salvation (3-Disc Set), Blu-ray (2009)

Starring: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Jane Alexander, Helena Bonham Carter  
Directed by: McG
Studio: Warner Home Video (2 Blu-rays + Digital Copy DVD)
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9, 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS HD-MA 5.1; French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: Director’s and theatrical versions on separate discs ; “The Moto-Terminator” featurette; “Re-Forging the Future” featurette; “Focus Points” Eleven production featurettes; BD-Live features; Digital copy
Length: 114 min. theatrical cut; 117 min. director’s cut
Movie Rating: ****       Video Rating: ****1/2
Audio Rating: *****       D-BOX Motion Rating: *****

The fourth installment in the Terminator movie franchise, “Terminator Salvation” opens with prison inmate Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) about to be put to death in the year 2003.  Before his lethal injection, Wright agrees to donate his body to some unique medical research.  The story then shifts to the year 2018 where John Connor (Christian Bale) and several members of the human resistance are attacking a Skynet base.  During this attack, Connor uncovers Skynet’s plans for a new terminator model, one that combines living human tissue and organs with machine parts.  Connor destroys the Skynet base and then heads to the resistance command center.  After relaying his findings to his commanding officer, Connor learns that the resistance may have found some vulnerability in Skynet’s defenses.  A fullscale attack has been planned on Skynet based on this information. 

Meanwhile, Wright emerges from the rubble of the Skynet base that Connor destroyed.  Wright has no memory of who he is, or how he came to arrive at the Skynet base.  He sets out to find answers to these questions and befriends a young Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) along the way.  Reese is hoping to find Connor and join the resistance.  As the story continues to unfold, all three men (Connor, Reese, and Wright) play pivotal roles in the resistance’s effort to destroy the Skynet global command center and save mankind from total annihilation.

While “Terminator Salvation” may not be considered a classic sci-fi film like the first two entries in the Terminator franchise, I found it enjoyable to watch nonetheless.  It delivers what most people expect from a summer big-budget release, namely lots of action and outstanding special effects.  What prevents this film from being great is that it focuses so heavily on action that it doesn’t have the time to better develop the characters.  The emotional connection that was formed between the young John Connor and the Schwarzenegger T-800 model in “Terminator 2” made that movie special, and that ‘human element’ is absent in “Terminator Salvation”. 

The overall high definition video quality of this Blu-ray is excellent.  Images are pristine with exquisite detail.  Black levels are uniformly deep throughout the film.  Colors, stylistically displayed in a muted palette, are accurate with appropriately-saturated hues.  Picture defect mastering is outstanding with no major flaws or compression artifacts.  The overall audio quality is also excellent with the English DTS 5.1 track.  The soundtrack aggressively incorporates all of the discrete channels into a very dynamic mix.  Dialogue is crisp, always intelligible even amidst all of the on-screen action, and firmly rooted in the center channel.  The surround channels are heavily utilized for the explosive sound effects and Danny Elfman’s music score, plus include numerous split rear effects.  The low frequency effects channel provides many moments of deep rumble.
“Terminator Salvation” is compatible with the “D-BOX” Motion Code™ System, meaning that if you have the necessary D-BOX equipment, your movie viewing experience will be enhanced by adding both motion and vibration to your chosen seating.  Hands down, this is the best D-BOX movie that I have experienced so far.  I would approximate that a solid one-third of the movie has motion effects and/or vibration present.  Plenty of up-and-down and side-to-side movements, along with lots of vibration, are used to simulate helicopters flights, vehicle chases, crashes, hand-to-hand combat, gunfire, and multiple explosions.  “Terminator Salvation” is a reference-caliber D-BOX Blu-ray title with D-BOX quality that rates as excellent.

-Calvin Harding Jr.

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