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Terminator 2: Judgment Day (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Review)

December 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is a magnificent, classic James Cameron sci-fi action film.  And as the film had various releases on DVD and Blu-ray, unfortunately this is not the perfect 4K Ultra HD release that fans may have wanted.  The film would stand on its own but this 4K Ultra HD release defeats the point of being a great release with the overuse of DNR.

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lionsgate. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 1991

DURATION: 137 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p 4K Ultra High Definition, 2:40:1 aspect ratio, English, French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, German 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.  SUBTITLES: English, Spanish, French and German Subtitles

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: R (Strong Sci-Fi Action and Violence and For Language)

RELEASE DATE: December 26, 2017


Directed by James Cameron

Written by James Cameron, William Wisher

Producer: James Cameron

Executive Producer: Gale Ann Hurd, Mario Kassar

Co-Producer: Stephanie Austin, B.J. Rack

Music by Brad Fiedel

Cinematography by Adam Greenberg

Edited by Conrad Buff IV, Dody Dorn, Mark Goldblatt, Richard A. Harris

Casting by Mali Finn

Production Design by Joseph C. Nemec III

Art Direction by Joseph P. Lucky

Set Decoration by John M. Dwyer

Costume Design by Marlene Stewart


Starring:

Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor

Edward Furlong as John Connor

Robert Patrick as T-1000

Earl Boen as Dr. Silberman

Joe Morton as Miles Dyson

S. Epatha Merkerson as Tarissa Dyson

Castuolo Guerra as Enrique Salceda

Danny Cooksey as Tim

Jenette Goldstein as Janelle Voight

Xander Berkeley as Todd Voight


Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator in this explosive action-adventure spectacle. Now he’s one of the good guys, sent back in time to protect John Connor, the boy destined to lead the freedom fighters of the future. Linda Hamilton reprises her role as Sarah Connor, John’s mother, a quintessential survivor who has been institutionalized for her warning of the nuclear holocaust she knows is inevitable. Together, the threesome must find a way to stop the ultimate enemy: the T-1000, the most lethal Terminator ever created. Co-written, produced, and directed by James Cameron (THE TERMINATOR, ALIENS, TITANIC), this visual tour de force is also a touching human story of survival.


For those who grew up during the early years of cable television, James Cameron’s 1984 film “Terminator” shocked and electrified audiences with its special effects and the film’s final scenes.

When it was announced that a sequel was being planned and would be released in 1991, bringing back Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role as the Terminator and Linda Hamilton, reprising her role as Sarah Connor.

Suffice to say, the second installment of the “Terminator” franchise didn’t disappoint.  Earning $523.7 million in the box office, which was a huge box office success and earning critical acclaim.

The film would also star a young Edward Furlong (“Detroit Rock City”, “American History X”), Robert Patrick (“The Faculty”, “The Marine”, “Charlie’s Angels”) and Joe Morton (“Justice League”, “Paycheck”, “Speed”) and the film has been released on video via theatrical version, special edition and extended special edition on VHS, LD, DVD, Blu-ray and now on 4K Ultra HD.

And I will be reviewing the 4K Ultra HD version.  It’s important to note that the 4K Ultra HD version features the original theatrical version, but it’s included Blu-ray includes all three versions of the film.

The film is set in 1995, John Connor (portrayed by Edward Furlong) is living with his foster parents and tends to get into trouble.  Meanwhile, his mother, Sarah (portrayed by Linda Hamilton) was arrested and imprisoned at a mental hospital after attempting to bomb a computer factory.

Prior to that, John’s mother had been preparing him for his role as the Human Resistance Leader against Skynet, the artificial intelligence that will be given control of the United States nuclear missile technology and would initiate a nuclear holocaust known as “Judgment Day” on August 29, 1997.

With 3 billion humans killed, Skynet would create robots known as Terminators to kill humankind.  But fighting them is the Human Resistance and in the future, John sends a reprogrammed T-800 Terminator (portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger) to find and protect his younger self back in 1995.

But Skynet sends a new Terminator known as T-1000 back in time to kill John Connor and this time, the Terminator is made out of mimetic poly-alloy (liquid metal), so this new Terminator can take any shape and appearance and make any part of its body a weapon.  In this case, transforming his arms into blades.

The Terminator T-800 is able to trackdown John, who is running away from the T-1000 Terminator disguised as a police officer.  Because the Terminator follows John’s instructions, fearing that the T-1000 will kill his mother, John orders the Terminator to help him rescue his mother Sarah.

As the two are able to free Sarah, she is intent in finding Miles Bennett Dyson (portrayed by Joe Morton), the Cyberdyne Systems engineer responsible for creating Skynet.

But hot on their trail is the T-1000 intent in killing all of them.

Can Sarah, John and the T-800 survive against the T-1000?


VIDEO:

“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is presented in 4K Ultra High Definition ala 2160p 4K Ultra High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio).

Picture quality was a bit of a surprise.  Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) was utilized for the clean up for the video and so, the film is devoid of the grain that it previously incorporated.  While casual viewers probably may not be able to tell, videophiles will notice the change in details as picture quality is a bit waxy.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player + a high-speed HDMI (Category 2) Cable.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Lossless audio quality is very good with an English and French 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack and a German 6.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack.  With the high level of action featured in this film, may it be the T-800 vs. the T-1000 or the Terminator taking on the police with machine guns ablazing, this is no doubt an immersive action-driven soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” comes with the following special features (on the Blu-ray Disc):

  • T2: Reprogramming the Terminator – The Making of T2 Documentary from 1993 – (30:54) The original “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” documentary from 1993.
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio commentary – (3:13) Two deleted scenes with optional audio commentary from James Cameron.

EXTRAS:

“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” comes with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray disc and an UltraViolet Digital HD code (Theatrical Version).


“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is one of those films that I watch often, mainly because it’s a film that brings me a lot of memories.

Going out on a movie date with my girlfriend, who would eventually become my wife.  Purchasing the film on VHS, LD, DVD, multiple times on Blu-ray and now once again watching it on 4K Ultra HD.

Of all the “Terminator” film installments, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” resonates strongly for its storyline and character portrayals and it was an amazing follow-up to the first film.  It was James Cameron’s story, his vision and executed his way.  As for the other films that came after, unfortunately, other films were quite forgetful.

It’s a shame that director James Cameron never came back to “Terminator” soon after the 1991 release, but he, Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton will be back with the sequel to “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” in 2019 and for me, I just want to see the “Terminator” series done right and with James Cameron back, perhaps this is what the franchise had needed long ago.

But as I watch this film again, I still enjoyed it like I did when I was in my teens.  It’s an awesome sci-fi action film that builds upon the original and while there are plenty of action sequences, in today’s cinema world, which dominates many action films over its plot, Cameron wrote a film that balances its action with a storyline that matters.  A storyline that captivates you and a storyline that no doubt took advantage of the special effects of its time in its full efficacy.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was fantastic as the reprogrammed T-800 trying to protect a young John Connor while helping his toned mother, Sarah, portrayed by the toned, muscular Linda Hamilton showing us that she has become a strong female character that can kick a lot of arse. I remember watching her scenes and being amazed of how much she worked out for this film and at the time, showing us a strong female character that took matter into her own hands in order to get the job done.  That was really rare to see in the early ’90s.

You then had the debut of Edward Furlong who had a promising outlook to another young actor at the time, Leonardo DiCaprio but both with two different outcomes in their personal life and acting career.  And sure enough, it was James Cameron’s 1997 “Titanic” film starring DiCaprio that would shoot the young actor’s career into superstardom.  And you had Robert Patrick in one of the coolest antagonist roles at the time.

The film just worked as the action and storyline went smoothly but what James Cameron has planned for the next film, will be exciting to see.  And I look forward to seeing it.

As awesome this film was and how many times I have owned it, I have been looking forward to this 4K Ultra HD version.  As much as I enjoy this film, there are a few problematic things with this release that prevents it from being a five-star release.  All three films are presented in this release, but only on the Blu-ray disc.  The 4K Ultra HD version only showcases the original theatrical version.

The next unfortunate part of this release is the choice to utilize DNR to strip the film’s grain and for videophiles who care about picture quality, this is a no-no.  When you remove the DNR, things look waxy and this may be fine for the casual viewer but for those who invested in 4K Ultra HD, the experience in watching these films in the best way and as close to the original presentation is important.  So, why the choice to use DNR, I am not sure but it affected the picture quality of this release.

But again, all is not lost, as you do get the three versions: theatrical, special edition and extended special edition on the Blu-ray disc and you do get an UltraViolet Digital HD code for the theatrical version.

As for lossless audio, the film sounds great especially how immersive things become during the more action-driven scenes in the film.  So, that’s a plus!

As for special features, the original 1991 documentary and two deleted scenes with optional commentary can be found on the Blu-ray disc.

Overall, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is a magnificent, classic James Cameron sci-fi action film.  And as the film had various releases on DVD and Blu-ray, unfortunately this is not the perfect 4K Ultra HD release that fans may have wanted.  The film would stand on its own but this 4K Ultra HD release defeats the point of being a great release with the overuse of DNR.

The Gabby Douglas Story (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

April 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

gabbydouglas

An inspirational story that will no doubt inspire many young gymnasts for generations, “The Gabby Douglas” story is heartwarming and entertaining.   Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: The Gabby Douglas Story

DURATION: 86 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: NOT RATED

AVAILABLE ON: April 15, 2014

Directed by Gregg Champion

Story by Sterling Anderson, Maria Nation

Produced by David A. Rosemont

Co-Produced by Michael Swidler

Executive Producer: Zev Braun, Gabby Douglas, Natalie Hawkins, Philip Krupp

Music by Robert Duncan

Cinematography by Gordon Lonsdale

Edited by Anita Brandt-Burgoyne

Casting by Tracy “Twinkie”” Bird and Donna Rosenstein

Production Design by Rejean Labrie

Costume Design by Mary Partridge-Raynor

Starring:

Regina King as Natalie Hawkins

Imani Hakim as Teenage Gabby Douglas

Sydney Mikayla as Young Gabby Douglas

Brian Tee as Liang Chow

David Haydn-Jones as Dirk

S. Epatha Merkerson as Miss Caroline

Gabby Douglas as Gabby Douglas

Kyal Legend as Joyelle Douglas

Lola Assad as Young Joyelle Douglas

Dean Armstrong as Travis Lonsdale

Ashanti Bromfield as Arielle Douglas

Riele Downs as Young Arielle Douglas

Kristen Harris as Sally Lonsdale

Stephan James as John Douglas

Jai Jai Jones as Tim Douglas

Thamela Mpumiwana as Young John Douglas

Sarah Surh as Li Chow

A prodigy from a very young age, Gabby Douglas originally made her mark on the world of competitive gymnastics at age eight. She won numerous state championship titles in her age group throughout her early competitive career. While her star was fast rising in the arena, Gabby and her family faced economic challenges at home and she made the difficult decision to leave her mother Natalie, three siblings and grandmother in Virginia Beach and move to Des Moines, Iowa, to train with renowned coach Liang Chow to pursue her dream of Olympic glory. Buoyed by her early success, dedication and unyielding love from her family, Gabby made it onto the 2012 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team, with whom she faced intense competition in the London Games. Her sacrifice and perseverance were triumphantly rewarded with Team Competition and Individual All-round gold medals, placing Gabby and her teammates – known as “The Fierce Five” — among the world’s all-time greats in gymnastics.

With every Olympics, there are a number of inspiring stories and in the 2012 Summer Olympics, there was one story that captivated the hearts of many.

With the US Gymnastics team showcasing several of their top athletes, African-American gymnast, Gabby Douglas did something that shocked many watching on television.  Not only did she become the individual all-around champion, she became the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics.  Also, being the only American all-around champion to win multiple gold medals.

And as we watched this young, magnificent gymnast dominate in competition and win gold medals, it’s the story that came out after she became a champion that made Americans even more teary eyed and inspired because not only was she a person that showed promising talent at a very young age, despite how poor her family was, she was able to learn gymnastic, found a way to be coached by renown gymnastics coach Liang Chow and in a year and a half, become one of the greatest athletes in gymnastics history.

And her story received a teleplay for Lifetime and now the film will be released on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in April 2014.

“The Gabby Douglas Story” is a biopic directed by Gregg Champion (“The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn”, “The Cowboy Way”, “Stealing Christmas”) and written by Sterling Anderson (“The Unit”, “Too Young to Marry”) and Maria Nation (“The Inheritance”, “Salem Witch Trials”, “Ellen Foster”).

The film would star Regina King (“Jerry Maguire”, “Enemy of the State”, “Ray”), Imani Hakim (“Everybody Hates Chris”, “Reign Over Me”), Sidney Mikayla (“A Beautiful Soul”, “Whitney”), Brian Tee (“The Wolverine”, “We Were Soldiers”) and S. Epatha Merkerson (“Terminator 2: Judgement Day”, “Law & Order”).

“The Gabby Douglas Story” begins with Natalie Hawkins (portrayed by Regina King) giving birth to Gabrielle.  The baby was born with a medical condition and times were tough for the Douglas family as Timothy tried to find work, while Natalie tried to raise her four children.

But after living in a van for weeks, Natalie would eventually separate from her husband and live with her mother until she was able to find a job.

And as Natalie would raise her children, Gabby would show her passion for gymnastics, idolizing Shawn Johnson (2008 Olympic balance beam gold medalist and team, all-around and floor exercise silver medalist) coached by Liang Chow.

As Gabby would be given a chance to learn gymnastics in Virginia, she would have to face hardships because she was shorter and also not having much people believing in her talent aside from her family.

But as Natalie would get sick, without a job, the family would go through tough financial times.  And as for Gabby, it was not known if the family’s financial troubles would prevent her from attending gymnastics.

For Gabby, life would change when Liang Chow would come to her local gymnastics school to train for a day.  And after meeting Liang Chow, life would never be the same for Gabby as she became more determined to be in the 2012 Olympics in London.

With so many odds against her, from her mother’s illness and financial problems that the family was experiencing, would Gabby Douglas ever have a chance to become the gymnast that she dreamed and work hard in becoming?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“The Gabby Douglas Story” is presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen with an English 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack.  Subtitles are in English SDH, English and French.

The film would look good on DVD as one can expect.  Mild artifacts and banding but for the most part, picture quality is good.  Audio is crisp and clear.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Gabby Douglas Story” comes with no special features.

Like many Americans, I watched the 2012 US Olympics and cheering for Gabby Douglas.

And like many people, inspired by her story of determination but also seeing how she made what would seem impossible, possible.

I’ve read many stories of Olympic athletes who collect video or maintain recordings of those who inspired them and as Gabby was inspired by Shawn Johnson, I have no doubt in my mind that Gabby Douglas inspires many people throughout our country.

It’s the great American story of an athlete who’s mother tried to take care four of her children, despite being financially in trouble.  Believing in her daughter’s talent, while the other siblings gave up their passions in order for the money to be used for Gabby’s gymnastics training.

There is also another inspiring storyline that deals with one overcome other types of challenges, may it be others looking down on you because you are too short, not wealthy but Gabby proved herself through results and that she was just as good, if not better than the other girls in her gymnastics school.

From leaving her family to move to Iowa, live with another family (who were not African-American), train with one of the greatest coaches in gymnastics but having to try her best after a major injury and when she even doubted herself, to the point that she was close to quitting gymnastics.

“The Gabby Douglas” story is inspiring, entertaining and also well-acted.  Actress Regina King did a wonderful job of playing the strict but caring and loving mother Natalie, while both Sydney Mikayla and Imani Hakim did a great job of portraying Gabby Douglas during her younger and teenage years.

If anything, the struggles that Gabby faced and how the talent were able to convey that into the film was nicely done and for the most part, “The Gabby Douglas Story” is another inspiring and enjoyable film to air on Lifetime.

An inspirational story that will no doubt inspire many young gymnasts for generations, “The Gabby Douglas” story is heartwarming and entertaining.  Recommended!

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