Tuesday, June 12, 2007

DVDs WE LOVE: Terminator 2 (The Ultimate Edition)

[Preface: If you're like me, then you love DVDs -- and also talk to your dog more than you need to But this new series concerns DVDs, namely the ones you can't help but love. This series will look at DVDs that set trends in the industry and became cornerstones for almost anyone's DVD collection. It will also look at DVDs that for one reason or another seem to be owned by anyone who has a DVD player, and why that is. We read lists all the time about great movies, but how often do we stop and appreciate history's greatest DVDs -- can you believe it's been 11 years since the format's introduction?]

Release: 2000

Status: Out of print

Legacy: One of the first true "super DVDs" that delivered a movie in its most definitive form along with a few truckloads of extras, Terminator 2: The Ultimate Edition also ushered in a few technological advances: it featured the debut of the DVD-18 format (dual sided/dual layered=18 hour capacity) and the debut of 7.1 channel sound mixes in Dolby Digital EX and DTS ES. The DVD-18 aspect of T2 appeared to mark the beginning of a new age where almost anything was possible on a DVD, since the release was able to hold three versions of the movie (including one hidden version) in addition to all the extras. However, DVD-18 experienced no shortage of flaws, and it was never widely used -- forcing Artisan to re-release The Ultimate Edition in a two-disc edition. Though it was "The Ultimate Edition," T2 received another lavish release with the Extreme Edition, which was noteworthy in its own way as the first "high definition" DVD (through playback on a Windows Media Series 9-equipped PC).

Personal: I remember this being the first DVD to really stretch what the format could do, and I picked it up on the first day it was released. From the second you popped it in, you knew you were in for something special: the animated menus are still among the most lavish ever created, with high-quality computer animation that takes you into Skynet. The extras were truly staggering: the entire screenplay, over 700 storyboards, a commentary track from 26 cast and crew members, featurettes on every aspect of the production and two extra versions of the film (the "hidden" version, featuring about 5 extra minutes of footage, can be accessed by typing in "82997" on your DVD remote at the main screen). This was also one of the first DVDs to come with limited edition packaging, with a handsome metal casing surrounding the DVD.

Availability: Surprisingly cheap on eBay, often selling for less than $5.


Burbanked said...

This is one of my absolute faves in the DVD drawer. From packaging to menus to extras, it truly has it all, and not to mention that the movie itself is damn near perfect.

I was PISSED when the "Extreme" version came out, but now that some time has passed I'm convinced that this is the better version. For once I chose wisely!

PIPER said...

Own it. Love the post idea. And love that you showed how much it is on ebay. I often go to ebay to see how much my DVDs are worth.

I'm all about the packaging.

What I also loved about this DVD is the featurette that talks about the Sound effects involved every time a gun is shot. They show the layers of sound used. It was fascinating to learn.

Adam Ross said...

I'm the same way Piper, but it seems like the only DVDs that end up selling for a lot are the ones I never thought to buy (Army of Darkness Limited Edition, MST3K: The Movie).

Chris Stangl said...

Collecting OOP DVDs is a tricky hobby, and kind of foolish, which means of course I can't help but do it. Unlike book collecting, where a first edition is a first edition forever, and basically holds its value, with DVDs, the love is all for the movie inside. As soon as it's back in print, the market value nosedives. The major exception is Criterion discs, which stays high even when a superior low-MSRP rerelease is available, as with their John Woo, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and SPINAL TAP (now going for nearly $200?) discs. Apparently collectors treat the Collection as just that. People are buying the Criterion SALO for higher prices than a region-free DVD player and a copy of the R2 disc combined.

If you find any of this interesting, the leading OOP-DVD-speculator forums at Rare OOP DVDs are a neat way to totally waste the rest of your day. And your money.

Adam Ross said...

Good points Chris, and even Criterion collecting is becoming tricky because they're starting to re-release their old titles. I imagine owners of the Salo disc are skittish because Criterion has been hinting for over a year that they'll re-release it once they get the rights back.