The Terminator

Schwarzenegger told us 'I'll be back' and he is - this time with a newly restored HD transfer

While many prefer the spectacle delivered by T2 or Avatar, here at HCC we hold fast in our belief that James Cameron's 1984 hit remains his greatest film.

A simple chase flick given an inventive sci-fi twist, The Terminator (the movie) is every bit as ruthless and efficient as the Terminator (the time-travelling cyborg) from which it gets its name. There's literally no flab to be found in Cameron's script; everything happens for the simple reason of driving the plot ever onward. All of which could make for a very mechanical experience if it wasn't for the heart that the director and cast (Arnie excepted) inject into the film's characters. A landmark movie.

Picture: It's surprising that there has been so little fanfare regarding this UK Blu-ray release of Cameron's sci-fi stalkathon, as it marks the debut of a brand-new hi-def restoration.

In many ways, this new AVC 1.85:1 1080p encode of The Terminator is reminiscent of the restoration that the director previously approved for the Blu-ray release of his follow-up hit Aliens. Like that release, not only has the film been restored, but changes have also been made to the colour palette, pushing up the blues and greens to bring it more in line with the colour scheme employed on T2.

While we've no doubt that some hardcore fans will bristle at this revised colour grading (just as they did with the Aliens Blu-ray), in truth it's been done very sympathetically to the source material and never feels particularly unnatural.

Away from any colour palette controversy, every other aspect of the restoration is a winner. Fine detailing is immaculate, film grain is thick and natural, and contrast levels are rock solid (something that couldn't be said about MGM's previous US Blu-ray release). Indeed, the only real limitations on the quality of the image stem from the source material itself, and only a time-traveller could do anything about that.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Disappointingly, the film's original mono soundtrack has once again failed to make an appearance, leaving us with the default 5.1 remix. The good news is that the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track included here corrects some of the technical issues that afflicted the original remix and certainly packs quite a punch (particularly when it comes to low-end frequencies). Yet it still doesn't feel entirely natural, as it strives too hard to push audio cues around the surround channels.
Audio rating: 3/5

Extras: One of the most influential sci-fi films of the '80s, the movie that launched the careers of James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, given a second Blu-ray outing... Admit it, you're expecting this release to be packed with bonus goodies. Sadly, that's not the case.

The only extras on offer are a pair of archival featurettes – the 13-minute Creating the Terminator: Visual Effects & Music and the 21-minute Terminator: A Retrospective – and a collection of seven deleted scenes. A film of this stature deserves something a bit more comprehensive, so whoever's responsible should be terminated.
Extras rating: 1.5/5

We say: This impressive restoration is sadly let down by familiar audio issues and surprisingly lacklustre extras

MGM/20th Century Fox, All-region BD, £18 Approx, On sale now