Watching the Terminator 2 Ultimate Edition DVD left me feeling cold. While I think Terminator and Terminator 2 are some of James Cameron’s best work (alongside Aliens, but that goes without saying), this ‘edition’ teaches us all a lesson about why films are edited.
- The additional minutes of explanatory dialogue (why Dyson was working on the Terminator CPU, for instance) prove tiresome and only glancingly informative.
- The Reece–hallucination Sarah has in the mental asylum gives us all the feeling that maybe she is crazy… and that’s not cool. She’s supposed to be our hero.
- Flipping the ‘read–only’ switch on Arnie’s CPU is, although kinda cool, not really warranted. Originally I considered it to be worth leaving in the final cut — the interaction between Sarah and John, arguing over the presence of the Terminator, is nice — but it’d become one of those scenes that the audience would come out of thinking “of course she couldn’t destroy his chip half way through the movie… it’s his movie!” Thumbs up for coolness (Terminator surgery is always cool). Thumbs down for plot dilution.
- Teaching Arnie to smile… terrible.
- The ‘malfunctioning T1000’ schtick is irritating at first, and foreshadows his impending defeat a little too much. When you mix his malfunction with the ‘imitating Sarah to get close to John’ scene, the whole illusion is shattered. All these years I’ve been comfortable in the thought that John could tell his mother apart from the T1000… as if by instinct, or through a great degree of trust. To have that smeared with ‘Mr. Sloppy Feet’ is depressing.
In all, it proves to me how valuable the original cut is; how tight and well–produced it is. And while I look forward to the release of Rise of the Machines, I’m expecting to have my heart broken; I guess I’ll just have to wait ‘til Thursday to find out.