Blu-ray Review: Terminator: Salvation isn’t going to save us. Michelle’s Review.

I honestly don’t know what to say about the Terminator: Salvation Blu-ray release other than it doesn’t feel like it’s been thought out and that the “Director’s Cut” of the movie is kind of a joke. This is one of those disks that feels like features were left out to make way for a future double dip.

terminator salvation blu-ray cover

This being a Warner Home Video release it’s almost 90 percent guaranteed there will be another Blu-ray release next year with more in-depth material and another cut of the movie. The good news for fans of this movie is the the DTS-HD audio is pretty amazing and the 1080P, 2.4:1 transfer is almost flawless as a modern blockbuster movie should be, unfortunately, its one dark and ugly looking movie. The many, many, many, ‘splosions look beautiful in hi-def.


I said in my original review earlier this year Director McG isn’t as bad as everyone says he is, but he’s not very good either. His problem is he doesn’t have a vision. When I watch Terminator Salvation I see a total lack of visual style, it feels and look “robotic.” The explosions and big set pieces really want to be Bruckheimer, but it’s not. I understand why this movie exists, we’ve heard so much about the future in previous Terminator films and the TV Series, so why not finally show us that dystopian, bleak future?

The problem is, there is no real canon that each movie has to adhere to. The Terminator franchise change the future on a whim so often that nothing they do really matters to anything. I thought Terminator 2 meant something, until Terminator 3 came along, then the series. The only Terminator film that’s a real, tru-blue sequel is 2. After that there’s not much that holds the Universe together – other than John Connor is the future of the human race and even that basic idea is devalued through most of Salvation. Its official, I find Terminator: Salvation’s blandness almost unwatchable. I fell asleep during a 1/3 of this movie during its theatrical release – I thought it was due to a long day at Universal Studios (even though it was a 4pm showing), I fell asleep again watching the Blu-ray. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what this movie was actually about beyond the fact that they introduced a new character named Marcus who is some form of new human/terminator cyborg hybrid.


Surprisingly enough this is a weirdly “featureless” set. It does have both the theatrical and director’s cut version on two separate disks – which seems weird. On the theatrical disk we get Warner Home Video’s excellent Maximum Movie mode. I really prefer picture in picture to a boring audio commentary track. The Maximum Movie mode provides a lot of good in-depth information on the creation of this movie. We also get timelines and various facts and trivia in addiction short clips on how certain scenes were filmed. Maximum Movie mode is awesome because it puts everything in context. There’s also the option to watch all the Movie Mode featurettes directly.

The 2nd Disk contains the Director’s Cut which includes 3 extra minutes of material and some slightly alternate scenes which adds a little more gore. Here’s what’s on the director’s cut from a review on

1) In the opening action scene, when John Connor is leading his unit into the flooded underground Skynet base, a T-1 terminator (nice touch from T3) suddenly appears behind them. His men destroy it before it can do any damage. I’m glad this scene was cut; it inadvertently breaks the tension too quickly.

2) When John pulls his little “frogman stunt”, he is seated before the Resistance Command generals, and General Ashdown (Michael Ironside) berates John. Ashdown says, “I don’t believe in prophecy, not when one can re-write the future”, pulls out his gun and points it at John’s head. I liked this scene, because it illustrates John’s present and minor role in the Resistance, especially with Command being skeptical of his “predictions”.

3) Blair Williams/Moon Bloodgood’s topless scene; really just a side shot as she washes herself in the rain in a non-sexual manner, and Marcus glances at her briefly.

4) Marcus/Blair Williams/redneck fight; the action is a little longer, and a little more brutal. Marcus stabs one of the attackers with a screwdriver, and we see the impact, as well as the victim painfully removing the screwdriver. Also, Marcus uses another one of the attackers as a human shield against another’s shotgun blast.

5) Marcus/Blair Williams campfire scene is slightly longer with additional dialogue between the two.

6) Captured humans at Skynet; when one of the prisoners attempts an escape and is shot, we see the bullet impacts.

7) John Connor’s speech to fellow Resistance members to not obey Ashdown’s orders to attack is extended with a few sentences about his mother. I liked this scene, not sure why they cut it. It ties T2 in, and shows the impact of Sarah Connor. (Is this where Christian Bale had his stage lights tantrum?)

8) Marcus/T-800 fight scene is slightly longer, shows Marcus getting pummeled a bit more by the T-800. Also, John tries to revive Marcus an additional time, before collapsing in exhaustion.

The 2nd Disk also includes BD-Live, which I normally hate, but you have to give Warner Home Video props they actually know how to properly use BD-Live. They beefed it up with Facebook integration, a nice interface and Community Screenings that they actually use – they did one with Zack Snyder on the Watchmen earlier this year, Dec 12th they are doing one with Daniel Radcliff for Harry Potter, and they recently had one with McG for Terminator: Salvation. I watched the one with Zack and thought it was very cool, but annoying because I couldn’t get a question in.


I find this disk perplexing. Terminator: Salvation is not a bad movie it’s just, almost, unwatchable in its blandness. This Blu-ray set feels much like the movie, like it was just slapped together for a quick holiday money grab. While I love the Maximum Movie mode, the Director’s Cut is really lame and I can’t help but distrust Warner Home Video when it comes to their habit of releasing better versions of their movies a few months later. Nothing’s been announced officially, I will not be surprised if a super duper version comes out next year. WHV really needs to back off the double, triple dip parade. I doubt if we’ll ever see a complete Box Set because I believe Lion’s Gate owns the home video rights to at least T2 and probably T1. I only paid $15.95 for this set and that’s about the right price. Any more, I probably would have been upset. Rent this movie and wait for the better edition.


  • Movie – C
  • Picture Quality – A
  • Audio Quality – A
  • Features – B
  • Navigation/Presentation – A

Final Overall Grade – B-
EM Blu-ray Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 12.06.09