The Terminator Anthology collects the four films from the Terminator franchise in one set for the first time. However, there's nothing new here as the set collects previously released Blu-rays: The Terminator (2006, MGM), Terminator 2: Judgment Day Skynet Edition (2009, Lionsgate), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2008, Warner Bros), and the 2-disc Terminator Salvation (2009, Warner Bros).
For those that don't know the mythology, the franchise tells the story of the war between humans and machines. In the future, the U.S. strategic defense computer system, known as Skynet, will become self-aware. To protect itself from being turned off, Skynet begins a nuclear war, referred to as Judgment Day. While many of the remaining humans are put into labor camps, a resistance rises up, led by John Connor. Before the humans can defeat Skynet, it creates a time machine, which it makes use of multiple times by sending cyborgs known as Terminators back into the past in an effort to alter the timeline.
James Cameron's The Terminator is a marvelous, low-budget science fiction film that brings to mind the work of John Carpenter, particularly the synth soundtrack. A Terminator model T-101 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from 2029 is sent back to 1984 (the film looks every bit like it was set/made in the '80s) to kill John Connor's mother, Sarah (Linda Hamilton). To protect her, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) is sent back by the resistance. The Terminator is relentless, a nearly unstoppable force, but the future depends on her survival. The film is a classic because of its smart script, Cameron's talented direction, and Schwarzenegger delivering an iconic performance that cemented his status in the history of cinema. Unfortunately, this Blu-ray does match those same high standards.
The video has been given a 1080p/MPEG-2 encoded transfer displayed at 1.85:1. It deserves a much-needed upgrade, though I am curious how much better it can look, considering how many scenes are shot in low light and filled with smoke. Colors are adequate but blacks are light. Depth is limited as are details. Though the audio for the menus is thunderous, the LPCM 5.1 audio is limited by its source as well, so the experience is merely adequate when compared with the rest of the set. Dialogue is usually understandable, but the ADR sounds flat. The synth score has a limited dynamic range, but the effects offer a decent surround experience.