As a serious, no-nonsense edition of the film, this is virtually perfect. One of the intentions was to “create a new experience” and the faneditor certainly succeeds here. A series of subtle purposeful cuts gives the movie a much darker, grimmer feel, akin to that of the original. The scenes with Sarah in the mental hospital are now free of the inconsistencies of the original, and the reworked scene when the visitors peer through Sarah’s cell door has an impressive, almost sinister feel to it. I found it heightened tension and made us empathise with the character.
The rebuilt “bad to the bones” scene was superbly done, and shows exceptional technical skill, although the new voice for the bartender didn’t sound quite gruff enough and didn’t entirely convince me. While this redone scene does give a more menacing aura to the T-101, I still feel the viewer is still left in no doubt that something has changed about him and that the T-1000 is now in the bad guy role. For instance, unlike in the first film, he doesn’t actually kill at the start: he just defends himself, albeit with great force; whereas the T-1000′s first act of impaling a police officer leaves us in little doubt as to what he’s about. The two are obviously competing rather than cooperating to find John (given the T-1000′s contemptuous look and dismissive line at the house when told of the “big guy”: I wouldn’t worry about him!), so I still don’t think Arnie new role is much of a surprise, as it’s the only one he really could have. This is ultimtely down to the fact that the original material was inherently structured and presented in a certain way, not the faneditor. Those who want a more hardcore movie will nevertheless find the new “bad to the bones” scene and the numerous other edits to be definite improvements.
The weaving forth between theatrical and special edition versions is deftly handled, and the faneditor has a good eye for spotting where the added special addition material can enhance the theatrical cut and where it can be safely discarded. The removal of the majority of the cheese definitely helps the pace of the film, and the faneditor consistently implements his vision for the edit through to the very end, although – in my opinion – John teaching the terminator to smile could have gone, the give-me-five routine could have been shortened and I wouldn’t miss the following voiceover either. Nonetheless, this version was meant as a light edit, and as such it will no doubt be seen as a best of both worlds by many fans.
Editing: 10 out of 10 for the editing itself
Entertainment: 8 out of 10 (original theatrical cut 8 out of 10; original special edition 7 out of 10)
Image and video quality: The video quality was excellent all round. 10 out of 10
Audio editing and audio quality: I noticed no hard cuts, and the places where the soundtrack has been rebuilt were seamlessly integrated and completely suit the feel of the film. 10 out of 10
Presentation: If you are a stickler for presentation, this won’t disappoint you. The animated menus could grace an official release, and the extras are implemented in an utterly professional way. I far preferred these menus to those of my Skynet Edition blu ray. 10 out of 10
Overall: 9 out of 10
A hugely accomplished and immensely enjoyable edit! While nothing has yet surpassed the theatrical cut for me, simply because of its pace, my special edition DVD can consider itself terminated.