Terminator 2: Hands of Fate

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(Updated: September 07, 2012)
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August 14, 2009 @ 10:07 pm

T2HOF cut reactions
I'll preface all of this by saying I'm a HUGE Terminator fan and I really don't know that I think Terminator 2 needs any FanEditing besides the edit that puts the theatrical ending at the end of the special edition. I have a lot of faith in James Cameron as a filmmaker and storyteller (except Titanic and I'm not yet sold on Avatar.) But with Terminator I think he was pretty much spot on for every frame with a few notable exceptions. With that said, here are my thoughts on this FanEdit.

(after reading Captain Khajiit’s reactions I must say he is much more glowing than I will be.)

–Bad to the Bone scene: This worked a lot better than I thought it would. My only gripe is the choice of music cue. Culling music from "The Terminator" was certainly a good instinct, but the problem is that even though both scores are by Brad Fiedel they are stylistically and audio quality-wise hugely different. And it seems obvious to me that the way the sequence is shot and edited is for "Bad to the Bone" and the editing here still reflects that. I understand the instinct to change this scene, though I'd wobble back and forth every time I watched the movie on whether I loved it/hated it. I think it was less about The Terminator and more about winking at the audience because this movie was pretty much Arnold's epitome as an action star.

–Sarah Connor's new introduction. Hated this cut. Before, the scene successfully introduces the audience to a vastly different, much more pathological Sarah Connor than we saw in 1984. I also disagree with cutting "How's the knee?" I understand the thought that it contradicts her "good behavior" mentioned later in the film, but consider this: she can see that she's on display to these med students as Silberman's circus freak star attraction. Silberman made his career off of her and she knows it. So by mentioning the knee incident, even if it was over 6 months ago, she's getting slight but successful payback by creating an awkward situation for him which actor Earl Boen successfully communicates in the original. From a technical standpoint, the scene feels incomplete, there are shots of Sarah that go on for too long, and it's obvious there are things missing because we learn nothing about Sarah's character, really just her situation. Also, disagree with cutting the guards beating Sarah afterward, but I’ll explain that mostly with my reaction to the guard licking scene.

–Kyle as the silent messenger. This scene in the Special Edition is one that I actually DIDN'T like and I understand why it was cut in the theatrical edition. It feels tacked on and like an unnecessary link to the original that will only confuse those who haven't seen it. I love me some Kyle Reese, but he doesn't need to be in T2 as anything more than a mention. That said, I do appreciate the intention of editing this scene. I like the intention of the newly edited sequence quite a bit, actually it makes the repeated dream more abstract and frightening. However, I still think the scene should probably be cut in its entirety. BUT, I appreciate the intention!

–Silberman's "Model citizen" I can go either way on this, but I DO think it's a nice line that gives us some valid insight into Silberman's character. This line tells us that Silberman is always aware that he will have an audience watching with the Sarah Connor case. It hearkens back to the "retroactive abortion" line from T1 and Vukovich's reaction to it. It's clever, funny, and pretentiously stated, much like "Model Citizen". It is Silberman in a nutshell. From a technical perspective, the scene ends prematurely without that line. It doesn't feel like we're leaving the scene quite yet, but then we have a hard cut.

–Recutting of the canal chase. The only cut I really noticed was the fact that Arnold's motorcycle jump was cut. My question is: Why? You fixed the continuity error with the windshield quite nicely but now partially created another in that we don't know how Arnold gets into the lower part of the canal now. At first I thought maybe it was to cut out obvious stunt doubles, but when Arnold pulls around the truck it's still obviously a stunt double, so that's not it. So, why? I guess it's fine to have cut it, but it seems unnecessary and it's a cool bit.

–The dog collar scene. I'm fine with this cut. It's nice to get to see the T-1000 figure out without doubt that it's been owned by the T-800, but then again the sudden hang up is sort of enough to figure that out. Definitely like keeping the creepy fingers in the room, though. It's not really necessary, but it lets us know without doubt that this terminator is slicker and sleeker than the T-800 and is operating on a whole new level. I don’t see the harm in leaving the collar scene in, but I can get behind this I guess.

–Guard licking cut. My problem with cutting out the indefensible behavior of the guards abusing Sarah Connor is this: when she escapes, she beats his face in with the broom handle. If she is merely focused on escaping, all she needs to do is silence and disable. Now, her vicious beating of him and breaking his face, particularly now that he has done nothing wrong, is overkill and makes Sarah Connor a much less sympathetic character. It's much the same argument without the "model citizen" line. Without Silberman's clever quip, when Sarah breaks his arm it once again seems like maybe, just maaaaybe, he doesn't quite deserve it as much and again Sarah becomes unsympathetic.

–"He's my friend" cut. I thought I would hate this cut, but I don't. I actually think it works quite well. The only problem it creates is that we lose a little bit of John's character in that by saying this Terminator is his friend it gives us some insight into his psyche and lets us know that, while he IS John Connor, great military leader, he is also still a young boy who craves attention and affection. He is still human, and not just a strategy calculator. It also detracts slightly from setting up Arnold as an odd father figure to John for Sarah's V.O. later.

–Cutting jive talking in the car. If you're going to cut "Hasta la vista", then this makes sense. But, the car jive talk endears the T-800 to us as a character and again lets us know that John is still a boy and wants his friend to be a little less lame. Agreed that the original scene is a little too cheesy, though. In my mind, however, the cheese doesn't overpower the insights into character, so the scene would stay. Agree to disagree!

–"Trust me" cut. Yeah, this basically works. Still, it seems odd that John or Sarah don't speak up at all. The phrasing "Take care" of the police seems ambiguous that I would have said something in the same situation. The delivery is a little corny and wreaks of "Trailer shot! Trailer shot! Won't this be cool in the TRAILER?!" (which, coincidentally, it was). It's a minor quibble, though this basically works. I just don't know that it was necessary, really. It seems to create a minor problem that isn't really worth it just to remove some "cheese".

–"Hasta la vista, baby" cut. If you cut the jive talk, this line has to go, too. However I would've condensed the duration. You've got this big buildup to the bullet being fired, but the re-framing is odd and noticeable and there's clearly some lacking audio. Maybe some additional foley would have made this work better? I don't know, but it's a bit odd the way it is here. It's also a key moment that lets us know that the T-800 is now something more than a Terminator. He's developing a style, he's LEARNING.

–"I need a vacation." Agree COMPLETELY. I don't know what anyone was THINKING putting this line in there. Just stupid. I actually kind of like that now it plays out like the T-800 is in a bit of program daze. Good job on that one!

–Thumbs up cut. Hated this cut. This is the T-800's arc coming full circle. We see John teaching this to the Terminator out in the desert when Sarah is giving her V.O. The shot itself is a little corny, but this is the most human moment the Terminator has. His final statement to John Connor that is more meaningful than anything that has come before. It's motivated, it's not just tossed in there for some sort of insipid inspirational message. From a technical standpoint this is also one of the most noticeable cuts made to the original film. It's a pretty hard cut.

–KUDOS to using the Theatrical ending. The SE ending was lame to the max and I'm glad they didn't use it in theatres. Would've totally ruined everything that came before.

I'm not a big fan of giving FanEdits numerical ratings, but I guess I must–see below. I didn't care for this edition of T2, but I'm a self-admitted Cameron Terminator purist. T3 and beyond edit any which way you like and it's fine by me :-p.

Editing: 7 out of 10

Video (for AVI version): 7 out of 10–the picture is very soft in the AVI version and often blurry. A more crisp re-encoding of the DVD needs to be done.

Audio editing: 8 out of 10. The re-worked “bad to the bone” was impressive in its totality. However, the mix is off for most of the film. Music is too soft and the bass is often lacking–at least in the AVI version audio.

Entertainment: 6 out of 10. Had it not robbed or unsuccessfully re-worked some of the character and character motivations this would be higher. I feel this edit really and truly robs the characters of a lot of needed moments.

Always glad to see another edit submitted to the forum, though! I'm sure others will think it's a big improvement!
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