Trailer Forensics: Terminator 2 Judgment Day
WARNING: PICTURE HEAVY!
The other day I stumbled across the Theatrical Trailer for Terminator 2 – Judgment Day (1991). Bizarrely it wasn’t something I’d seen before. I knew of the Teaser Trailer (Directed by the legendary Stan Winston on a budget of $150’000, as requested by James Cameron), which depicted a factory where T-800 endoskeletons were being built, and culminated in a skin moulding mechanism where upon Arnold Schwarzenegger was revealed. You can see that below…
But the Theatrical trailer was new to me. And as I watched, I spotted several differences between the trailer and the released feature. For your viewing pleasure, I give you the Theatrical Trailer for Terminator 2: Judgment Day:
And if you’ll follow me to the paragraphs below I will take you through the nuances between the trailer and the finished film…
Apart from the lack of a colour grade, the most obvious difference is the aspect ratio. The final feature was shown in cinemas in 2.35:1 ratio. However, the feature was actually shot on 35mm film, and then edited to Cinemascope (bottom image) by cropping off the top and bottom (soft matted). See Arnie’s destructive use of a mini-gun at Cyberdyne in the comparisons below (00.33):
For completion I have since come across the Russian DVD of Terminator 2… The only DVD release ever to be 4:3 Pan And Scan. I have added a screen grab of the same scene. Notice there’s even more image top and bottom of the 4:3 version, but it’s missing substantial information from the left and right.:
Secondly, you’ll notice the colour correction. I understand that through the various released formats there appeared to be compaints from fans over the saturation and tones. The last release of the feature was described as “washed out”. I’m not sure if the colour differences below (trailer v final feature) is due to the teaser showing the unfinished product, or if the image was actually colour- corrected deliberately, or if it’s a side effect of a transfer. I am a fan of using colour in films to represent mood (another example is The Matrix, where they used a green cast across the scenes when anyone was inside the Matrix). There are more screen resolution and colour correction comparisons below (01.11) (Trailer/BluRay/4:3):
Here’s another example showing the clear colour difference between the trailer and the Blu-Ray:
The scene where the Freightliner truck crashes through the wall and lands in the canal is featured in the trailer (00.21), but they chose to use a camera angle that is’t used in the final feature (bonus!). From the first image below you can see the trailer version shows a wider shot, and clearly shows the location of the street as being “Hayvenhurst Avenue” stencilled onto the cement (T2 fans will know the actual place to be “Hayvenhurst Av and Plummer”). Whereas the second image, taken from the film at exactly the same point where the truck breaches the wall, shows a closer angle, and also shows the blue “Plummer” street sign. For completion, the 3rd image is the Russian 4:3 Pan and Scan version, which shows a lot more brick work;
A popular fact amongst fans is that the middle image is actually a Visual Effect. The shot gives the impression that the camera was set up on the right side of the canal shooting left, as if on the same side as the camera in the first image. However, this entire scene was “flipped”. The camera was actually on the left side of the canal shooting right.
In order to make the scene cut together better in the edit, the whole image wasreversed to match the other shots. Click on the image for a bigger version and you can see the Freightliner badge on the front of the truck is backwards in the second image, due to the flip. The blue “Plummer” street sign was digitally reversed by a special effects company.
All of those reversed shots meant that when they were flipped the negatice in the edit, it looked like Patrick was sat in the drivers seat, and not in the passenger seat.
In fact, most of the canal scene was flipped. There was a stunt person driving the truck, behind black cloth and hidden from the camera. The passenger side of the vehicle was fabricated with a steering wheel for the T-1000 (Robert Patrick) to operate. This allowed Patrick to concentrate on the acting and not actually have to drive the truck. Patrick even wore a reversed police badge on a reversed police shirt. Even Edward Furlong wore a reversed Public Enemy t-shirt whilst riding the motorbike.
The first image below shows the 1.85:1 trailer version (00.22) of the crash as it was shot, without the flip. Notice the shopping trolley in front as the truck crashes, and how much of the top and bottom of the image is visible thanks to the ratio. The second image is the exact same scene in the final feature, where the image has been flipped to correct on-set reversed gags. The second image also loses a lot of the image due to the 2.35:1 crop. The third image is the Russian 4:3 Pan and Scan DVD release;
You can see in the image below, taken from the trailer (00.23), that Furlong’s world famous Public Enemy t-shirt is backwards (I also know from owning never before published costume department documents for T2 that twelve Public Enemy t-shirts were used during production, as well as two reversed Public Enemy t-shirts for the canal shoot and for the scene involving the chip removal at the mirror). Also note that this exact shot of Furlong being chased by the T-1000 in the truck isn’t actually in the final movie. The majority of Truck V John was re-shot against a projector;
There are also a handful of other scenes in the trailer that weren’t used in the final feature. Below you can see the Cryoco liquid nitrogen truck (01.05) as it begins to topple over, and the pick-up truck containing John and Sarah driving by. This was likely removed as the pick-up truck is actually speeding away in front of the toppling tanker and not over there. Another shot in the theatrical trailer, immediately before the topple, shows the tanker veering off right-of-screen as Arnie (well, the stund double) yanks the steering wheel. These two shots weren’t used in the final film;
The following image taken from the theatrical trailer (00.34) shows a police car exploding outside the Cyberdyne building, which isn’t in the final version of the movie.
And this close-up shot of Arnie shooting to the left with the mini-gun from inside the Cyberdyne building (00.34) isn’t in the final film either, although a similar shot of the mini-gun pointing in the other direction is.
Lastly, likely shot as a joke for the trailer only, Arnie informs us that he won’t kill anyone (01.29). This front-on shot of Arnie isn’t in the final film, although the line was scripted. In the final feature the Terminator is instructed by John not to kill anyone whilst sat on the motorbike outside the Pescadero State Hospital;
Also, I noticed three alternative ‘takes’ in the trailer…
Firstly, when John looks back to see the tow truck crash through the wall and down into the canal. The trailer version (00.20) shows John sitting upright. His right hand is gripping the throttle. It’s known that Director James Cameron took Edward Furlong off-set and made him do star jumps before the next take in order to tire him out. The feature version shows sweat on John’s forehead and he’s slumped over the bike, clearly worn out! You can actually see the time difference between the two takes by the position of shadows between the fence pillars and debris on the canal floor. Image three is the 4:3 version, much less cropped top and bottom;
Here is a side-by-side video comparison of these takes;
Secondly, the Freightliner truck explosion in the canal was shot at least twice. The trailer version (00.59) has Furlongs stunt double, Bobby Porter, with his head completely down and face covered. The initial explosion is dark. Notice the fabricated central pillar as it first begins to crack open due to the explosion. Notice that the bike has passed in front of the pillar, though the pillar hasn’t blown apart yet. Also note the pattern of the water on the ground of the canal and the top-left fence shadow from the sun;
Here is the explosion as it is in the final film. Stunt double looks up. The water marks are different. The sun position is also different, casting shadows of the fence along the wall to the right. You’ll also see that the fake central pillar cracks open and explodes before they pass across it in the shot, indicating they are closer to the explosion this time. The background is also filled with a fireball before the truck fully explodes, adding depth and size to the shot;
Here is a side-by-side video comparison of these takes;
I also noticed that the Press shot for this scene was photographed during the second explosion. Notice the shadows are the same on the pillar as they are in the movie. And going by the angle of the pillar and the trickle of water in the canal, we can see that the photographer was probably 10 feet or so to the right of the film camera that captured the scene. Here is the Press shot.
Thirdly, the famous line “Asta la vista, baby” was also shot multiple times with a different version in the theatrical trailer to the final feature. The theatrical version appears less threatening (01.16) and much more robotic. Also the focus puller moves the focus from Arnie’s face onto the gun before he says “baby”. In the feature version Arnie appears more menacing with his head tilted forward a little, as if Cameron suggested “you’re more human, with attitude”.Also note the focus-puller waits for Arnie to finish delivering his line!;
Here is a side-by-side video comparison of these takes;
And it’s not just the picture that’s different. Here’s a comparison video that shows the difference in sound. Terminator 2 fans will be aware that the T-1000 handgun, an M92F, in the movie sounds like it has a silencer attached. Albeit the sound is “cooler”, but technically incorrect. The gunfire in the trailer is more realistic;
I’d love to see the movie in the original “flat” 35mm format. In 2013 some smaller specialist cinemas in the US ran special screenings and they were very popular. I’m hoping a cinema in the UK will follow suit.
As a visual comparison, the image below shows the Blu-Ray 1080p widescreen version as the longer horizontal image, bordered in white. Composited underneath is the 4:3 Pan and Scan version, bordered in red. The outer blue border therefore shows the size of the original (and as-yet unseen) full 35mm print, with the chequered areas highlighting the missing sections:
With the actual video resolution of the Blu-Ray Ultimate Edition being 1904×808, the above image shows there is a potential for a 1full 1920×1080 version.
Update: After much research there was a glimpse of hope that accidental releases existed of Terminator 2 that were either a) not graded, and therefore the original colour, and b) a non-matted version which showed the entire 35mm with absolutely no cropping.
However. The Japanese laserdisc (PILF-2187), seen by some as the Holy Grail for being released without authorisation by James Cameron and therefore the only version released without a colour grade, turned out to just be slightly different. There ARE differences, but to my eye it does not look like the trailers. It’s still a sought after version of the movie. If you can find this version on laserdisc, snap it up!
And secondly, the rumoured non-matted version has so far turned out simply to be 4:3 Pan and Scan release on DVD, and only ever released in Russian.
Here is a wonderful example of what Pan and Scan versus widescreen looks like. This video clearly shows there is a much fuller version out there, that none of us have seen!