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Terminator Salvation Blu-ray: The movie isn't the worst thing on this disc

This weekend, we watched Terminator Salvation, which wasn't as bad as we were expecting, but we certainly didn't enjoy the process of persuading the disc to play

We don't need to tell you that Terminator Salvation didn't exactly get glowing reviews when it hit cinemas. It was a film very much beset with problems both during production -- Christian Bale's now infamous rant being the obvious example -- and since, with the whole franchise locked up in a massive legal dispute. By far the biggest disappointment though, was the lack of imagination involved.

We watched it on Blu-ray this weekend, and frankly, we didn't think the movie was the worst thing about this disc. Sure, Salvation lacks any of the dark horror of the first two movies. The end of the first Terminator really makes you feel that if one Arnie can do that, if there were ever more than one, humanity would be in real trouble. Salvation doesn't give any sense of the relentlessness of the robots or the desperation of the humans. In fact, the movie lacks any sense of peril at all. Even the 'twist' is entirely predictable. 

That said, stuff blows up a lot, and the soundtrack is one of the most amazing things we've ever heard as a Blu-ray demo disc. Be aware though, if you're hoping to actually hear any of the dialogue -- and it's by no means a requirement of the film -- you'll need to dial your centre channel right up. Beware: your subwoofer may well destroy your house if you aren't careful. Picture quality too is first-rate, which makes this the ideal disc for showing off to your friends.

All that aside, this disc has some major problems. The menu system, which uses BD Java, is one of the worst we've ever seen. Our review player, the Sony BDP-S500, is a profile 1.0 machine, and it refused to play ball with this disc. Inserting it, we waited the usual 500 hours for it to load the disc, then the menu video started playing. But there were no controls for at least a minute, and when they finally appeared, we couldn't select any of them or play the movie.

We switched to our Popcorn Hour C-200, which does a great job with Blu-ray movies, and it did perform much better. The disc loaded quicker, but the menus were still incredibly slow to respond, and we had to restart it once to get everything working.

We've complained about this before, but BD Java is an utter disgrace in every way imaginable. It's sluggish and unpleasant to use. It destroys older players, and doesn't exactly glide like silk on newer machines. And why, in the name of all that is sacred, can't we just see the pigging movie? Why do we have to sit through this pointless nonsense? Why can't we just start with the film and go into the menus if we want to? We don't want to waste all this time farting about trying to persuade our Blu-ray player to do its job either. 

Aaaand relax.