The Terminator Vault Review

Terminator-VaultIn this modern era of CGI and green screen work in cinema, audiences are now more clued up than ever before as to how certain aspects of the films they see are made, thanks in part to the wealth of information available on places such as the internet and also the special features found on DVDs and Blu-Rays.

If you turn back the clock some ten, even twenty years ago, that was not the case and as such movies at the time had more of a sense of mystery and wonder about it, all of which means that the movies we loved to watch sometimes left us with the questions, ‘How did they do that?’ or ‘How did they come up with that?’

But as with most things time has sought to change these memories of the past and help us provide answers to these questions, and for fans of the sci-fi classics, The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day, this book aims to do just that.

Written by Ian Nathan, a writer, producer and editor with some twenty years experience, the book begins with a foreword from Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger, after which the book is organised into ten chapters. Each of these chapters covers a particular part of each movies conception/production etc and as such are mixed with a variety of photographs, quotes, script extracts and even reproductions of things to do with the films, such as casting notes or stop motion animatics.

Sounds impressive and on the surface it is, as the hardback book comes in a shiny cardboard slipcase that more than certainly looks the part. It isn’t until you actually start turning the pages that you start to notice a few flaws.

Firstly the actual writing itself sounds like someone is telling the reader a story and at points has a ‘he said, she said’ or ‘they said’ feel to it, which can after a while prove to a be a bit repetitive.

Granted there is the odd change of pace where the writer refers to Cameron in the third person, but for a behind the scenes tell all book, it just does not seem to fit.

The next part you notice is that unlike other books, such as The Making of Return of the Jedi, on the surface the writer doesn’t really seem to have been afforded any special access to archives of any sort. In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking that most of the information in the book has been gathered from a collection of previous books and news/magazine articles (especially if you check out the references at the back).

However the same references do highlight that the interviews referenced throughout the book have all been carried out by the author himself in the last couple of years and so in a sense they are unique content to this book.

Speaking of unique content, one of the features that this book boasts to having is reproductions of artefacts relevant to the movie that are all stored in vellum envelopes and dotted throughout the book. A fantastic idea you will no doubt agree, as every movie lover loves to have something exclusive from their favourite movie, and so again on the surface this is a great idea. Sadly though the execution of this is where it lets itself down as most of the items look like poorly made colour photocopies of the originals and as such they do leave you feeling a little deflated. Granted the clue really was in the title given to them – “reproductions”. Some of the originals of these would have been years old and so any copy would not have been crisp and new.  However when you take for example the T2 crew passes found just after page 152, it looks very blurred and the colours seem off, which leave you feeling a tiny bit cheated too.

Speaking of images, and like many other books of this type, The Terminator Vault does boast quite a considerable image count and they are mixed well into the book, fitting the chapters they are associated with. The problem though is that the image quality is inconsistent, with some images being blurred or grainy, likely due to the fact that they appear to be blown up from screen shots of original images of a lower resolution. You could argue that this might also be due to the type of paper the book is printed on, but this fact falls flat due to other images being presented in a much clearer fashion.

Overall this book is certainly on paper (if you pardon the pun), a fantastic idea and the concept has been put together well, however it is let down by an inconsistency in quality and presentation. Another way to describe it is like a new a car you see on the television; it looks all shiny and nice from afar, however when you eventually get to see it up close it seems to lose a bit of the magic.

That all said this book is probably best suited for those who are fans of the franchise and it would certainly make an ideal present for them this festive season.

The Terminator Vault is available from Aurum Publishing priced at £30 now. 

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