The 80s were awesome and 80s movies were awesome too. Born from the nightmares of James Cameron Terminator not only gave us a hellish robot controlled vision of the future to be milked and parodied forever more but also gave us Arnold Schwarzenegger and his famous catch phrase.
The first film was a cold, intense thriller that would never be allowed to get made today. It’s not a film that gives a damn about what it means to be a machine or alive. It’s about an unstoppable force from the future that will do anything to complete it’s mission. It was rather terrifying to see this for the first time, some parts border on horror and Schwarzenegger is damn scary as the Terminator. This and ‘Duel’ are movies that leave you feeling very unsettled. If you’re seeing it for the first time have a beer or a pack of smokes close by to calm your nerves after. Arnold plays the role of a machine down to a T. He’s not really the star of the movie even though he’s the best part. Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton carry the film to it’s eventual conclusion where we discover that their actions are somewhat futile because they are both in part responsible for the future to come. Meaning Paradox, and it’s a pretty clear one in this film.
Favorite Quote: “I love you Sarah, I always have, I came across time for you.” – Kyle Reese
The second film keeps the elements from the first but there is added humor and Schwarzenegger is the hero this time round as well as the unlikely father figure to the future resistance leader John Connor.
T2 is Sci-fi but I feel like I should put this is the top 10 action movies instead. James Cameron is the action Director to America as what John Woo is to Hong Kong. I don’t consider Michael Bay to be a great action director, he makes explosions, cars and guns look pretty but Cameron makes action entertaining. Not including Avatar here though folks.
But let’s be honest. It’s a helluveh lot more than an action movie. It’s has story, it has drama it has great acting from Hamilton and Furlong and Schwarzenegger again as the Terminator. Robert Patrick plays the role of the T-1000, and is just as intimidating a terminator as Schwarzenegger was in the first. Again the bad Terminator seems just as unstoppable and relentless. Furlong plays John Connor with the maturity of an adult, he has excellent onscreen chemistry with Schwarzenegger and pretty much owns the film. If only we had got someone like this to play Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars films.
The special effects surpassed our imaginations at the time and it’s packed full of emotion. The heart of the film is about John Connor the kid and the Terminator, the relationship they develop and the shared lessons passed to each other by the end of the movie. As a sequel this film is perfect. It didn’t need a 3rd movie (although Cameron had considered it). What we get here ties up everything into a neat bow and gives us a happy ending.
Terminator 3: Rise of the machines
I remember seeing this at the cinema and enjoying the hell out of it. Thinking it was as good as T2. I guess it was because it had been so long since the last Terminator movie and Arnie was still kicking it, though visibly older. I remember an old man who sat next to me was loving it and got a great laugh out of the action and the moment when Doctor Silverman showed up. Yeah, I can’t fault Terminator 3 for it’s sheer entertainment value. It isn’t as good as Terminator 2 and many parts of it rehash T2. Up against the previous film it can’t stand tall but by itself I found it worth the money. 2003 was an exciting year for movies. The year of the Threequals they called it. 2015 is a massive year for box office smash sequels and another Terminator is in the line up too.
It’s a shame that the 3rd movie couldn’t be a James Cameron Directed movie. I’m sure he had an idea kicking around in his head but when the movie was offered to him he was busy with other projects and the offer he was given was to Direct a film based on a script he had no involvement with. He walked away. Schwarzenegger came back for a hefty pay check and a boost to his hopes of becoming the Governator.
Nick Stahl replaced Edward Furlong who couldn’t keep his shit together. I really like Stahl’s performance. We all get nostalgic over Eddie’s lil John Connor but Stahl handles the role very well and shows us hints of Edward Furlong’s past performance without going overboard. He brings something of himself to the character which is good because it’s new ground for this character. He is unsure of himself because the life he believed was always waiting for him never happened. It’s actually one of my nitpicks of this movie. Paradox takes a back seat to destiny in this film. John Connor becomes a great leader because it’s his destiny, Judgment day is supposed to happen because as the Terminator says “it is inevitable”. It’s a bit of a wand wave instead of giving us any real explanation.
The ending of the film is fairly perfect and we see the making’s of Earth’s future leader taking his first steps. The film sets up a new series of Terminator films with that ending and walking out of the theater that day I was pumped up for a blue lens future war….
instead we got…
The McErminator and fries smothered in homage and throwback sauce.
Time Travel notes: T1-T3 only
A headache of a paradox from the Terminator films. If John sent Kyle Reese back through time to become his father, then John’s younger self and Sarah destroyed the building blocks of Skynet, then Skynet was erased from the timeline of the future. Therefore, there would be no reason to send Kyle Reese back in time and he would never meet Sarah and conceive John. In addition, if Skynet was destroyed this would also mean that they never developed any Terminators such as the T-800 and certainly not a more advanced Terminator such as the T-1000 which evidently was not even developed by Skynet until after the war had started. This theory was basically addressed in T3 by way of saying that Judgement Day was inevitable, therefore the events had to happen. However, at the time James Cameron wrote T2, he intended it to be the end of the story. Since it is presently unknown how causality would resolve in the event of time paradoxes, it is conceivable that altering future events might not affect those in the present, even those resulting from recursive cause/effect scenarios. Which in simple terms means that once the effect has come to pass in the present timeline it cannot be altered ala John Connor been born, and since future events have not yet come to pass they can be altered. Again, you have to think of time travel as relevant to the present moment of time which the traveler exists in.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Damn it Fox. Why do you cancel such good shows?
TSCC take place after the events of Terminator 2 and skip over the events of T3 altogether except for a somewhat important plot point involving Sarah. It’s revolves around a teenage John, his mother, Cameron (a female Terminator sent back to protect John) & John’s Uncle Derek Reese. John and Co jump ahead in time to 2007 to prevent judgement day from ever happening but stopping Skynet from coming into existence is far ore complex than they can ever imagine.
I’ll admit when I first heard of the idea of this show I absolutely hated it. Hoped it would be cancelled in the first season and expected it to be. I think many episodes in this series had more emotional impact than anything in T4. The scenes between Jessie and Derek at the end of Season 2 come to mind. A guy who loves his gf but has to take her out to save the future. Damn….
The time Travel in this series is REAAAAAAAL messy! We have Terminators and human freedom fighters from the future jumping all over time, some even going back way too far in time. The timeline gets messed up in many ways and characters that know each other from the future start to realize that they are from slightly different futures. You could almost put this one down to alternate timelines, but at the end of the series it shows John Connor traveling to a future in which he no longer exists because he left his past. A bit like that Star Trek Enterprise episode Shockwave where Archer’s disappearance from the timeline is responsible for the destruction of the future.
Summer Glau is super hot as a terminator in this and represents every teenage boy’s fantasy of having a hot killer robot following their every order.
It’s a real shame this didn’t work out.