As Terminator 2 heads back to cinemas, chatter begins about the machines rising. Again.
So as the story goes, approximately a year and a half from now the Terminator rights will be handed back to James Cameron. Presumably this has got him thinking what they should do next. My question is, why do anything next?
First and foremost, Terminator 2: Judgement Day is amazing. Landing in 1991 it blew everybody away, setting the benchmark for science fiction action extravaganzas featuring time-travelling robots. Since then it’s been a steady decline in quality.Terminator 2. Glory Days. Source. IMDB
A decade passed before the return of everybody’s favourite Cyberdine Systems model 101. So what happened next? Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines.
Same system, different day
Jonathan Mostow fresh off Matthew McConaughey vehicle U-571, stay with me people, kind of just remade Terminator 2: Judgement Day. But this one featured a female terminator villain, T-X played to wooden perfection by Kristanna Loken.Kristanna Loken. Doing her best. Source. IMDB.
John Connor (Nick Stahl) is an off the grid loner who gets pulled back into the action paired with a vet (yes the animal doctor kind) played by Claire Danes whose Dad is a military man helping bring Skynet online. Dressed in the trademark leather attire, somewhere along the line Arnold breaks both bad and good.
Rise Of The Machines essentially lifts the T2 freeway chase sequence and just added more telegraph poles in the way for destruction. Impressively staged but we’ve seen this all before.
Beefing up humour in a story that doesn’t call for much if any doesn’t help, and results with Ah-nuld spouting lines such as “talk to the hand”. Time has not been kind to this incarnation, despite a half decent finale where they don’t stop Judgement Day.
One more time with feeling
Arnold-free Terminator Salvation came rearing it’s head in 2009. Handled by McG, this instalment top lined by Christian Bale (phoning it in) as the leader of the resistance. It’s also the first time the franchise takes place completely after Judgement Day.
Sam Worthington is a death row inmate who is turned into a half-man, half-machine who can’t be trusted. Anton Yelchin does a serviceable impression of Kyle Reese. And the original Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) can be heard in audio format passing down Terminator wisdom.Sam Worthington. Daydreaming of Pandora. Source. IMDB.
To be fair, the film tried do something a little different. It had some cool new breeds of Terminator models, including water snakes and motorcycles – arguably a response to the public’s infatuation with Transformers at the time.
Criticism aside, it also gave us Christian Bale’s finest moment.
Being John Connor can’t be easy. Strong language warning. Source: Youtube.
Putting the reboot in.
Terminator Genisys; Arnold returns to the title role. Kyle Reese gets sent back in time to 1984 to save Sarah Connor (again) by his son John Connor (Jason Clarke takes over from Christian Bale). Skynet, humankind’s scariest enemy, is rebranded as a smartphone app. How is that scary AT ALL?
Game Of Thrones alumni Alan Taylor directs. And if you were expecting some of the grit from the show to bleed into proceedings here, don’t. If a shiny personality free production was the answer surely somebody still has Jonathan Mostow’s phone number.
Inserting the new cast into old settings, the whole first act plays out like the poor man’s version of Back To The Future Part II. Sadly, this franchise doesn’t have the rights to the original films so it recasts and recreates scenes to make it connect with the universe.Arnold. Looking thrilled. Source. IMDB.
If you dig up the past, all you get is dirty.
Time jumping and rewriting over the legacy of the previous films that it’s almost a slap in the face for pre-existing fans. John Connor becomes a villain with virtually no impact.
Why make call backs to older films if you’re trying to start fresh for a new generation? Heavy reliance on a pre-existing story elements make it impossible for a freshman to make heads or tails of the story.
Is Genisys devoid of fun? Absolutely not. However, the goofy stuff is still present. Fortunately, this time around it’s not as grating as Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. Arnold fights himself, wears jeans, has grey hair and Sarah Connor refers to him as Pops.“Where is this movie going?”. Source. IMDB.
So what’s happening now?
Tim Deadpool Miller is taking a swing this time around, with Cameron in tow as a creative consultant. To the surprise of no-one, a trilogy arc’s being considered. Franchise fatigue is so tiring.
Currently the premise involves drones that are Terminators. Frightening drones in the sky sounds great, but why cash in on the legacy? Perhaps call it The Drone-en-ator and keep it a seperate beast.
Problem is, then you have to shoehorn 70 year old Arnold in there and we’re back where we started.
There is no fate besides that which we make for ourselves. Let the powers at be take their own advice and move on to something different.
James, go back to Pandora and play with the Avatars. Actually don’t do that either I want something new. Arnold, I love you baby, but perhaps just take your realestate.com money and get to da choppa!
I’ll be back? Probably not.