Terminator 2: Judgement Day. On The Big Screen

My favourite movie of all time is Terminator 2: Judgement Day. I saw it when it came out on home video and I was just at the right age for it to have a lasting effect on me. It blew me away. Everything from the story, to the acting, to the special effects. Everything about this movie I love. It is my Star Wars.

So when I saw it was going to be in the cinema’s again for one night only I was there. Seriously, the zombie apocalypse could have been erupting and I would still have been there.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of 3D but that wasn’t going to stop me either.

*****Spoiler warning*****

Was it good? YES! It was awesome! Seeing Schwarzenegger, Hamilton, Patrick, Furlong all on the big screen was fantastic. Everything that I love about this film, the T-800 against the LAPD place department at the Cyberdyne building, Sarah Connor’s nuclear  apocalypse dreams, the chase through the Los Angeles River. The T-800 with the Winchester shotgun and how he’s cocking it during that chase. Damn, there are so many scenes that seeing for the first time as a teen opened my mind up. The helicopter going under the overpass, the T-800 being lowered into the steel at the end of the film. Pretty much any scene where the T-1000 is killing someone, or rising out of the floor or walking  through iron bars.

The whole concept of time travelling cyborgs was fuel for my imagination as well.

With the sound system the cinema has that industrial beat the soundtrack has was brilliant. A few times it felt like it was vibrating through my bones.

I struggle to put into words just how much this movie means to me, so being able to see it on the big screen was very special and I’m so glad I did. It’s great watching it at home, but it is a film that is at its best on the big screen.

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Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Terminator 2: Judgement Day is the second movie in the Terminator series, and really steps up multiple levels from the first film. In this movie instead of a Terminator being sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor its been sent back to kill her son, John Connor, while he is still a child.

Like with my post about The Terminator I’m not going to give a plot summery, its a film which is two decades old so I think it’s more than bled into pop culture enough for people to know what the story is.

Terminator 2 is probably my Star Wars. I first saw it when I was in my early teens and it took hold of my imagination and hasn’t really let go. It influences so much about me. Whether it’s my habit of inserting Mini Guns into my fiction whenever I can, or my love of post-apocalyptic stories right through to my crush of Linda Hamilton. Even now, about twenty years since I first saw T2 I’m still discovering ways in which this movie has influenced me.

Arnold Schwarzenegger comes back as the Terminator and he smashes it, again. Schwarzenegger really was born to play this role and he steps up into it for a second time with as much passion and commitment as he did in the first movie.

Linda Hamilton has almost a totally different character to play in this movie. She’s no longer the naive young woman that was told she would be the mother of a great military leader. In Terminator 2 she has embraced the mission of raising this child, protecting him, and preparing him, to an unhealthy level really. Add in the fact that she’s lived with the knowledge of knowing the date that the nuclear apocalypse will happen has sent her almost over the edge. Hamilton really steps up spectacularly here. The intensity she puts into the character is very impressive.

Edward Furlong plays the young John Connor. He’s been brought up knowing he’s going to be this military leader, but the life he’s been dumped in isn’t what he’d been brought up to think it was. So he’s more than a bit of a juvenile delinquent. Furlong is very good here, he’s got that snarky kid down well, but when the story needs to show hints of the man he’s destined to become Furlong is able to pull it off.

A new terminator is introduced into this movie, the T-1000 is an advanced prototype terminator that is essentially liquid metal. Robert Patrick plays the T-1000 and he does so beautifully. The T-1000 is cold, relentless, and efficient as it tries to fulfil its mission. Robert Patrick, in my opinion is as good in this role as Schwarzenegger is as the Terminator.

James Cameron steps up the action, and the storyline, and the performances, and the special effects of the first film to make what I strongly believe is one of the finest movies ever made. If I am ever to make a list of my favourite all time movies, then Terminator 2: Judgement Day will be at the top of it.

The Terminator

After watching Terminator: Genisys I decided to re-watch the previous four films in the serious and the TV series, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, as well. Obviously I started with The Terminator.

***Spoiler Free Zone***

The Terminator tells the story of a time travelling cyborg that is sent back in time to assassinate the mother, Sarah Connor, of the man who leads the resistance against the Artificial Intelligence, Skynet, that has all but exterminated the human race. The resistance sent back a fighter, Kyle Reese, to protect her.

That’s enough for the plot; let’s face it, if you don’t know it then I’d suggest stopping reading this post and go and watch it.

 

 

This is a gritty, non-stop, action film that has a deep and layered story. It has equally deep, and complicated characters. You seriously begin to feel for Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese as the film moves along. Neither really has the time to get their bearings; you’ve got Sarah, who is just trying to lead a normal, everyday life and Kyle, who is not of the time. So it must all be alien to him, and it’s a testament to his ability to survive and endure as well as he does without having a huge meltdown. It’s clear throughout that he’s suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, yet he fights his way through it because he has to. His mission needs for him to.

Linda Hamilton really kills it as Sarah Connor, she plays the confused twenty something whose wold is torn inside and out really well. She does the deer in the headlights well, but soon she’s rolling with the punches as they start coming thick and fast.

Michael Biehn doesn’t hold back as Kyle Reese. Biehn is scrawny, edgy, and pretty intense. His character is covered in scars and appreciates his mission to protect Sarah Connor in a way that I don’t think Connor herself really understands. As I said the character clearly has PTSD and Biehn plays it well, almost subtle for the most part.

Now, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I really don’t need to say much about this man playing this role do I? But I will, he was born for this role. Theres not many actors that can be as blank as Schwarzenegger is in this movie, and it feels like he doesn’t get the credit in this day and age that he deserves for it.

All three of the main actors really did throw their heart and souls into their roles, and it shows throughout the movie. For me it’s one of the qualities that make the film for me.

James Cameron, and everyone else behind the scenes deserves all the accolades the movie garners. The script is beautiful, and tight; there’s not a lot of fat there to be chewed on. The special effects are really beautiful and I think they still stand up; Stan Winston and his team did a fantastic job in bringing the terminator to life.

The Terminator has a great feel to it. It’s raw, gritty, fast paced, and is just quality. Very few films hold my attention like this one does.

Movie Monday: Alien Vs. Predator

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Alien Vs. Predator is the mash up of two movies series that. Any fans had been waiting for a long time, but I don’t think this 2004 movie was what they wanted.

Me, I like it. It’s not by far the best movie involving out of all the Alien and Predator movies that have been made, although I would like to say that the Alien Vs. Predator sequel is one of the worse films I have seen. Back to this film though. A team of experts is taken to an area near the Antarctic to investigate a sudden heat signature that has appeared under the ice. Once there a hole appears in the ice that leads down to the source of the heat signature. This allows them to get to the source quicker.
Once there they have a little look around, tripping a pressure switch as they do. This activates a series of mechanisms at the deepest point of the pyramid that is under the ice which raises and awakes a frozen alien queen that has been held there. Above ground three Predators have killed the support team and have made their way underground.
In searching the pyramid the team find a sacrificial chamber and many human remains that show signs of ritual sacrifice, although one of the team points out that it looks like something has broken out of willing sacrifices. After this the team split up and half go further down into the pyramid and find the Predators weapons and remove them from the stone case that they were in. This is when all goes to pot. Once the weapons have been removed it activates the pyramid. Alien eggs move up into the sacrificial chamber and, well you can guess. The walls in the pyramid also start to move around as well trapping different characters in different areas. People start dying and so on.

I can see why a lot of people do not like this film. It does not have the feel that any of its predecessor movies have. Sanaa Lathan is good as the lead but not entirely convincing. Raoul Bova is okay too. There is some good work by the support cast, Ewen Bremner and Colin Salmon especially. I loved seeing Lance Henriksen as Weyland too.
I like Paul W.S. Anderson’s work too but this felt like it missed something. It did not hold the horror edge that Alien did, or the intensity or aliens. The rawness of Predator was also missed. I think it lacked a lead. Sigorny Weaver, Arnold Schwarzenegger really took the reins of the earlier films and I think that having had a more powerful lead would have helped the film hugely.
It’s one of those films that I can watch frequently, its easy too watch and does not leave me scratching my head. The visuals in the movie are beautiful and the script is well worked.
It is deffinately worth a watch though, just don’t expect it to be as strong as Alien, Aliens or Predator.

Movie Monday : Predators

 

I am a huge fan of the original Predator movie, the Arnold Schwarzenegger one.  This was one of the earliest sci-fi movies like this that I can remember seeing.  It had so much to try to take in I watched it more times than I care to admit.  I loved how the Predator took Dutch’s  (Schwarzenegger’s) team of soldiers apart leaving only Dutch to fight the alien hunting them.  This was followed by Predator 2, and later on Alien vs Predator, which was not as bad as a lot of people say it was.  Although don’t get me started on the sequel to Alien vs Predator.  Then we had Predators, which many say is the worthy sequel to Predator (I half agree, but I did like Predator 2)

Predators starts with our protagonist (Adrian Brody) falling through the air, thankfully a parachute opens and he lands, albeit with a little thud.  There with Brody is I think seven or eight other people.  All are some sort of fighter.  One is a Columbian cartel enforcer, another is a member of the Yakuza.  Another is a Spetznaz soldier and you get the picture.  This little group slowly try to figure out what is happening to them and they soon find out that they are in a game reserve for the Predators.  As the film carries on we meet Noland, played by Laurence Fishburne, and I think that Fishburne has a lot of fun with this role.

This film does not mess about, the action is good, there is a nice level of terror and a couple of good little twists.  Adrian Brody and Laurence Fishburne are not the only faces that you will recognise which helps the strength of the film.  The soundtrack is taken straight from the original movie too which tugs at the nostalgia strings in our heads.  The visuals are stunning, although I don’t think that the jungle in the movie is alien enough for an alien planet but it is still very much worth a watch.

Movie Monday: The Terminator Franchise

In this edition of Movie Monday I’m going to ramble about the Terminator movies.

***Contains Spoilers***

The Terminator

A cyborg is sent back in time to assassinate the mother, Sarah Connor, of the human resistance leader, John Connor.  At this time she is not even pregnant.  In the future mankind is at war with an Artificial Intelligence called Skynet which all but wiped out humanity.  The Terminator is sent back just as mankind has defeated Skynet.  To protect his mother John Connor sends back a resistance fighter, Kyle Reese.

James Cameron gives us a film which rarely gives the characters time to absorb what is happening to them.  It is one big chase film in some senses.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is The Terminator.  He captures the role perfectly and portrays that heartless killing machine the Terminator is.  I think a big part of the belief he is able to put into the role is he’s size.  Its rare that in everyday life we come across someone of his physic which just adds to the character.  Michael Biehn plays Kyle Reese as a wiry resistance fighter well.  He gives the character a wild, almost eccentric quality which makes him seem crazy.  With Linda Hamilton as the young, and maybe a little naive, lady which both men are targeting.  One trying to kill her and one trying to protect her.  The special effects are outstanding for a film in its time and shows Cameron as a pioneer of special effects.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

In the sequel John Connor is a ten-year old boy living with foster parents as his mother, Sarah Connor, is in a mental asylum after trying to blow up a computer factory.  In his ten years of life John Connor has had his mother preparing him to become this future resistance leader that he is to become one day.  So he’s world has collapsed after she was committed and he was told that she was crazy.  John is rebelling against his foster parents and the law.  Now he is the target of a new Terminator that is sent back to kill him, this Terminator is an advanced prototype and far superior to the earlier models.  As in the first movie the resistance is able to send back a protector, to make sure that the young John Connor survives this assassin from the future.

James Cameron raises the bar with the special effects here.  I first saw this film in my early teens and it blew my mind away, the effects on the T-1000 are brilliant! Robert Patrick plays the T-1000 and he plays it very coldly which serves the character perfectly.  Linda Hamilton returns as a much tougher Sarah Connor.  She has found her inner strength and is efficient in most weapons and is very resourceful.  She is also very single-minded in protecting her son.  Arnold Schwarzenegger does not quite reprise his role as the original terminator but as another machine which is obviously the same exterior model as the previous Terminator.  Again he plays the role perfectly.  Schwarzenegger was born to play this role and no doubt it will be the role that he is most remembered for.

Judgement day is my favourite of the movies.  Partly because it is the first one that I saw and its one of the defining movies ever.  It was not the chase film that The Terminator is, in T2 John and Sarah Connor go on the offensive and take the fight to Skynet, taking the future that they have always know off and trying to prevent any of it happening.

If I ever put together my top 10 movies, this would be in it, fighting for the no.1 spot.

Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines

If I could delete a film from history it would be this one.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is the only main character to return to the franchise and even he could not save it.  Jonathan Mostow directs it and was not the right man for the job.  Going into the film I had a bad feeling as Mostow had Directed U-571, which is a film which claims an American submarine crew captured a German coding machine during World War two when in fact it was British forces that captured it.  That bad feeling was confirmed.  Schwarzenegger’s Terminator is used more for comedy value then any real advancement of the story.   I never thought I would cringe while watching Schwarzenegger playing this role.

The basic plot is a new advanced Terminator is sent back to eliminate John Connor’s lieutenants as well as Connor himself and his future wife, Kate Brewster.  Like in T2: Judgement day John Connor tries to prevent Judgment day from happening with the help of The Terminator and Kate Brewster.

James Cameron was not involved, neither was Linda Hamilton.  If Cameron was not to direct then they should have gone for a visionary director, someone who could bring a whole new element to these films.  The plot had already been done before and if I was writing it I would have focused on the nuclear holocaust which happens at the end of the film.  The Terminator could have gathered John Connor, Kate Brewster and Sarah Connor and got them to safety.  Obviously that would have meant that Linda Hamilton was persuaded to come back to the series, which I would like to think she would have done if her character of Sarah Connor had been given a strong part in the movie.  Claire Danes does well as Kate Brewster, but I was not convinced by Nick Stahl as John Connor.  The character just came across as a whiney little man.  I think an actor who was more physically imposing, or at least had the build to be physically imposing would have been better suited as Stahl is not the biggest of men and add in the way the character was written it made him seem a little pathetic.  Kristanna Loken as the new more advanced terminator tries hard but is not as intimidating as Schwarzenegger or Robert Patrick were.

Maybe I am being a little harsh about this film, but standing against its predecessors it needed to be something special.  It detailed the fall of mankind, and the rise of the machines.  This should have been a film or epic proportions, instead it felt like a cheap knock off.

Terminator Salvation

In this fourth film we see a departure from the time travel element that had been so important in the previous three film.  Here we see a film focused around the events years after Judgement day where John Connor is not quit the leader of the resistance and to a certain degree is still an outsider.  He is also viewed as a prophet of sorts.

The film starts before Terminator 3 happens and we see death row inmate Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) sign his body over to Cyberdyne Systems for medical research after he’s death sentence is carried out.  We never really find out what he does to end up on death row though.  We then shoot forward in time to see John Connor Christian Bale) infiltrating a Skynet base and discovering evidence that a new terminator, the T-800 is being developed.  That base then blows up leaving Connor the sole survivor.  Then he goes to the resistance command and gets authorisation to try out a kill coded for the terminators.  He also learns that he and Kyle Reese are top of a Skynet kill list so he proceeds to try to find Kyle Reese.  Marcus Wright is seen to escape the Skynet base where Connor finds the T-800 plans.  Marcus befriends Kyle Reese before he is captured by Skynet.  After Reese’s capture Marcus becomes friends with resistance pilot Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood) who later helps him escape when Connor and the resistance discover that he is a cyborg.  Marcus saves Connor’s life as he is hunting down the cyborg after his escape and Marcus promises to help Connor get into Skynet’s San Francisco base.  Connor gets into Skynet, saves Kyle Reese, with a little help from Marcus but Connor is fatally wounded so Marcus gives his heart to save Connor’s life.

For me this is a good movie and I did not think that it was going to be any good at all.  From what I can make out I’m in the minority as many people did not seem to like the film.  My biggest doubts about the film came from McG being the director.  I’d seen Charlies Angels : Full Throttle and feared what McG would do with this film, but I am impressed.  The look of the film is unlike anything that we have seen in previous Terminator films, and gives us a new look of the future after Judgment day.  In the first two films we seen snippets of the future and its very dark and the war has been raging for many years.  Here the war has only been going for about a decade so the world is not quite as desolate as it is portrayed in the previous films.

Christian Bale is okay as John Connor, but it’s not he’s strongest role in my opinion.  I’d like to see an actor like Karl Urban or Adrien Brody take on the role.  Bryce Dallas Howard plays Kate Brewster, although I suppose she’s Kate Connor by this point, and has a secondary role but she still plays an important part of seeing the other side of John Connor.  There are a couple of good scenes between John and Kate which is a nice touch.  Sam Worthington almost steals the show as Marcus Wright

The only thing that I really did not like was the ending, I think it could have been done differently and still got the same message across.  That aside I think it’s a good sequel and potentially a good beginning to a new series of movies which tell the story up to the Resistance victory which pushes Skynet to send back The terminator to try to kill Sarah Connor

What’s next?

There are various rumours about where the franchise will be going next.  From what I’ve read the rights to movies has changed hands again and there are rumours that Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed on to do two more movies.  I kind of hope that one is false as I think he’s now a little too old to be running around playing an efficient killing machine, but we will have to wait and see.  I did read one thing that said that Joss Whedon had tried to buy the rights to the films.  I could not think of a better man to oversee any future films although I doubt he will ever have the chance.

If any more films are made they need to be loyal to the original films but at the same time bring something new and groundbreaking to the series, they need people who can raise the expectation in the Terminator films once more and give the fans the movies in this universe we deserve.