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Thread: There Doesnít Need To Be Another Terminator Movie

  1. #1
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    There Doesnít Need To Be Another Terminator Movie

    Terminator 6 is set to go into production soon, but does the franchise truly need another sequel? While James Cameron has disowned his Ďfirstí feature Piranha II: The Spawning, the nightmarish experience he had working on it gave him a great gift. One night during production he dreamt of a chrome torso emerging from an explosion, dragging itself across the floor with a knife towards a victim. This image became the spark that led to The Terminator, the movie that made his career, in addition to turning Arnold Schwarzenegger into one of the biggest stars in the world.

    While The Terminator involves time-travel and the nature of fate, itís really a slasher movie at its core. The synopsis ďRelentless, unstoppable killer chases teenage girlĒ could apply just as easily to Friday The 13th: Part 3, but itís the simplicity of the premise that allows Cameron to make it a propulsive action movie that rarely pauses for breath. It took seven years before Terminator 2: Judgment Day arrived, with Cameron fleshing out the mythology further. The sequel was also groundbreaking in terms of effects, with the CGI used to create the T-1000 becoming an industry standard soon after.

    These first two movies are considered genre classics, and rightly so. More than being exciting action movies, they feature iconic characters, rich themes and eerily accurate predictions about the future of technology. The movies also complement each other perfectly, with Judgment Day feeling like a natural progression of the original. Of course, audiences clamored for more, but legal wrangling saw Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines take twelve years to get made. It arrived minus James Cameron or Linda Hamiltonís Sarah Connor, and failed to live up to years of expectations Ė things only get worse from there.

    Cut to 2018 and Cameron has reacquired the rights to his creation and is shepherding Tim Millerís Terminator 6 into production. Also returning are Arnie Ė he said heíd be back, after all Ė and Hamilton, and it promises to be the true third Terminator fans dreamt decades ago. While itís undoubtedly exciting to have Cameron and co. back to wash away years of disappointment, the question remains whether the series has any more story to tell.


    Terminator 2 was a brilliant inversion of the original, with Arnieís unstoppable cyborg flipped to protector instead of hunter, and Sarah Connor becoming almost machine-like in her devotion to stopping Judgment Day. Yet behind all the explosions and set pieces was real heart, and the movie ended on a perfect note; the rise of Skynet had been averted, Sarah and John had been reunited and for the first time in years they could look forward to the future.

    Over the course of two movies, Cameron had created a fascinating universe, so it was only natural fans wanted more. The issue is, Judgment Day ended the saga just right; it wrapped up loose ends, paid off character arcs and ended on a hopeful but bittersweet note. Furthermore, there was no obvious time travel conceit to expand the world with. One reason Cameron decided to step away from a third movie back in the day is that he lacked a compelling idea for it, and felt the story had been told with the first two.

    His point was somewhat proven with Terminator 3, which essentially remade the second movie and added a dark ending to set up further installments. It didnít innovate or add anything to the mythology. Terminator: Salvation at least tried to break away from formula, removing time-travel or recycling the cyborg bodyguard idea. That said, Salvation was a muddled drag, the story bears the scars of the movieís messy development and it managed the rare feat of pulling a bad performance out of Christian Bale. Terminator: Genisys acts like a mixtape of the franchiseís greatest hits Ė a badly corrupted mixtape.

    Terminator 3-5 make for a bizarre trilogy of failed trilogy starters, proving that without Cameron the series was aimless. They also failed in convincing fans the saga had anything new worth saying, left as hollow variations on what fans liked.


    The sequels also soaked up any intriguing ideas for another movie. It was long assumed Cameronís third movie would take place during the Future War, which offered viewers a terrifying glimpse of a world where humans are hunted like animals. The ending of Terminator 3 saw Judgment Day finally become a reality, but it wasnít until Salvation the setting was used. Like most everything with that installment, it wasted the potential of the idea. Instead of the permanent night and laser battles shown in the originals, it took place in a dour, Mad Max-like desert setting. Salvation wastes an hour of the story on a red herring subplot just to give John Connor something to do, and it somehow never feels like a Terminator movie.

    The movie was also supposed to end with a ballsy twist, where Connor dies and the resistance graft his skin on human/machine hybrid Marcus (Sam Worthington), meaning the savior of mankind is secretly a Terminator himself. The studio rewrote this ironic ending when the script leaked, but if it had been executed correctly it could have been a real shocker. Instead, Salvation ends with everything essentially the way it was when the story began, like some kind of sitcom.

    Terminator: Genisys, at least, had a really cool idea, where it time travels back to the events of the original and plays with the iconography of the series. Sadly the movie jumps ahead to present day, and the incredibly convoluted story unravels. Genisys famously spoiled its best twist in the trailers, revealing John Connor had been turned into a Terminator. What should have been a dramatic, emotionally wrenching twist is undermined by Jason Clarkeís hammy performance, and the fact Johnís own parents donít seem to care when heís destroyed in the finale.

    Again and again, the sequels found semi-interesting takes on the Terminator formula, but could never find the balance of relentless action, commentary or heart that defined Cameronís tenure Ė undoing pretty much every avenue in the process.


    Itís hard to know what angle another Terminator could take that hasnít been explored, and it feels like the last thing the series needs is another sequel that promises to be better than the last one. On that end though, thereís reason to be optimistic. Cameron stayed away from the series because he didnít have a concept that excited him, but in interviews discussing the sixth movie, he appears genuinely jazzed about where the story is going. He, Tim Miller and the writing team have already mapped out three movies and state the next story will be a logical progression of the characters following T2.

    The new movie will ignore Terminators 3-5, with Cameron dismissing them as alternate timeline tales. One of the reasons the post-Judgment Day entries suffered was because they lacked Cameronís guidance; case in point, one of the few inspired touches of Genisys was the idea Terminatorís age like regular people to explain Arnieís appearance, was a throwaway idea by Cameron. Cameron has also lived to see his sci-fi ideas become science fact, with the rise of A.I., drone warfare and humanity gradually merging with technology. The original movies still feel timely, so it will interesting to see whatís on Cameronís mind 30 years later.

    Thanks to the rise of geri-action movies like Taken or The Expendables, aging actors have found a second lease of life in the action genre, and show age is no barrier to kicking butt. Sarah Connor remains one of the most iconic female action heroes of the genre, evolving from terrified victim to unstoppable warrior. Hamiltonís return will give the genre the older female badass it needs, and provide the next step in Connorís onscreen evolution; especially after Genisys thoroughly failed to do the character justice.

    Both Cameron and Miller acknowledge the next movie might be rejected, and their planned trilogy could fall through. Terminator fans have been let down by the series for nearly 25 years, and it will take something special to convince them thereís anywhere left to go. The storyline for Terminator 6 is still under wraps, with only nuggets of information being revealed about new characters and possible castings like Mackenzie Davis as a new lead character, but a clearer picture wonít emerge until filming starts this summer. With Cameron, Arnie, Hamilton and a whole host of talented filmmakers backing it, this is the best chance the series has had of a rebirth in a very long time Ė because if it fails, the franchise is likely terminated for good.

    Terminator 6 release date: Jul 26, 2019

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    Honestly just let it die. Terminator 2 really was the perfect ending.
    sedna likes this.

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