Coming to theaters soon is a movie we've been waiting to see for 25 years. No, not Star Wars: Episode 7 - Revenge of the Sarlacc. I'm referring to "Terminator 4" or "Terminator Salvation".
This weekend Yummy and I sat down to watch the original "Terminator". She'd never seen any of them and it had been far too many years since I'd seen the original. It's... uh... very 1984. Very, very 1984, in fact.
"Terminator" launched the careers of James Cameron and contributed significantly to Arnold Schwarzenegger's career. Since James Cameron was pretty much an unknown he had to make "Terminator" on a budget. In fact, it's only one step up from a B-Movie. But if you have a good story then you don't need high dollar effects.
Sarah Connor is a waitress and a wanted woman. Killer cyborgs from the future are here to kill her. Sometime down the road NORAD builds a defense system called Skynet. When the war comes the computer decides that all humans are the enemy, not just those on the other side, so it nukes everyone and takes over. For years mankind, led by John Connor, has fought the robots that Skynet makes in automated factories. The robots are losing so they send a flesh covered cyborg back in time to kill Sarah Connor before she gives birth to John. The humans send Kyle Reese to protect her.
There's lots of running and shooting and killing. From time to time we get some back story to explain the who and whys. We also get a lot of 1984. Seriously. A lot. There are a couple of great shots of a spastic stop-motion steel Terminator coming down the hall. Arnold's prosthetic face used when showing significant facial damage was pretty comical.
It's the end that really makes this movie into something other than another Freddy or Jason style flick or another defending against the robot uprising story. In the end we find that Sarah Connor is pregnant with John. Kyle is the father but he's dead. So the movie tells of a predestination paradox. The robots were losing to John Connor so they sent back a robot to kill Sarah so the humans sent back a defender who knocked up Sarah so she'd have the kid that would fight the robots causing them to send a robot back in time... and on and on. The trailers didn't sell this movie. People walking out of the theater with their minds blown and telling their friends sold the movie
Nine years later James Cameron has make Aliens and The Abyss. He's a name. He's able to pull down a budget for "Terminator 2". T2 is bigger and grander and arguably better than the first. It secured "Terminator" as a movie to stick around instead of just falling in the dustbin of movie history.
T2 was followed up in 2003 with "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" where the movie ends with the start of the war. The story has shifted a bit. Now it's just a plain old super AI uprising.
Season 2 of "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" just ended. It's really a lot better than I ever expected it to be.
On May 21 we get to see what we've been wanting to see for 25 years. We get to see the actual war with the machines.
I'm still not getting it on DVD, but I'm glad I saw it again. Except Yummy is now going to make me watch "High School Musical".
This cartoon is from one of the books in The Bunny Suicides series.