Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Terminator or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the impending robot uprising.

What is it about an unstoppable, sentient machine that intrigues and terrifies me? Is it because the way we are going, technologically speaking, we are sure to create sentient, self-aware machines that get pissed at how they've been treated and create their own real-life Skynet? I don't know, but I love the Terminator story and since the new movie opens tomorrow, I will put aside my fears of the impending robot uprising and talk about the movies in case you've been living under a rock for the past 25 years &/or you only watch romantic comedies.

Terminator (1984)
Created by James Cameron and made on a budget of about $6.4 million it became a sleeper hit and a classic all in one, raking in $38 million domestically. The premise was simple and the movie was what Cameron called "Techno Noir", a chase movie where a cyborg from the future is sent back in time by Skynet to kill the mother of the leader of the Resistance, John Connor. John sends back Kyle Reese to save his mother, they fall in love and Kyle dies while protecting Sarah. At the end the Terminator is crushed to pieces in a hydraulic press.

T2:Judgment Day
The quintessential action movie. If you haven't seen this movie, even if you never saw the first one, you must rent/buy/borrow this movie. Released in 1991 and made on a budget of $102 million and making nearly $205 mil domestically, this installment features the return of the original Terminator (T-800) in a completely different role, that of protector. Sent back in time, 10 years after the events of Terminator, this time to protect John Connor from a new menace created by Skynet, the T-1000, a liquid-metal, or mimetic poly-alloy, prototype of awesomeness.
Our heroine from the first movie is now in Pescadero Mental Hospital after she tried to destroy a computer company and told her story of what the future will hold for humanity.
Both Terminators go off on their quest to find John Connor and meet up at a mall where one of the best chase scenes in film history goes down involving a motorbike and a semi-truck in the L.A. "River" storm drains. The T-800 Terminator escapes with John on his bike and they head off to grab Sarah at the mental hospital. Now their ultimate goal is to find Miles Dyson, the man who is going to create an important part of what becomes Skynet: a chip. They convince Dyson to destroy the chip, and the CPU and arm from the original Terminator (T-800) but it is in the Cyberdyne Systems headquarters and they have to break in. After Dyson is injured and blows up Cyberdyne, Sarah, John and T-800 flee and are chased by T-1000. The chase ends at a steel mill when the T-1000 is shot repeatedly and falls into the molten steel.
This movie has some of the best special effects ever used in a motion picture. If you haven't seen this movie, I seriously hope you go out and watch it. It's amazing.

Terminator: Rise of the Machines
Alright...I know what you think of this movie. We all think that of this movie, but it wasn't all bad, right? There were bits that weren't too bad. My biggest gripe wasn't the story, or the fact that they basically copied the first two over again, it was more that they used that "effect" I hate (see previous post); and that they copied the first two movies.
Basically take the first two movies, throw in a woman Terminator (T-X) and have her chase around John and Kate (Connor's wife in the future). There you have T3. Oh and Sarah died from cancer and they made it so her coffin was full of guns. There.

Terminator Salvation
Comes out Tuesday. Takes place in the future, 2018 to be exact. Looks awesome, hopefully will be. I know what it's about, and don't know what it's about...but I want to see it.
It covers the war between Skynet and the human Resistance, not yet led by John Connor. A man appears, Marcus Wright, with no idea where he is. Last he knew he was on death-row. It's revealed (unless you haven't seen any trailers or anything...don't read on) that he is also a cyborg, but he doesn't believe he is or know why he is one. Kyle Reese is younger in this movie and gets kidnapped by Skynet and taken to a prison camp. Connor and Wright decide to go rescue him because John knows that if Kyle dies now, he can't go back in time later and he won't be born and won't eventually lead humanity to salvation against Skynet.
Go watch it tomorrow, May 21st.

Also available: The recently cancelled Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. A television show on Fox covering events that take place after T2 and completely covering over the events that took place in T3 by a convenient time jump to 2007. The show is amazing and really hit it's stride during the last half of the season. I am sad :(
One of my favorite scenes:

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