Skyped in from the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in beautiful New London, CT to dissect Terminator: Genisys (sic) — the underwhelming reboot of/fourth sequel to one of my favorite movies — with Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon. While I was taking in this movie in the “Luxury Seating” equipped Waterford 9 Cinemas, several of my fellow Critic Fellows, all ladies, were next door enjoying Magic Mike XXL. My proposal for a double feature was summarily rejected.
search for me
Filtering by Tag: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
"Well, everyone knows Ripley died on Fiornia-161. What this ALIEN movie presupposes is... maybe she didn't?"
I have a long, long "Exposition" essay up at The Dissolve today inspired by (uncertain) reports that District 9 director Neill Blomkamp's upcoming Alien movie may be a ret-con scenario that undoes the events of 1992's Alien-little-three, or Alien Cubed – anyway, the one where Ripley died. The piece is about retconning in fiction in general, and why it doesn't much impair my ability or inclination to suspend my disbelief at all.
If you're quite comfortable in your chair, and you're stout of heart and nerdy of temperament... Onward!
Terminator 2: Judgment Day originally had a sunlit coda set on the National Mall in the no-longer-grim future of 2029 with Linda Hamilton in unconvincing old age makeup. Director James Cameron was right to cut it.
My essay about the movie's villain that ran on The Dissolve last week originally had a rambling 500-word introduction. My editor, Keith Phipps, was right to cut it.
So here it is!
Sixty-one minutes into the theatrical cut of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, there’s a shot so hokey that only the unrelenting intensity of the preceding hour could keep the audience from laughing.
Sarah Connor and her son John — future Che Guevara of the resistance against SkyNet, the artificial intelligence network destined to nuke the Northern Hemisphere and then hunt the human vermin scurrying among its ashes — speed away from the insane asylum from which Sarah has just pulled off a desperate jailbreak. They’re in a commandeered police car driven by the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger model) Terminator, their ally.
In the rearview mirror, we see the advanced T-1000 Terminator, which wants nothing on Earth but to kill them, in an awkward foot pursuit with two swords/dredging hooks for hands. He is played by Robert Patrick, a 32-year-old former Bowling Green University linebacker who trained himself to sprint full speed with his mouth closed, the way no human being runs, for the role. He looks graceful, fast, and lethal every time he runs in the movie except this one.
Where he looks ridiculous.
Sent from the future by the malevolent supercomputer StruwwelpeterNet to snip the heads off bad little boys and girls.
Is what he looks like.
We know by this point the T-1000 is made from a “mimetic polyalloy” that can rearrange itself into stabby metal objects, and that can at least temporarily alter his appearance to make him an perfect visual doppelganger of any person he touches. We even bought the shot just a moment ago, when the T-800 fired his shotgun point blank into the T-1000’s face — well, “face” — and the thing’s bubbling metal head (just infer the quotation marks around all future references to specific body parts and gender, please) burst open like a tin of Jiffy Pop before zipping itself back together.
But that goofy shot of him running in the mirror is the last time the T-1000 will menace our heroes for 34 minutes — a perilously long chunk of a kinetic thriller like this one. T2’s roughly $100 million cost was a record high when the film went into production in 1990, but this shot wouldn’t have looked any different if it had been a penny-pinching guerilla action movie, like 1984’s The Terminator — the film that earned cowriter/director James Cameron a career.
Read the final version of this essay at The Dissolve, which jettisoned this looooooong setup to cut to the still-quite-lengthy chase. Thanks again to Keith for his smart, patient, improving edit.
I've very proud to have contributed the concluding essay of The Dissolve's Movie of the Week coverage of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, long one of my sentimental favorites. My piece examines how cowriter-director James Cameron's decision to disguise the film's mysterious villain, the advanced T-1000 Terminator played (mostly) by Robert Patrick, as a uniformed Los Angeles police officer anticipated our growing discomfort with police in general and the L.A.P.D. in particular at the start of the 90s. It also explores the film's ironic connection to the tragic beating of Rodney King by four L.A.P.D. officers near one of T2's key locations while the film was in production. Read it here.
It's only July 1, but thanks to the ever-accelerating start date of the summer movie season -- it kicked off the first weekend of April this year, when Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out -- summer movies are done. I still want to see Snowpiercer, which will roll out to Washington, DC this week, but the less-than-enthusiastic early notices from critics I respect has tempered my enthusiasm for that. There's no Dark Knight coming in two weeks. There's no Terminator 2: Judgment Day opening at midnight tomorrow night. Does that sadden me? It does, a little! Shut up.
Anyway, I was honored to be one of a dozen critics who determined -- through three rounds of voting -- the 50 Greatest Summer Blockbusters for The Dissolve. Numbers 50-31 were posted yesterday; 30-11 went up today. Tomorrow you'll all find out what we deemed the Top Ten.
I had the honor of writing the entires for three of my favorites: Steven Spielberg's Minority Report, from 2002, which placed 46th; Nic Meyer's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, from 1982, which placed 37th; and at lucky no. 13, James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which is probably my personal all-time favorite summer movie. (I still love you, Jaws, but so does everyone else, and you arrived before I did. Whereas I had the experience of discovering T2's greatness at the same as the rest of the world.)
The process of choosing our 50 from the initial list of 655, I think it was, was fairly agonizing. Like any exercise is winnowing, it forces you to examine your priorities in art. I'll probably try to write about that this week. UPDATE: I did write about it.
Over in today's Criticwire survey, I make a Sophie's choice and present my surprisingly concise rationale for why Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the superior of James Cameron's two Terminator joints. And I begin flogging my imminent Village Voice piece about Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempt at a comeback in The Last Stand. That should be online Wednesday or Thursday. Rest assured I will let you know.