It’s been six years since the release of Terminator: Salvation, and twelve years since the release of Terminator: Rise of the Machines. It has also been a whopping 24 years since the release of a good Terminator movie (and yes, Judgement Day was also the best, come on people). Amongst a flurry of remakes and sequels that Hollywood is bombarding us with, it should come as no surprise that a company such as Paramount would take up the mantle and create a sequel/reboot to the famed sci-fi franchise.
Let’s be real for a second, the last two films in this series were lackluster, to put it lightly. The acting was shoddy in Rise of the Machines and its follow-up, Salvation, just seemed lazy. Seeing a trend here? So of course it makes sense that we should have low hopes for this film. Understandable.
I’m going to start off by saying, I saw this film opening day, July 2. Before you ask, yes I am a huge Game of Thrones fan. Yes, I think Emilia Clarke is hot as hell. No, she isn’t the only reason I saw it. Arnold is back as well. No needless to say, I wanted to see this because of the cast, and frankly, I was curious to see how Emilia Clarke did with a role that isn’t Daenerys Targaryen.
So I got a couple of friends (also GoT fans, go figure), we paid for tickets, popcorn, drinks, you know how it goes; and we sat down and prepared ourselves for disappointment from another quick cash-grab reboot.
We were pleasantly, nay, schockingly suprised. The film was great. It had the action and mayhem of the original Terminator, the humor of Judgement Day–which was great, seeing as how the last two seemed to be devoid of it–mixed in with a little alternate reality twist in the Terminator story formula. The humor was a huge relief for me. I don’t think I could have gone through another Terminator film that took itself too seriously; this isn’t The Dark Knight, for god’s sake.
Good ol’ Arnold is back with a vengeance in this one. His T-100 character is serious as shit when it comes to protecting Sarah, but when interacting with humans, he seems to be a bit socially awkward. I hesitate to say that his relationship with Sarah is like the one he had with John in Judgement Day, as he’s a bit more aware of the human thought process. I think a good way to think about it is that it’s a similar relationship that he had with John, but he thinks more like a human rather than a calculator. Sarah has taught him social skills, and he puts them to often humurous use throughout the film. For example, when Kyle Reese is sent back to 1984, the T-100 says: “It is nice to meet you Kyle Reese.” It isn’t sincere, of course, he’s still a robot, but that’s part of the humorous charm that Arnold brings to his character. In the 2017 portion of the film though, Arnold’s character seems more human than ever. He even gets into traffic arguments. He tells a passerby “Bite me” after he pisses him off. It’s hilarious.
But the movie doesn’t go over the top with the humor and comedic relief. Like in Judgement Day, the movie is serious at its core, but similar to Judgement Day, comedy is rampant throughout the film. Most of the comedic interactions happen between Sarah and the T-100, as they have endured a father-daughter relationship (which I’ll get into soon).
Emilia Clarke’s performance was pleasantly suprising, as I wasn’t sure how she would do in an iconic role like Sarah Connor. Not to say her other main role, Daenerys, isn’t iconic its just…come on this is Sarah Connor, need I say more? I thought she would be decent at best, but she actually did really well. There were a couple times where her accent broke through at the beginning (although I must admit, there is a strange appeal to the idea of an English Sarah Connor), but in all, she did a very good job.
I don’t really want to say much about the story, because I don’t want to spoil it. But I’ll say this: the story is a very well thought-out arc. Beginning, middle, end, good transition. Quick note: there is a mid-credits scene that I missed so be on the lookout for that.
But I should probably explain the father-daughter ralationship between the T-100 and Sarah Connor. The T-100 essentially raised Sarah since she was 9. I can’t say why or how without giving away the story, but let’s just say that the background really adds to the emotional appeal of the movie, and makes the audience think that maybe there is something else going on in that T-100, something a bit…human.
Fuck the critics. Take everything that they say with a grain of salt. They hate on everything, and have no appreciation for good movies such as this one. Hell, take what I say with a grain of salt. The only person that can decide whether or not this is a good movie is you.
If you’re interested in seeing it, I’d recommend it; everyone I’ve talked to that has seen it has really enjoyed it. But if you’re a bit unsure, then wait for it to come out on DVD. I thought this movie was great, and I’d totally pay to see it again.