I’ve not yet seen Terminator: Genisys, but I’ve heard things… bad things. I’ve seen reviews. I’ve seen the trailers. I’ve seen the faces of people who have seen it, and were disappointed to say the least. Let’s go back to the early 90’s. Terminator 2: Judgement Day had just come out, and it was not only one of the few sequels to be better than the original (arguably), but it was one of the best action films ever made (again, arguably). Since then, we’ve been… exposed… to three more Terminator films, and even though they have their fans (I’m actually one of them to an extent), they’re nowhere near as good as the first two, and, they are in fact, quite bad. On top of that, they insist on revisiting the first two, changing a bunch of things we loved about them, and saying ‘this is how it really happened’.
I’m not saying that every film in this franchise needs to be a game changing, mind bending experience, but I have one simple question. In a film with time travel, awesome robots, futuristic technology, and most importantly, brilliant mythology and back story, how hard can it be to make a good Terminator film?
Let’s talk about Salvation, the most hated in the franchise. I remember when this film was coming out, people were saying ‘this is the film they always wanted to make’. It was a film actually set in the apocalyptic future, where Terminators were around every corner. It was the war against Skynet. It was the story of John Connor, being a badass. It was the story of how the Terminators changed from looking like robot skeletons into looking like humans. That sounds like a good film. But for some reason it wasn’t.
I think I know why. This is a hard time period to set a film in, because how was this film ever going to end? Well, they could have killed all the humans, and had Skynet win, and then… I guess they would’ve stood still for the rest of time? Or maybe made spaceships and gone into space to terminate some aliens (I can’t tell if that’s a good idea or not). Or, they could of had the humans win, and then, I guess, live long happy lives? While the promise of seeing the war of the future is appealing, do we really want to know the end of the story? They also didn’t really include time travel, and added the strange, out-of-place, and not very interesting story of Marcus Wright, the half human, half Terminator who, well, doesn’t really do anything.
Terminator 3 isn’t quite as hated, but I think I know where they went wrong with that one too. The Terminator in T3, the T-X is clearly a huge step back from the T-1000. Watching the T-X was nowhere near as impressive as the T-1000, even though it was made more than a decade later. I understand that it’s hard to make anything better than the liquid metal Terminator, and maybe there is nowhere better to go. I suppose only time and many, many sequels will tell, because no matter how bad Genisys is, there will be another one, and I’m gonna be there to see it.
So, I ask again, how hard is it to make a good Terminator film? Very hard apparently. I suppose robots and time travel aren’t what made the first two films so good. If only the film makers would realise that.
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