Terminator series

a close look at the Terminator series
On
October 10, 2007
THE TERMINATOR (1984)



"Listen and understand. That Terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear. And it absolutely will not stop - ever! Until you are dead."


Everyone loves The Terminator. Seriously, who wouldn't? It has something for everyone. For the guys, it's a balls-to-the-wall action flick with explosions, car chases and gun battles. And for the ladies (and we love the ladies here at the Bits), it's a love story about a man willing to travel through time itself to save the woman he loves. The plot is pretty simple. A machine goes back in time to kill its greatest enemy's mother, thus preventing his birth. But the machine's enemy sends a protector back to save his mother, initiating a race against time (literally) to see who gets her first. A lot of action and some touching love ensues, and it's all good. The Terminator is just a great flick, and one of the best movies of the 80s.
At first it seems like another slasher movie (well, in some ways, it is), with a mysterious woman killer in Los Angeles and 2 good cops, one of them played by Lance Henriksen, investigating the murders.The concept and the story goes much deeper as the movie progress.

This is actually the only 80s thriller/horror that still creeps me out - the horror music (remember the scene when the terminator kills Ginger?), the whole "he's after us and he doesnt feel pity or remorse or fear" vibe, just priceless. It scared the hell out of me when i watched it as a kid at night, and it still does. Once again, great great movie
The whole movie is very realistic and that's what grabs the viewer. Cameron paid a great attention to details, for example - The Terminator is sweaty all the time because the metal is hot and the skin sweats on him, then the skin starts to decompose after he gets hurt - remember the scene at the hotel when he is looking throught the phone book? he was pale and flies were sitting on his face all the time. Of course, we can't give all the credit to James cameron since the movie was also co-written by Anne Hurd. this scifi thriller/horror classic set the fashion for the late 80s and early 90s, where cyborgs became 'the thing' in the movies, so we got Cyborg, American Cyborg, Cyborg Cop, Class of 1999 etc




TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (1991)




This is one of those few sequels that are as as good or even considered by most people as better then the original.
This time Cameron completely changed the whole approach and the whole vibe of the movie. Unlike the previous movie that balanced between being an 80s thriller and horror movie, T2 is a sci fi , big FX kick ass action movie.
Apart from the obvious character changes (Hamilton is barely recognizable from the first time around and Arnie's turned into a good guy with a neat line in quips), this sequel is laced with dark humour. There's also a strong underlying message about the value of human life, to the extent that even the apparently emotionless Terminator appears to learn sensibility ("now I know why you cry").
But it's the special effects that remain the most awe-inspiring aspect of the film. With a budget of over $90million, at the time of release it was the most expensive movie ever made - and it shows. Aside from the usual array of explosions, shoot-outs and high-speed chases, it's the liquid-metal transformations of the T-1000 that still impress the most."Terminator 2: Judgment Day" was a monster - the most expensive movie ever made up to that time, a big, brash crowd-pleasing epic that made us rethink the way we viewed cinematic special effects.

There is no doubt that James Cameron's 1991 "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" was a landmark film in the development of special effects, but more important it was a landmark film in establishing a truly touching relationship in an all-out action flick. This time, Arnold is not playing a cold machine, but a cyborg who develops personality and actually learns human feelings. T-800 is more like the one-liner tough guy hero Arnold became in "Commando" and "Predator". True, he doesn't play a complex character, but T-800 and his arch enemy T-1000 became movie icons. who doesn't remeber the grim on T-800's face when he says "Trust Me", or the now cult line "Hasta La Vista Baby".
The movies new, high tech enemy T-1000 is one of the most original villains ever. Who would come up with a shape shifter who can turn into anybody or anything he touches, the liquid man.Robert Patrick's breakout role as the mimetic polyalloy established new rules for not only special effects, but for villains as well. This guy could imitate anyone and make stabbing weapons with his body. And, boy oh boy, did he sure made the most of that wonderful feature. T-1000 was Patrick's biggest role and to this day everyone remebers him first and foremost as the liquid cop from T2. He also repraised this role twice (Last Action Hero and T2:3D)

T2: Judgement Day presented a memorable characters like bad boy John Connor and his tough-fighter mother Sarah Connor. Just a classic set of characters.
Anybody who was a kid or a young teen during the time T2 came out surely remember all the merchandise the movie spawned with its success. Toys, action figures,stickers, games, pinball machines - T2 was everywhere! My personal favorite is Atari's T2: Judgement Day

T2 was the definitive end of the saga as James Cameron said, carrying the message that there is no fate but what we make for ourselves.



TERMINATOR 2: BATTLE ACROSS TIME aka T2:3D (1996)




James Cameron was approached by the Universal Studios to direct a spin-off from the Terminator series for the 3:D attraction of the park. With a big budget, Cameron assembled the same team, including actors, music composers and FX guys (none other than Stan Winston) to create another bombastic masterpiece featuring the crew from T2. The movie stretched the Terminator concept more than the previous movie, ignoring some of the rules, but we do get to see Skynet and a big doze of great special effects, just like in its monstrous predecessor. For years it was considered as the third part of the movie by many fans. T2 3D perfectly recaptured the atmosphere and the vibe of T2 Judgement Day, and felt like an extended T2, kind of like T2:the continuation.
We get to see everything we'd expect from Cameron and the T crew, we have lots of funny T-800 one liners ("he was my college roommate" - after blasting endoskeleton), more of the John and Arnold interaction, and the return of T-1000.
T2 3D also introduces a new ultimate villain who is also made of liquid metal, but much more powerful - the guardian of Skynet, T-1000000 , also called T-Meg

Skynet was destroyed and eveyrthing had a happy ending. When T2 Judgement Day shows how the day is saved in the present, T2 Battle Across Time shows the happy ending in the future. Cameron closed the saga, as he said himself "the story is finished". And that was the end. or was it?
T2:3D is not available on DVD because it's still running in Universal's theaters, but there is a making of T2 3D on T2 Ultimate Edition DVD


TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES




After 8 years since T2: Battle Across Time and 12 years after T2: Judgement Day, the third part came out. This time, the whole crew was changed, including screenwriters and director. Cameron was not involved in the project, as he refused saying that his story is finished. The producers went with it anyway and hired Jonathan Mostow to direct the third part. Brad Fiedel (music composer) was absent as well as basically the whole crew from the previous T2, with only Arnold Schwarzenegger and Earl Boen (Dr Silberman) returning.Of course in order to continue the story, the writers completely ignored T2 3D (which was a spin off anyway, rather than a canon continuation) and ignored tons of rules from Terminator franchise to the point where it's impossible to make the ends meet. T2 closed the story so well that the third movie had to have lots of holes and stretch in the plot in order to get the story going. Mostow replaced basically everything and messed up some technical terminator data (one of the ex. Skynet is a huge computer, not a virus!), facts and timeline. This, killing some of the main characters, and the fact that the movie had a completely different feel, brought an incredible criticism on the movie. In fact, Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines destroyed the franchise to the point that the franchise now have been turned into tv series, in similar fashion to what robocop 3 did with the Robocop franchise. When it's a good movie in it's own right, it's not a good terminator movie and doesn't feel like one also, messing up the whole concept.

The big question is, what can be more undestructable than liquid? more undestructable than pollyalloy T-1000? you can't really go any further. The new villain, T-X, has a new, turno powered skeleton covered with liquid metal - far less dangerous if you ask me, cause you can destroy something that's solid much easier than something that's in completely liquid form. The only advantage T-X had over T-1000 is plasma weapons.
This time Arnold plays a slightly better model, T-850, and acts like 50's movie robots.
One of the highlights of the first two Terminator features are the many well-written moments that flesh out the characters, making them more than the typical two-dimensional cardboard cutouts usually found in action pictures. Unfortunately, these moments are for the most part either perfunctory or else completely missing from Terminator 3. As such, we don’t really get any idea why John and Kate will wind up together in the future as revealed to them by the Terminator. As it is, they come off as little more than ciphers who react to the situations around them as the plot dictates them to.
As the new female Terminator, Kristanna Loken doesn’t exude a real feeling of menace. Instead of maintaining a cold impassive face like Schwarzenegger and T2’s Robert Patrick, she seems to be barely concealing a smile as she hunts our heroes.

What’s truly maddening about T3 is that it’s ending completely undercuts the theme of the previous two films. When taken as a whole, Terminator and T2 stressed that people make their own destiny their lives were not predetermined for one course of action. As Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Conner, mother of John, states at the end of Terminator 2, “There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.” Without revealing specifics, the ending of Terminator 3 pretty much spits in the eye of that sentiment.


THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES (2007)



This is the result of the huge criticism of Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. The terminator franchise turned from feature movies to tv series ala Smallville. The show will start later this year (2007) and just as most of the people, doesn't consider T3 as canon and takes place right after the events in T2. Almost like with T3, SCC doesn't have a one person that was involved with original movies. The series will follow John and sarah as they try to hide from police and yet another terminator sent to kill John, played by Owain Yeoman.

John's protector is the most advanced terminator yet in form of a teenage girl named cameron. She is impossible to tell from the real person by appearance or/and behavior.

Can;t judge the show since i haven't seen it yet, but it's sad that such a blockbuster franchise like terminator ended the same way as robocop did, being a tv series on Fox Channel
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Comments
14 years, 1 month ago
how can you have the terminator without the terminator... it is destined to fail!!!!
    14 years, 1 month ago
    What??? I had no idea there was a "TERMINATOR 2: BATTLE ACROSS TIME" movie!!! Where can I get it from?? Does anybody know?
      14 years, 1 month ago
      i hope t4 is will be better than t3 i had t3 on dvd before but i've just don't know what happened to it.i like t2
        14 years, 1 month ago
        Im a big fan or terminator 1 & 2 but 3 is absolute shithouse. T2 ,however, is almost a remake of the original having many of the same scenes just re-made for the 90's: the scene were clothes are obtained, the motorbike scene, the truck scene, similar scenes in T1 & T2 were sarah conner thinks she has defeated the terminator (after truck crashes) but hasnt.the factory scene & finally the ending. Dont get me wrong T2 is an brilliant film, but the original is superior. T3 ,on the other hand, is terrible, ruining the franchise, like Alien Resurrection did for the Alien saga. The TX evil female cyborg was as bad as inspector gadget with all her built in gadgets, the film was as bad as Batman Forever.
          14 years, 1 month ago
          The best in the series was the first, definately, and the second one just isn't as good. The first one was so dark, and had such a feel of desperation in it, and was just plain scary at times! The second one just seemed a bit watered down, mostly by the scenes with Edward Furlong teaching The Terminator to be "cool".

          I actually liked the third movie, mostly because of the ending, which ended up with the war happening anyway. It makes room for a fourth film, where we actually see John Connor lead the world to freedom, which should be awesome.

          As for that Sarah Connor Chronicles show... Man, that looks bad.
            14 years, 1 month ago
            Im a fan of T1 and T2, T2-3D but it stops there. T3 was the biggest let down ever and I hope T4 is allot better. Im not keen atoll on this new trilogy Ive been hearing I feel they can finish it off with just one more.
              14 years, 1 month ago
              Thanx Lucas for backing me up. Alot of folks thought I was starting rumors.
                14 years, 1 month ago
                Achilles that's exactly what i mean. The movie could never have happened in the first place....
                It's a storyline error. It could never happen because the technology and John were never there to begin with.
                  14 years, 1 month ago
                  sideswipe, its a timeloop, thats what the story's based on. Same with terminator, skynet was built based on his chip, so therefore, if the terminator wouldnt be sent back in time, there would be no skynet either. both skynet and Connor sent their father back in time
                    14 years, 1 month ago
                    EightiesCrazy is right. When I read about this a few years ago I was shocked. The mass media/entertainment industry is unfortunately a finely tuned machine that steals stories/ideas from many people to avoid paying royalties to it's rightful owners.
                    T1 and T2 are great movies still. Nice article.
                      14 years, 1 month ago
                      Well, i personally don't like this franchise for 1 simple reason: It's all based on a huge storyline error. Follow me on this one:
                      John sends Reese to the past to protect his mother, John proceeds to get Sarah pregnant thus giving life to John.
                      Now...how the hell did John even exist before sending his father to the past to protect-impregnate his mother? yeah...i thought so too...
                        14 years, 1 month ago
                        holy shit, the tv series looks so lame, that termin-girl... she doesnt even act like a terminator, oh thats so cool, so its gonna be simply a stupid teenager with super stregnth... what a shame...
                          14 years, 1 month ago
                          Never saw T-2 3-D, I just might have to do that.
                          Good article!
                            14 years, 1 month ago
                            Does anyone else think that the busted up terminator in The Sarah Conner Chronicles looks like Johnny Knoxville?
                              14 years, 1 month ago
                              Here's a bit of trivia. The Terminator and Matrix series were in fact created by a black woman who sent Hollywood scripts years ago and got no response then nearly had a heart attack when she saw her work on the big screen. After years of WB lawyers vs the young genius they finally settled out of court and she became an instant Billionaire. There reason for giving in, they did not want it known that 2 Americas most beloved franchises were created by a Black woman for fear of the backlash. Crazy huh? Google it if you don't believe me.
                                14 years, 1 month ago
                                crap...my road test instructor looked exactly like the liquid cop from T2. Which is probably why I got nervouse and failed :(
                                  14 years, 1 month ago
                                  exactly. I loved T3 too but like you said, it didnt feel like a Terminator movie, plus all those goofs and inconsistencies with the other parts
                                    14 years, 1 month ago
                                    Nice article man. I'm a big Terminator fan but, I must say that I personally loved T3. But I will admit that it didn't have that same Terminator feel to it.
                                      14 years, 1 month ago
                                      T4 isnt a sealed deal yet, its 50/50 wheter its gonna happen or no. from what ive read, its not gonna happen after all, but who knows?
                                        14 years, 1 month ago
                                        arrgh!
                                          14 years, 1 month ago
                                          For a so called "T" geinous like yourself im suprised you havent mentioned "T4".
                                            14 years, 1 month ago
                                            I only acknowledge The Terminator.
                                              14 years, 1 month ago
                                              I loved T1 and T2. I just pretend T3 doesn't exist, much like I do for "Batman and Robin".
                                                14 years, 1 month ago
                                                T3 was not good, but damn! Those special effects were better that T2!

                                                I think the sarah o conner chronicals should just be a reboot of the whole series.
                                                  14 years, 1 month ago
                                                  it is truly sad to see it end this way and it probably will end this way. t3 was okay in its own right but missed john cameron's touch and was a far cry from T1 OR T2.
                                                    14 years, 1 month ago
                                                    i know t3 sucked
                                                      14 years, 1 month ago
                                                      I heard they were talking about a Terminator 4 as well, only without Arnold since he's now governor.

                                                      In other words, it's almost bound to be bad.
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