Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

18 January 2008

Terminator 2: Judgment Day, dir. James Cameron (1991)

STEVE says:
I was assistant manager at a movie theater back in my college days, and we played T2. I must have watched it at least 20 times on the big screen, and maybe as many since on Laserdisc. I look at it now and I wonder what the hell I was thinking.

Not that it sucks, not at all, but it's just more of the same, innit? Run, run, run, chase, chase, chase, explosion, end. The twist is that Schwarzenegger's T-101 is now the protector (since he'd slipped into the mainstream and no longer wanted to play bad guys), which probably sounded like a good idea in the pitch, but on the screen it comes off as Kindergarten Cop all over again.

It opens pretty much the same as the first one: T-101 shows up in a big blue ball of electricity, beats up some thugs (bikers this time, instead of the punks) and steals some clothes, but the scene ends on a light-hearted note - T-101 taking one of the biker's sunglasses as an afterthought. It lets us know that he's the good guy before we should really have this information.

Come to think of it, the first movie did this too: It wanted us to think that Reese was the one stalking Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor, but we'd already seen Schwarzenegger kill a woman with the same name. He was definitely the bad guy, making Reese the hero by default. When Robert Patrick's T-1000 kills a cop, we know not to be too concerned with Schwarzenegger.

Something else that bugs me: Since T-1000 can take the form of any living being, why's he just steal the cop's clothes? He comes through as Robert Patrick, kills the cop who investigates the "electrical disturbance", and walks off with the cop's uniform, whereas everyone else he comes into contact with, he's got their clothes and their appearance. But since he's morphing left, right and center, it seems he didn't really steal the cop's clothes, but assimilated them into his form without taking the cop's likeness. Sloppy, Jim. Sloppy.

This movie is full of Cameron using effects for effects sake not the sake of the story, but it's still fun and stands as a good follow-up to the original. The scene where Sarah Connor sees T-101 step out of the elevator is still as effective as ever, and for that alone I'm rating it a 3 out of 5.

[NOTE: We watched the pilot for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles after T2, and it wasn't bad. Completely re-invents the future history set up in T3, but we knew that was going to happen from the press release. It's another one of these Les Miserables type shows - The Fugitive, The Incredible Hulk, Starman, Werewolf, etc. - adhering to the Hunter/Prey archetype. The thing I liked best about it, though, is the Hunter's last name is Ellison. That's so cool that it almost counter-balances the retardedness of the Terminator/Protector calling herself Cameron...]

NIKKI says:
T2... it was actually way more boring than I remember. Not that it was bad, just that it was a bit repetitive. By about the 15th chase scene, I was over it. This could have something to do with the version we watched being a super-long, extended, director's cut, which, it seems, means "more chases!".

I also didn't realise how mental Sarah Connor is here. She's just kind of insane. I realise she has much on her plate, enough to drive anyone slightly nutty, but she's so ... weird in this movie. I found myself not liking her, not seeing her as this fierce warrior, but a broken woman losing her marbles because the whole situation is just so enormous. And it had made her hard emotionally as well as physically. Too hard, too free of warmth. We watched her new TV show after this, and I'm pleased she's back to normal -- at least, her version of normal. The show, too, is good. I'm looking forward to seeing more.

We had a lot of fun with this movie. Not only was it entertaining, but it was so full of early-'90s mega-cheese that both Steve and I could relate to having lived through this film's onslaught on modern culture. I think we were both laughing at ourselves and the time as much as we were laughing at Danny Cooksey's mullet and Eddie Furlong's pre-Emo, long and sweepy do. I just kept flashing back to 1992 -- even though robots are fighting to kill this boy who becomes a leader of the people, wasn't life just so much simpler back then?

And so with the TV show, the saga continues. Which is good -- as long as they don't make it all chase scenes and explosions, I think there's more to explore with this story.


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