Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Director: James Cameron
Written by: James Cameron, William Wisher
Weapon of Choice: Super heated metal
Based upon: Original
Other movies in this series:
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Where were you on August 29th, 1997? If you were anywhere at all, thank Sarah Connor, her boy John, and "Uncle Bob." I know I did.
I saw Terminator 2on opening day (July 3rd, 1991) with three of my best friends. We made a day of it, anticipation strong in our youthful blood. And we loved it. The movie theater had a life-sized cardboard cut out of Arnold on his Harley, we got a picture taken with it. That photograph is now long gone, as is the movie theater, but my love of this movie lives on.
Some of you may think, Terminator 2 a Horror movie? Right, just like Over the Top was a Musical. But if you look at it as a sequel to a horror movie, with many of the same qualities (the threat of humanity's destruction, an unstoppable, emotionless monster, disturbing dream sequences, blood and violence, killers that don't stay dead, etc.), you may begrudgingly agree with us. And Over the Top just happens to be my second-favourite Musical (right behind Newsies).
Whoops, where was I? I don't enjoy the isn't-Arnold-the-coolest opening, and Eddie Furlong's piercing voice (he's ten?) sometimes get on my nerves, but those are two small things in an otherwise perfect film.
The cast (again) is great, with Schwarzenegger returning as a kinder, gentler cyborg killing machine (though he pulls it off remarkably well, especially the final scenes). Linda (why isn't she a bigger star?) Hamilton is fantastic as a streamlined, battle-hardened, slightly-crazed-but-still-motherly Sarah Connor. Robert Patrick manages so much despisable menace as the T-1000 advanced prototype, we never question whether he could kick Arnold's ass in a fight. Edward Furlong, scratchy voice and all, performs well as John Connor, mankind's saviour in the 21st Century.
James Cameron blows all previous efforts away in the action department, showing us stunts and sights no one has ever equaled, all under his signature blue light (gotta love it). As he proves with each film, a movie can be well over two hours long and never feel well over two hours long. Having the T-800 as a good-guy was brilliant, for we know how close-to-unstoppable he is, and the message the cyborg teaches Sarah is as powerful as anything in the first film.
Most folks have seen (and re-seen) Terminator 2. Here's something you've never done though: the next time you watch "T2," count how many times you see the Pepsi logo. It certainly annoyed tyranist as I pointed it out time and again. Funny, the screenplay continually mentions Coca-Cola.
Best Scare: Sarah's dream of nuclear apocalypse is frightening because it looks so real.
I'd Recommend It To: Come on, you've seen it already. But it's worth another viewing. Or two.
Note: Tyranist and I reviewed the 1993 Special Edition, which adds a nice scene with Michael Biehn's Kyle Reese, a lot of expanded dialogue, and hilarity as John tries to teach the Terminator to smile.
The tyranist's thoughts
What is horror really? I think the most basic answer is a movie that scares us. Even just using that, you can strongly argue that Terminator 2 is horror. Then when you start looking at the underlying plot and the basic ideas that drive the movie, there is even more. An unstoppable killer is after and innocent. There it is. Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th are all based on that theme. The whole slasher sub-genre is based on it. So why can't Terminator 2 be horror as well? Now, I will concede that The Terminator is a much scarier, more firmly horror movie than this one. It focuses on the chase and on the carnage, where Terminator 2 focuses on the people and how they are affected. I could even see someone argue that we should have treated this the same way we treated The Sixth Sense and should have chosen to not give it skulls at all since the story focuses away from the horror. Well, perhaps we gave it skulls specifically because it is so often overlooked as part of the horror genre. I ask you, how many of the Terminator series rip-offs are not categorized as horror. If you do a little looking I think that you'll find that the answer is none. Intersting, no?
Total Skulls: 11
|Rips off earlier film|
|Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie|
|Future celebrity appears|
|Former celebrity appears|
|Girl unnecessarily gets naked|
|Death associated with sex|
|Unfulfilled promise of nudity|
|Characters forget about threat|
|Power is cut|
|Phone lines are cut|
|Someone investigates a strange noise|
|Someone runs up stairs instead of going out front door|
|Camera is the killer|
|Victims cower in front of a window/door|
|Victim locks self in with killer|
|Victim running from killer inexplicably falls|
|Toilet stall scene|
|Car stalls or won't start|
|Cat jumps out|
|Stupid discovery of corpse|
|No one believes only witness|
|Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth|
|Music detracts from scene|
|Death in first five minutes|
|x years before/later|
|Dark and stormy night|
|Killer doesn't stay dead|
|Killer wears a mask|
|Killer is in closet|
|Killer is in car with victim|
|Villain is more sympathetic than heroes|
|Blood hits camera|
|Poor death effect|
|No one dies at all|
|Little kid lamely survives|
|Dog/Pet miraculously survives|
|"It was all a dream" ending|
|Unbelievably happy ending|
|Unbelievably crappy ending|
|What the hell?|