Terminator - VI - Cameron back in the fold

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Deuce66, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Toronto, Canada
    Salvation is really disappointing on a few levels -- it has an unusually terrible Christian Bale performance (he just yells and has no charisma at all; you would never believe anyone following him into battle), the story of Marcus himself and his interaction with John is extremely silly, there are still traces of the original ending that had to be dumped due to fan outcry (John's skin put on Marcus's terminator body), and the pacing is leaden.

    It's too bad, because it actually has terrific cinematography, visual effects, and production design. All that stuff is top-notch, some of the best in the series. The opening sequence is incredible. And Anton Yelchin is wonderful. Even Sam Worthington is pretty engaging in it. But it's all wasted on a nothing story.

    It gets a lot of guff, but I think Genisys is the most entertaining of the non-Cameron Terminator movies. T3 is OK, but it looks more and more cardboard as the years go by. Salvation I can't sit through outside of a few select, remarkable sequences.
  2. will_b_free

    will_b_free Forum Resident

    Boulder, CO
    I may have said it... or I edited it out of what I said... but I suspect that the scene in which John and his wife had a talk would have given John's character more personality. The filming of that scene - the argument between Bale and the director - became infamous. Did the fight become known before the film was out? If so, perhaps McG cut it because he was embarrassed. In any case, with it gone, Bale is a little more one-note than usual. (Bale was also one-note in the Batman films, so, not sure that is unusual for him).

    But in Salvation, people follow John not because of his demeanor, but because he has correctly foretold the advancements of the Terminators, from metal to rubber skin to biological skin. (He may have even been the first to warn that human-shaped Terminators would be appearing at all). So people think he's probably the one (Neo style "The One") to follow.

    Writing a screenplay is like building a series of bridges - and then you burn down some of the bridges and put up new ones as you make new drafts. The final draft connects all the points, but you may catch the scent of some of the burnt pieces on the wind now and then.

    I don't think fans had any say in that. Would fans have been privy to early drafts or storylines, before that idea was discarded?

    It was clear that the two main characters would be whittled down to one by the end of the story... and redemption of the criminal was needed ... and Christian Bale would then step out from being a supporting character in Salvation to being the main character in the second and third film of the trilogy (which did not happen)... and he'd have to carry something of the redeemed criminal forward, in order for their meeting to have meant anything.

    ...Come to think of it, it probably would have made more sense for John Connor to simply get a mechanical heart, rather than having a rather convoluted explanation for why
    a robot would happen to have a biological heart
    . In any case, yeah maybe they didn't quite figure out the best way to resolve part one.

    I'd love to have seen a second a third film in the Salvation trilogy. I'd put that high on my list of films to see from nearby parallel worlds!

    Oh geez, I just realized that Terminator Genisys ripped off that early Salvation idea, didn't it? They didn't care if fans would be upset if John was a robot. Was there even ONE original idea in that whole Genisys film? Urgh.
    Maggie likes this.
  3. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Toronto, Canada
    This is a really good post, but to be clear, it WAS fan outcry that led to the changing of the original ending, in which John was killed, his skin stripped off, and placed on Marcus's body, for Marcus to become the new John. The script was leaked on the internet in 2007, I believe just before the writers' guild strike. The reaction was so furious that the studio actually denied the script was real, but the final film obviously still has traces of it.
  4. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member

    Queens, New York
    Does anyone else agree that the next Terminator movie needs to get back to the Horror/Slasher roots of the original film? Since T2 all sequels have lacked any true Horror elements and have been increasingly action oriented. I think that a divorce from the Connor storyline, and a rebirth of the series as the Sci-Fi Slasher Horror film it once was, would really give the series the vitality its been lacking.

    Just imagine for a small in scope "targeted for Termination" story which revolves around one of John's most important commanders (say a woman) being targeted for Termination. Not because of any time travel reason. This would take place earlier in the storyline (say in 2025 rather than 2029) when the War Against the Machines is at its grimmest. Basically, the structure would follow that of the original film, being a soft reboot, but it would allow for horror/slasher elements. Have the antagonist be a rubber skinned T600 Terminator. Use some of the designs from Terminator: Salvation and imagine how creepy it could be. A woman soldier in a nightmare world of ash, wreckage and rubble being hunted by an even creepier Terminator:
    Encuentro likes this.
  5. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    Honestly? I think it's time to end the franchise. It had a good run but why do these things have to go on and on. Put the money and effort into some original ideas instead of flogging a dead horse.

    I love the first two, and the TV series, but I just don't need any more 'Terminator' material.
    scobb, Dude111, eric777 and 1 other person like this.
  6. Quadboy

    Quadboy Forum Resident

    Impossible to do.......but I'd like to see a CGI young Arnold from the first film recreated and set in the future where (as stated in 3) he infiltrates John Connors group and terminates him.
  7. beat_truck

    beat_truck Forum Resident

    SW PA
    I never really considered the first two horror/slasher films at all. I always thought of them as scifi/action films.
    turnersmemo and katstep like this.
  8. Horror slasher ? I must have seen different films. :tiphat:
    katstep, Karnak and beat_truck like this.
  9. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

  10. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    exactly...Si-Fi all the way.
  11. EddieVanHalen

    EddieVanHalen Well-Known Member

    I must be the only one who liked Genysis and would to see a secon film of that story arch and end.
    SandAndGlass and katstep like this.
  12. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member

    Queens, New York
    Original movie:
    -Seemingly inhuman/unstoppable killer stalks teenage girl with the intent of murdering her
    -Wantonly kills others for no reason
    -Couple in the films gets killed soon after having sex
    -The killer seems to be stopped numerous times in the film only to keep coming back
    -Finally, even the killer is killed by the female protagonist.

    These are all Slasher film tropes common to 1970s/early 1980s Slasher Horror films. The Terminator (none of the sequels) is basically Halloween meets Science Fiction, with a great love story in it as well.

    The second movie is a Summer Blockbuster Action film. The first film is a Science Fiction Slasher Horror film.
    Plan9, sunspot42 and Encuentro like this.
  13. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member

    Queens, New York
    "James Cameron has over the years made no secret of The Terminator‘s horror inspirations, and his famous origin story for the film suggests that the idea came to him in a scary fever dream. Sick in Rome, right around the time his directorial debut Piranha 2: The Spawning was released, Cameron dreamt of a metallic creature dragging itself away from an explosion, armed with knives and coming towards him.

    As Cameron has noted, the imagery of the dream felt like it was ripped straight out of a slasher film, and he has even mentioned being heavily inspired by John Carpenter early in his career – particularly Carpenter’s debut effort, which was of course Halloween. In so many words, Cameron wanted to make his own version of Halloween, and the creepy dream was the catalyst for bringing that vision to life.

    Production on The Terminator began in early 1983, at a time when the horror genre’s slasher boom was in full swing. Halloween 3 had just come out and Friday the 13th was also up to its third installment, along with a never-ending stream of similar films inspired by those two hit franchises. And the slasher-heavy landscape of genre cinema at the time is very much evident in Cameron’s action sci-fi classic.

    For starters, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s titular character is more or less Michael Myers with a leather jacket and a cool pair of shades. A relentless killing machine who never stops, no matter how much damage you do to him, the Terminator is a villain ripped straight from the Slasher 101 handbook, right down to wearing a mask to hide his monstrous face and always being armed with a trademark weapon – in this case a gun, rather than a knife.

    Much like Michael Myers and friends, the Terminator brutally kills anyone in his path, punching through stomachs and blasting holes into an endless array of innocent victims, all the while expressing no human emotion whatsoever. Though he appears to be human, he’s truly a monster who is only interested in leaving a body count in his wake – and he doesn’t care who you are, or how he has to go about achieving that goal.
    There’s one particular scene where the film wears its slasher inspiration proudly on its sleeve. On the hunt for Sarah, the Terminator barges into her apartment, where Sarah’s roommate and boyfriend have just finished making love. While the boyfriend sleeps, Sarah’s roommate heads off into the kitchen to make a sandwich, and the Terminator massacres both in a way that would make Jason Voorhees proud.

    If Arnold Schwarzenegger plays The Terminator‘s horror villain than that makes Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor the so-called final girl, and it’s a box she tends to fit neatly inside. Like Laurie Strode and Alice Hardy before her, Sarah Connor is an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary situation, forced to get in touch with an aggressive and badass side that she had previously been unaware she even had.

    Like all good final girls, Sarah Connor goes through her heroic change when she fully embraces her role as chosen hero and saves Kyle Reese from certain doom towards the end of the film, subsequently finishing off the Terminator once and for all. You can see the moment she finally wields the power we know she has, that moment calling to mind Laurie’s attack on Michael and Alice’s decapitation of Mrs. Voorhees.

    In the end, Sarah Connor is the sole survivor of all the bloody mayhem, successfully vanquishing the bad guy and walking off – or in this case driving off – into an unknown future, changed forever by the events of the film. Hamilton’s character is in many ways the quintessential final girl, embodying almost all of the characteristics shared by the iconic female horror characters that fall under that umbrella.

    Of course, the Terminator franchise shed its horror inspirations for the sequels, but the 1984 original that started it all is unquestionably a film that owes a huge debt to the slasher craze that was going on at the time. It’s a science fiction movie and an action flick, perhaps first and foremost, but underneath it all is an elevated slasher film that plays around with all the tropes and formulas of the sub-genre."
  14. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member

    Queens, New York
    "Although primarily a sci-fi action film, The Terminator is shot through with a wide streak of horror. Every frame of Cameron’s movie, it seems, is haunted by the dream which spawned it.

    Cameron’s premise is very much a twist on the slasher genre established by such films as Halloween and Friday The 13th, and the director had those genre touchstones in mind when he conceived The Terminator's plot.

    "My contemporaries were all doing slasher-horror movies," Cameron once said. "John Carpenter was the guy I idolised the most. He made Halloween for $30,000 or something. That was everyone's break-in dream, to do a stylish horror movie. It was a very slasher film type image. And it really was the launching pad for the story."

    To the slasher genre, Cameron added a sci-fi twist: The Terminator isn’t a supernatural entity or a maniac in a mask, but a cyborg sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor - an ordinary young woman who will one day give birth to the leader of a human resistance movement.

    Like Alien five years earlier, The Terminator is unusual in that it gives the killer top billing. Looking back at the finished film, it’s not hard to see why Cameron did this: like the robot in the director’s dream, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg is a singular creation. Slow-moving, unfeasibly strong and seemingly indestructible, he’s nothing less than a modern incarnation of the grim reaper, and there’s scarcely a character in the film who isn’t killed or injured by the T-800 in his pursuit of Linda Hamilton’s protagonist - criminal psychologist Dr Silberman (Earl Boen), a character akin to the know-it-all psychiatrist from the final act of Psycho, is one notable exception.

    In the rush of action Cameron flings at the screen, it’s easy to overlook the nightmarish nature of Sarah Connor’s situation. Initially an unassuming waitress at a Los Angeles diner, she finds her life torn apart in the space of a single evening. While still at work, she learns that a murderer is going around the city, killing everyone in the phone book who goes by the name of Sarah Connor. A few hours later, she realises that she’s next on the list.

    It’s worth pausing here to note how powerfully Cameron captures downtown Los Angeles circa 1984. Coldly lit and seemingly on the path to ruin, it’s a tough, beaten-down place, full of world-weary cops and homeless people bewildered by bright lights. The Terminator - and Kyle Reese, sent into the past by resistance leader John Connor to protect his mother - quietly drift through this world of seedy clubs and tatty flop houses; the city’s malaise is such that they’re both able to get away with all sorts of crimes without anybody noticing. While the Terminator goes around killing everyone he meets (starting with a gang of punks, from whom he gets his immediately-recognisable get-up), Kyle Reese steals a homeless man’s trousers, a pair of Nike trainers from a department store, and even a shotgun from a careless policeman’s squad car.

    The opening act shrewdly leaves Kyle and the T-800‘s agendas unclear. Cinemagoers in 1984 who’d read or seen little of The Terminator before its release would have probably been unaware of who these characters were or what they were up to. Like Sarah Connor, who sees Reese lurking on a street corner and shudders at the sight of him, we could assume that he’s just as much of a maniac as the T-800 is.

    The Terminator, meanwhile, is going around slaughtering people in true slasher movie style. Sarah’s Walkman-obsessed flatmate Ginger (Bess Motta) is a murder victim straight out of a Friday The 13th sequel; distracted by her music and her randy boyfriend, she doesn’t even realise the T-800 is in her apartment until it’s far, far too late. (Interestingly, Cameron has fun subverting the slasher movie template later, where the Final Girl gets to sleep with the leading man and lives to tell the tale.)

    It’s only at the (superbly staged) confrontation in a night club called Tech Noir that the truth is revealed. Kyle prevents the Terminator from executing Sarah Connor with a superbly timed shotgun blast or five, thus revealing the T-800‘s indestructible nature and providing the first indication of his own true agenda: he's Sarah's protector.

    That nightclub shootout marks the start of a relentless pursuit through Los Angeles which barely lets up until the closing credits. Cameron shows us time and again that the police are helpless in the face of the Terminator’s armoured chassis and accuracy with a machine gun. This demolition of a societal pillar like the police is a common tactic among horror writers and filmmakers, and it’s something Cameron would do again in Terminator 2, where its killer machine disguises itself as an ordinary Californian beat cop.

    Fittingly for a film inspired by a nightmare, The Terminator uses dream sequences to expand the scope of its story. The ambition Cameron shows, given his low budget, is worth noting here. The director could have saved money by only mentioning the future war in conversation, but instead, he goes a step further and shows us what it actually looks like.

    Both Kyle and Sarah have nightmares about the future, where an artificially intelligent computer called Skynet has taken over and humans are hunted down by machines. These sequences do much to heighten the film’s oppressive tone, and also establish what the stakes are for Kyle and Sarah: if the latter’s killed, then the fate of humanity is sealed.

    In The Terminator’s final third, Cameron wrings every last ounce of tension from his merciless cyborg. Denuded of its fleshy disguise, the T-800 reveals itself as a gleaming metal skeleton, brilliantly designed by Stan Winston. Even some admittedly dated stop-motion effects don’t detract from the power of this image - by now, the T-800 really does look like the grim reaper, albeit without the hooded cloak or the scythe.

    Even when its abdomen is blown to smithereens by Kyle Reese’s improvised explosive - a detonation powerful enough to snuff out poor, long-suffering Kyle in the process - the Terminator carries on trying to get to Sarah, and it’s here, as the T-800 drags the remains across a factory floor towards its wounded target, that the film catches up with the nightmare image which inspired it.

    The Terminator might be an action movie first and foremost, and also a compellingly-told science fiction story about a future where machines have turned the tables on their masters, but it’s also a horror story at its heart. The evidence is all there in that sequence of the Terminator clawing its way towards a helpless woman: the T-800's lack of compassion, pity and pain; a will to ceaselessly carry out its mission, no matter how much it’s damaged. The Terminator is, as Cameron once put it, "death rendered in steel."

    Through a mixture of quick wit, determination and luck, Sarah becomes the only character to look the Terminator in its crimson eyes and survive. But even here, the nightmare isn’t over: the human race will have its saviour, but Judgment Day still looms on the horizon."
    sunspot42 likes this.
  15. Mirrorblade.1

    Mirrorblade.1 Forum Resident

    I would like to see a couple t-1000s maybe there they are on our side this time?
  16. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    The Terminator movies would not have been as successful as they were if they were merely slasher movies with a touch of sci-fi. It is the science fiction concepts that captured the audiences, not the slasher motif. I reject your assertions and substitute my own! ;)
  17. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member

    Queens, New York
    The original movie is a fusion of sci-fi, love story, and slasher elements. It is a very unique movie. People seem to be conflating the first two movies as one movie. The second movie is a different genre.
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  18. eric777

    eric777 Rock Star

    I think the first two are fantastic. I didn't like the rest of them. They should have stopped with T2.

    I would agree that the first one does have elements of slasher films within it but I don't think keeping that would have helped the films any. The horror elements served to add mystery and suspense to the film. After the first film was made there was little need to keep them. We already knew what was coming so going into a more action oriented direction was the right choice. The same could be said for Alien and Alien 2. Alien was definitely a horror film in my opinion ;however, continuing in that direction would have only worked against it.

    What I believe destroyed The Terminator films was that they didn't seem to know when to quit. The franchise became a parody of itself.
  19. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    Point taken - but I wasn't "conflating the first two movies as one movie". I never considered the "slasher elements" until this thread, and certainly have trouble ceding the point that they are the dominant element.
  20. Deuce66

    Deuce66 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    straight from Arnold

    Speaking with Business Insider, Arnie said: “I think James Cameron and Tim Miller came up with a concept where they can continue on with the T-800 but make a whole new movie.

    “What they are doing now with this one is basically to just take a few very basic characters, like Linda Hamilton’s character and my character, and dismiss everything else.

    “Just move away from all these rules of the timeline and other characters.”

    Last month the 70-year-old revealed how Terminator 6 will "completely ignore" other movies in the franchise.
  21. vinyl_puppy

    vinyl_puppy Forum Resident

    Santa Rosa, CA
    A couple of things to equate the Terminator to the horror genre. The demonic red eyes. After Reese has blown the endoskeleton in half and it revives itself in its last attempt to get Sarah, there's a quick shot of its spinal column and some cables/tubing dragging behind it, equating it to entrails dragging behind a half eaten zombie torso. All it would need to complete the horror visuals would be for some hydraulic fluid to be streaming out of the tubes like blood pouring out of the entrails.

    Glad to see that Cameron is back to influence a future Terminator movie although it does seem as if Hollywood is trying to milk it... just a little.
    sunspot42 and Captain Leo like this.
  22. nojmplease

    nojmplease Forum Resident

    The time to end the franchise was 25 years ago after T2. Everything since has been unnecessary, derivative shlock.
    beat_truck likes this.
  23. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    Come on. Even HAL 9000 had a red eye. It's a sci-fi staple.

    Oh boy. "Half eaten zombie torso". You have an imagination.
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  24. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member

    Queens, New York
    The Terminator becomes more and more zombie-like throughout the film, and essentially, that's what the Terminator is: A thoughtless, remorseless thing lacking in feelings with only one goal in mind. Replace "eating brains" with "killing Sarah Connor."

    Look how the Terminator goes from human in appearence to increasingly horrific in the film:

    Then, his hair and eyebrows are burned off and his skin taxes on a waxy appearance:

    Then he gets his arm and eye shot and he becomes even less human, and we see his "surgery" in graphic, gory detail:

    We see the Terminator's flesh is starting to rot, and that he's reeking, drawing flies:
  25. Captain Leo

    Captain Leo Well-Known Member

    Queens, New York
    He gets run over by a Truck, his leg mangled, resulting in a Zombie-esque stagger, and his injuries also give him an even more creepy appearance:

    He gets his flesh burned off, a living, staggering skeleton relentlessly pursuing after our heroes

    He finally comes face to face with our heroes. Tell me this isn't a nightmarish image:

    Finally, he gets blown in half:
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