In 1984 James Cameron created what is arguably one of the best science fiction films of all-time. THE TERMINATOR, while shot on an extremely low-budget, helped further the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as a very young Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn. This tension fueled little movie also helped create an impressive futuristic mythology about the fictional Skynet and a very terrifying future. With the first films success there was bound to be a sequel, but it wasn’t until 1991 that Cameron, Schwarzenegger as well as a toughened Hamilton returned for the near-masterpiece T2: JUDGEMENT DAY. This classic film was a perfect example of groundbreaking special effects as well as a terrific script that saw the growth of two iconic characters in film history. With Schwarzenegger’s Model-101 and Hamilton’s ass-kicking update on Sarah Connor, this sequel gave a glimpse as to what could be done with this blooming franchise.
Of course since the first two films we have seen a couple of sequels as well as a TV show but more on that later. Let’s talk about the idea of another remake heading our way. Yes, Sarah Connor, John Connor and the robotic T-800 (possibly) are coming back to re-imagine the first film. Word also has it that the role of Kyle Reese originally played by Biehn will be a part of what is reported as a possibly trilogy, as well as an upcoming series. This tells us one thing for sure, that the upcoming projects won’t necessarily follow the same course that the original film had done. So how much of this small little world will be opened up and how many time lines will be revealed? The plot of the original film of course revolves around time travel, so it makes perfect sense that if you are going to revisit this wealth of cinema history that you could take advantage of a rich palate already introduced.
With a very secretive script being worked on by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier, I have a sneaking suspicion that the two may make for an interesting pair. Kalogridis is no stranger to Cameron’s world having executive produced AVATAR which could be a blessing - It would be a plus to have Cameron’s stamp of approval on this project. As for Lussier, the man has a talent for working with low-budget features and I personally loved both DRIVE ANGRY as well as MY BLOODY VALENTINE – which was a terrific remake of the 1981 slasher flick. The two may seem like an odd pairing at first but with the history of the massive movie-making machine mixed with the know-how of a low-budget filmmaker with a flair for 3D, there could be something to this. Is it a risk? Yes. Have there already been rumored issues with the script? Yes. However with pre-production beginning things seem to be moving along so maybe the issues have all been ironed out.
News recently reported that the coveted role of Sarah Connor has officially been cast. Connor was originally played by Linda Hamilton as well as Lena Headey in the acclaimed but short-lived 2008 television series “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” The actress who is about to face a whole slew of on-line heat is none other than “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke. Now to be honest, I wasn’t completely sold on this casting news as she doesn’t seem to have the command that both Headey and Hamilton did. That said, let’s not forget that in TERMINATOR, Linda Hamilton was a weak and frightened victim who took every chance she could to run and scream. It wasn’t until the triumphant sequel that she became the cinematic hero that we all know and love. If they are staying true to Sarah’s beginnings, Ms. Clarke may be a good choice and if the reboot is successful hopefully she will grow with it and prove to be an inspired casting choice. Plus, she is exceedingly hot so I’m good with that.
Previously I mentioned the two sequels which failed to reignite this once powerhouse franchise. While the 2003 Jonathan Mostow directed TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES attempted to expand the mythology, it ultimately felt like a pale comparison to the previous films. And then came the 2009 McG directed TERMINATOR SALVATION which was only a brief glimpse of the greatness that came before it. The two films have their fans and clearly didn’t destroy the franchise, yet it is more than a little frustrating seeing the promise of what Cameron started simply become a couple of wannabe summer blockbusters. For some fans, there was a glimmer of hope in the cancelled too soon “Sarah Connor Chronicles.” Should this be the end of TERMINATOR? With a wealth of story and ideas, I say let’s give this another try.
Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but bring on TERMINATOR: GENESIS! With an expected release date of July 1, 2015 I’m ready for some time-traveling Terminator excitement. The promise of a new series and a film trilogy all connecting might very well help rebuild what became a slightly faulty machine. With the recent casting of Emilia Clarke as well as the previously announced Jason Clarke who will be portraying John Connor, I’m curious to see how far into the mythology this series may go.
This could possibly be a disaster waiting to happen, or an evil plot hatched by Skynet itself to ruin the expectations of loyal fans. Yet unlike another upcoming remake ( that ROBOCOP flick) they could take an opportunity to explore a larger history and make something truly remarkable. To get fully on-board I’d like to see at the very least a teaser trailer, but I’m curious – dare I say excited - to see how exactly Schwarzenegger will return and how often he will utter the line, “Come with me if you want to live.”