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Terminator: Everything You Need to Know Before Watching Terminator Genisys

Matthew Parkinson | 30 Jun 2015 15:00
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Terminator 2: Judgment Day


Directed by James Cameron. Produced by James Cameron. Written by James Cameron and William Wisher. Release date: July 3, 1991.


The Terminator was a surprisingly moderately budgeted movie, and it made a good chunk of change, so a few years later it was given a sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. A much higher budget was used, and it shows. Judgment Day was a film that saw brand new achievements in the field of CGI, and also took the "bigger is better" approach to filmmaking to heart, giving us essentially the same movie as the first one, but with much bigger action scenes.

The Characters

The Terminator/T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger): A robot sent back in time in the first film, disguised as a human, to assassinate Sarah Connor. Reprogrammed and sent back this time to protect her and her son, John.

Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton): John's mother. After surviving the events of The Terminator, she finds herself confined to a mental institution, under the care of Dr. Silberman.

John Connor (Edward Furlong): The protagonist. The son of Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese. Now ten years old, he will eventually grow up to become the leader of the Resistance.

T-1000 (Robert Patrick): The villain. A shapeshifting Terminator who has been sent back in time to assassinate John Connor.

Dr. Peter Silberman (Earl Boen): A psychologist monitoring Sarah Connor. Earlier talked with Kyle Reese about the events of the "future," which he thinks are delusions.

Miles Dyson (Joe Morton): A computer engineer who creates a computer system that is the precursor to Skynet.

The Plot

Set in 1995, a ten-year-old John Connor lives with foster parents as his mother, Sarah, has been incarcerated in a mental asylum. Two Terminators from the future have been sent back in time; one has been sent to kill him, while the other is here to protect him from the first one. The villain is a T-1000, a shapeshifting Terminator, while the good Terminator is the same T-800 that acted as the villain in the first film.

They both get to John at a mall, and engage in a fight over him. The T-800 and John eventually escape. John, now believing everything his mother told him about the future, orders the T-800 to help break her out of the mental institute. When they arrive, the T-1000 is already there. Another shootout occurs, and once again the heroes manage to escape - this time with Sarah with them.

The trio heads toward the home of Miles Dyson, a computer engineer working on a system that will become the precursor to Skynet. Sarah wants to kill him and destroy his entire system in order to prevent Judgment Day from happening - his research and programming being reverse engineered from the remains of the T-800 from the first film. The system, located at his company's HQ is their new target. They head here, grab the Terminator parts, and then blow it up. Miles dies. The T-1000 arrives and begins chasing our trio again, heading toward a steel mill. The T-800 is able to throw the T-1000 into a vat of molten metal, destroying it for good. He then throws the old T-800's arm in, followed by getting Sarah to lower him into the same vat, so as to not be reverse engineered like his previous incarnation. Terminators cannot self-terminate.

Is It Any Good?

It's probably an unpopular opinion to claim that I don't like Judgment Day as much as The Terminator, but it's a slight step down for me, if only because of Edward Furlong. It's not usually a good idea to have children lead movies, but Furlong is so bad he knocks the film down a couple of points. It is bigger, more action-packed, and has CGI that still holds up today - how many '90s films can you say do that? - but Furlong is so annoying that it's a slightly less enjoyable watch. There's also a "been there, done that" factor to it; it doesn't change a whole lot up, meaning the freshness of the original isn't quite as strong this time around. But it's still a ton of fun and one of the better sci-fi actioners out there.

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