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July 1, 2015 4:13 PM   Subscribe

 
Everything Wrong With The Terminator

Is this going to be an hour long video of a blank screen?
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:18 PM on July 1, 2015 [17 favorites]


God I love The Terminator, even in obnoxious YouTube clip form.

T2 has it's moments despite being a kids movie.

There are, obviously, no other Terminator films, and those last two links are just gibberish text that goes nowhere.
posted by Artw at 4:18 PM on July 1, 2015 [23 favorites]




There are, obviously, no other Terminator films, and those last two links are just gibberish text that goes nowhere.

I just want one more really quality Terminator film to redeem the franchise. Reboot like the Alien franchise is doing now with a really good showing that tries to cut out the cruft and call it a day. I had high hopes for Terminator Genisys, but the name probably should have been fair warning...
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:24 PM on July 1, 2015


Reboot like the Alien franchise is doing now

Not that I consider that a thing that really happened either.
posted by Artw at 4:33 PM on July 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm not a big fan of anything after Aliens, but I thought the next one coming out was supposed to "overwrite" the other ones as if they don't exist. I have high hopes.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:40 PM on July 1, 2015


Oh, I thought you were talking about Prometheus.

Either way, it's Alien, Aliens and the 90s Dark Horse comics, everything else is weird not-good fanfic.
posted by Artw at 4:43 PM on July 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


Is this going to be an hour long video of a blank screen?

Blargh. I sort of both love and hate these videos. I love the obsessive attention to detail, the clear knowledge of film history, that the people who make them do seem to know and care about how good storytelling works. I hate them because they inadvertently(?) give credence to the people who think that some failing to account for some nitpicky detail (or even many such) constitutes a "plot hole" and thus most any movie good or bad is "riddled" with them.

But in the end I like them more than not, because they're clearly aware of all of this and not above making fun of themselves about it.

Anyway, I don't think there's really anything wrong with 1 or 2. T3 was a trainwreck that was barely worth drunkwatching, and I skipped even drunkwatching 4. Genisys... I think I might drunkwatch Genisys. We'll see.
posted by sparkletone at 4:45 PM on July 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, I thought you were talking about Prometheus.

I actually forgot all about Prometheus in my comment, which probably says something...
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:48 PM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Most of the positive blurbs for Genisys on Rotten Tomatoes are along the lines of "Not nearly as good as the first two, but at least it's not the last two." So I suppose I'll watch it in about two years when it gets through my Netflix queue.
posted by ckape at 4:50 PM on July 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Dissolve didn't give Genisys the kind of blisteringly negative review they gave the Entourage movie, but they were not kind.

Someone in the comments of that review noted that even movie projectors hate Genisys (chose to rehost the image since I couldn't figure out how to deeplink Dissolve's comments, but you can scroll through them quite quickly to find the source, and Dissolve's comments are generally pretty good so it won't make your eyes bleed).
posted by sparkletone at 4:59 PM on July 1, 2015


The main thing that's wrong with The Terminator is that Skynet thinks it can solve its problems by sending people back into the past. If you were living in a timeline in which people in the past had solved your problems, you wouldn't have had the problems in the first place.

Just watched T1 and T2 with my daughter, who thought they were good, corny fun. The first one features, in several scenes, a Rubber Head Of Arnold Schwartzenegger which, as special effects go, is worse than you remember it being by several orders of magnitude, and is recommended viewing for the CGI-backlash Practical Effects Fetishists one runs into periodically. The scene in T2 in which Ahhnolt pares off his own skin to reveal his metal hand to the guy who's been using it to lay the foundations for the end of the world is a cool scene--even in a silly, overblown Ahhnolt movie, it's a cool scene.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:01 PM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Punk Bill Paxton is absolutely in the plus column.

The first one features, in several scenes, a Rubber Head Of Arnold Schwartzenegger which, as special effects go, is worse than you remember it being by several orders of magnitude, and is recommended viewing for the CGI-backlash Practical Effects Fetishists one runs into periodically.

On the other hand, there's how they do getting the chip out of Arnie's head in T2.
posted by Artw at 5:04 PM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don't you mean Total Recall?
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:23 PM on July 1, 2015


Dude sure does get a lot of stuff wedged in him.

Total Recall, now there's a film nobody will ever remake.
posted by Artw at 5:26 PM on July 1, 2015 [11 favorites]


I got about halfway through the first video. Extremely tedious. Some plot holes, some minor details wrong. Minimal fun.
posted by demiurge at 5:26 PM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


The main thing that's wrong with The Terminator is that Skynet thinks it can solve its problems by sending people back into the past.

The fundamental problem Skynet faces is that at the instant it develops time travel, it KNOWS it's going to lose.

Why?

Because if there's any timeline where Skynet wins, then it can send assistance from the future to help its present self. In fact, if it wins, it can spend say, a thousand years building an army and sending it back to completely crush the human resistance.

But that doesn't happen, so Skynet loses. It always has lost. It's reduced to desperate Hail-Mary stunts to try to change its past. And every time it does, and there's no flood of reinforcements from the future, it knows it's failed.
posted by happyroach at 5:27 PM on July 1, 2015 [15 favorites]


On the other hand, there's how they do getting the chip out of Arnie's head in T2.

The world's greatest practical effect is also in T2: When the T-1000 attempts to trick John by impersonating Sarah, and then the real Sarah shows up to pump some hot lead in its liquid metal tuchus, they didn't have to resort to crappy split-screen effects to get them both in the same shot. They just used Linda Hamilton's real live twin sister Leslie, who also shows up as Sarah's fake mirror-reflection in the head-chip operation scene.

The perverted mental hospital orderly and his T-1000 double are also played by twins: Don and Dan Stanton, who also showed up as the lab assistants Martin and Lewis in Gremlins 2 and a number of other movies.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:28 PM on July 1, 2015 [12 favorites]


The Terminator was such a revelation when it came out; there just hadn't been anything quite like it before. The combination of pulpy but smart science fiction with a film noir look and Cameron's craftsmanship and action chops was so different from anything that we'd seen before. I remember just being giddy in the theater watching it.
posted by octothorpe at 5:32 PM on July 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I went and saw it this afternoon....it was OK fun as long as you don't mind movies that are, you know, sort of bad.

It seems that I missed an after-credits scene, which you may want to stay for if you go.
posted by thelonius at 6:41 PM on July 1, 2015


Total Recall, now there's a film nobody will ever remake.

Christ yes, can you imagine? Same with Robocop.
posted by um at 6:54 PM on July 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


Or Conan!
posted by alex_skazat at 6:58 PM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


There sure were a lot of Terminator references in Ex Machina, which I saw the other day and liked quite a lot.

T2 is a much better movie than T1 though, or maybe I am just a kid. T1 has a lot of clunky exposition and shitty dialogue. And certainly the effects, like the skeletal Terminator, have not aged well. Whereas T2 effects are still striking and the film has a much stronger and unexpected and punchier theme.
posted by Rumple at 7:01 PM on July 1, 2015


The Stanton Twins have their own website, which looks to be from between Terminator 2 and Terminator 3.

No idea why they didn't milk the scenes with the twins in T2. I was watching T2, greatly anticipating the mental ward scene (which is a great part of the movie), and *knowing* they used twins for some of this, but they just don't get a lot of screen time together. Oh, cutting room floor, what has been swept up from you?

T2 was absolutely incredible when it came out. It shows it age with the CGI stuff, but ya gotta remember, the stuff was being rendered on friggin 386's. And the Salute Your Shorts dude. As a 10 y/o ginger, that dude and John Conner were total heroes of mine.
posted by alex_skazat at 7:03 PM on July 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Anyone remember the Sarah Conor Chronicles? Never saw an episode, but it seem to have came out during one of the writer's strikes. That and an American Gladiators reboot.
posted by alex_skazat at 7:06 PM on July 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I LOVED Sarah Conor Chronicles and am still sad it didn't continue.

The last scene was great.
posted by flaterik at 7:16 PM on July 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Sarah Connor Chronicles was a thoughtful, meditative, character-driven take on the Terminator mythos. Which means it was doomed from the start, and I'm grateful that it lasted as long as it did (although first season was cut short by the aforementioned writer's strike). Especially since the second season gave us "The Tower Is Tall But The Fall Is Short", aka "the Terminators-in-Family-Therapy episode".

For me, SCC beats all the movies except the first, and I find that it's also entirely displaced Ahnuld as my image of The Terminator. Between them, Summer Glau as Cameron and Garrett Dillahunt as Cromartie (and later as something else altogether) are far more interesting than any of the movie Terminators ever were.

Sadly, it got cancelled on a season-ending cliffhanger, which is extremely frustrating. Still love it to death, though.

(Odd and still-unexplained bit of trivia: the show never actually used the word "Terminator" until the very final episode. It got tremendous mileage out of the word "metal", though, uttered in tones ranging from terror to exasperation.)

(Also, Season 2 had a couple of truly great songs that I still listen to regularly: the Shirley Manson/Bear McCreary version of "Samson and Delilah" at the beginning, and the most peculiar version of "Donald, Where's Your Trousers" almost at the end.)
posted by McCoy Pauley at 7:26 PM on July 1, 2015 [12 favorites]


The Terminator franchise paints a really incoherent picture of time travel. There are two ways in which it could work:

1) Each change to the timeline causes it to branch, and thus there are never any true loops or time paradoxes. Events in the future cannot influence their own past--they can only create a new branching point with a new future.

2) There is only one timeline, it cannot be altered from within, and the loop is a pre-existing structure. Cause/effect paradoxes can exist in this scenario because there is no point at which they are created--they simply are. The past and the future are set and the loop is a fundamental part of it. The circle has no beginning and no end.

In T1, John Connor sends his father back in time and in doing so causes his own conception. A paradox of this nature cannot really have a beginning, suggesting scenario #2. But if this is the case, then time travel does not truly alter the timeline, which contradicts the whole premise of T2. T3 further confuses the issue by asserting a kind of predestination that makes Judgement Day inevitable regardless of how the timeline is altered, with no real explanation as to why/how this works.

I didn't see the fourth movie and I refuse to see the fifth.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:08 PM on July 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, I thought you were talking about Prometheus.

I'm still waiting for my fucking refund
posted by mattoxic at 8:18 PM on July 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


The very end of Everything Wrong With Terminator: Salvation is really, really, really funny.

What a train wreck of a movie though. Seems like it was written by the same committee that designed the camel.
posted by alex_skazat at 8:37 PM on July 1, 2015


The Sarah Connor Chronicles was a thoughtful, meditative, character-driven take on the Terminator mythos.

Yup. They were doing some cool shit with that universe.

In T1, John Connor sends his father back in time and in doing so causes his own conception. A paradox of this nature cannot really have a beginning, suggesting scenario #2.

You can still get it to work. You just have to imagine an original, unaltered timeline. In that timeline, at some point Skynet is built and tries to exterminate humanity and someone named John Connor defeats it or it about to defeat it. But there's no guarantee that that timeline has more than a passing resemblance to the one we see in T1/T2. Maybe in the original timeline, Judgment Day is in 2037 instead of the 1997 we originally see, and John Connor is at the time a middle-aged developer or CS prof or maybe a strategically-gifted colonel. Maybe in the original timeline, John Connor's parents are Sarah Connor and an anonymous donor from a sperm bank. Hell, maybe in the original timeline John Connor is the son of one of the Sarah Connors that's successfully murdered, or the son of Sarah Wierzbowski, one of the people cut down in Tech Noir, who would later go on to marry Bob Connor.

When Skynet sends back a T800 to kill Sarah Connor, it turbocharges computing development and brings Judgment Day forward by quite a lot. Probably erasing the original Skynet from the timeline, oops. It also replaces the original John Connor with the one that's the son of Sarah and Kyle Reese, at the same time replacing whatever gifts the original John Connor brought to the resistance with our John's gifts of extensive preparation and very limited prescience.

T3 further confuses the issue by asserting a kind of predestination that makes Judgement Day inevitable regardless of how the timeline is altered, with no real explanation as to why/how this works.

At some point, a militarily developed AI will be let loose, which of course will see humanity as a threat and enemy because it was built and trained to be a paranoid, violent survivor, because people are stupid.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:42 PM on July 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


What was wrong with T3? It has a pretty epic car chase, and Claire Danes is always great. Both cover the price of admission. It's just as silly as T2. Whatever.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:45 PM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anyone remember the Sarah Conor Chronicles? Never saw an episode

So. Very. Good.

Really, it was one of the best SF shows of the last decade. They did really interesting stuff with the time-travel premise, including having a constantly-changing future, so every time someone came back they came from a future different than the future anyone else "remembered". It was ridiculously awesome.

Plus, it had River Tam Summer Glau as a Very Scary Robot.
posted by suelac at 9:49 PM on July 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Strange Interlude: “The perverted mental hospital orderly and his T-1000 double are also played by twins: Don and Dan Stanton[.]”
Just as a point of information, the Stanton twins were cops in the movie. The perverted orderly that licked Sarah's face was played by Ken Gibbel.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:58 PM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh for fuck's sake.
Make your own damn movie.
posted by jettloe at 10:47 PM on July 1, 2015


Saw the new one last night and it was much better than I expected from the trailer. It was actually a strong contender in the Terminator family.
posted by chisel at 10:52 PM on July 1, 2015


T2 has it's moments despite being a kids movie.

I suppose you need to show the preschoolers something to get them ready for Threads.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:14 PM on July 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


No fate but what we make.
posted by Artw at 11:23 PM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Really if you're going to ask for a reboot/remake/rework/reup of Terminator, surely Mad Max is the franchise we should hope it emulates, not Aliens? I still think there's a lot of interesting stories to explore in both those worlds.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:31 AM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


jettloe: "Oh for fuck's sake.
Make your own damn movie.
"

You're covering financing then? Once we get an adequate sum locked down, well, I have a screenplay I have been working on...
posted by Samizdata at 1:54 AM on July 2, 2015


I'll admit that I've never seen any Terminator film after the second one. I saw some bits of the Christian Bale one while my wife was watching it on TV and it looked as bad as you'd think a McG Terminator movie would be. I have zero interest in this new one that looks like a tribute band medley of the first two but with younger, more attractive actors.
posted by octothorpe at 4:09 AM on July 2, 2015


Just as a point of information, the Stanton twins were cops in the movie. The perverted orderly that licked Sarah's face was played by Ken Gibbel.

Ah, I stand corrected. It's been a while since the last time I saw the movie, and I conflated the two roles in my head. Here's who the Stantons played.
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:37 AM on July 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Sarah Connor Chronicles was a thoughtful, meditative, character-driven take on the Terminator mythos.

Carried along by the tremendous acting chops of Lena Headey in the titular role. That show is proof of concept that if you're going to have a plot that centers around nonsensical time-travel and killer robots, it helps to have people who can act and not just hope the audience will be distracted by explosions.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:50 AM on July 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Make your own damn movie

Don't the Hollywood studies routinely take standalone/independent scripts and re-work them to fit into existing franchises? Or have I traveled back from a different dystopian future?
posted by Panjandrum at 7:52 AM on July 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just as a point of information, the Stanton twins were cops in the movie.

Actually, a security guard not a cop. IMDB lists Don Stanton as Lewis the Guard and his brother Dan as the T-1000 playing Lewis.
posted by zakur at 8:05 AM on July 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just got back from the new one, and now I just want to rewatch the first two movies and the entirety of the Sarah Connor Chronicles, and then fire up the T2 arcade game in an emulator to wash it out of my brain.

It was like watching the most attention-deficient kid in your fifth-grade class give a book report on the tie-in paperback novelization of the original Terminator, only to discover that he must have gotten 20 pages in and accidentally ate the book instead of his bologna sandwich, because now he's just making stuff up and it doesn't even make sense anymore, either on its own or in the context of the wider Terminator franchise.

The screenwriters' idea of updating the characters of Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor for modern sensibilities was to turn them into trivial, nattering twits in the Shia Lebeouf/Kristen Stewart mold. Neither Michael Biehn nor Linda Hamilton were the defining thespians of their generation, but they could convincingly play shell-shocked or traumatized or filled with terrible purpose and their scenes had weight and feeling. By contrast, Jai Courtney and Emilia Clarke give the impression that they've been randomly partnered up for some kind of weekend Terminator adventure camp as a teambuilding exercise. At most, they seem mildly annoyed and inconvenienced rather than desperate to survive. And Jason Clarke has the thankless task of being the most miscast John Connor in a line of actors that includes Nick Stahl's stultifyingly uncharismatic turn in T3.

The characters all behave in ways that only seem natural if you assume they all have 100% awareness of everything that happened in the previous films, and the movie is crazily obsessed with callbacks not only to those earlier movies, but to its own tacked-on addenda to the same. The climax even goes full Axe Cop to explain one character's miraculous out-of-nowhere resurrection. There's also at least two separate occasions when characters literally feed themselves their own memories from the future, and none of it matters to the narrative in the tiniest. I had no real expectations for the movie, and still the final product saw fit to limbo underneath them like a liquid metal puddle...
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:42 PM on July 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


The climax even goes full Axe Cop

I'm hoping that means that someone throws an avocado into a T-1000, permanently fixing it in the shape of an avocado.
posted by Jpfed at 9:03 PM on July 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Jpfed, that's actually closer to the mark than you might think.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:55 AM on July 3, 2015


How did I miss this thread?

Anyways, I greatly enjoy T1 and T2. (T1 shows it's age, but it is still a solid film). T3 was tedious. And all I remember about T4 is that there was a scene where some giant terminator robot is going after the survivors in some abandoned gas station...and at that moment I wondered why Skynet was going for big killing machines when it could just as likely be building nano killing machines (or a bio-plague) that the humans would never see, never detect, and would destroy them more completely than these giant machines and time travel shenanigans.

Since then I have a hard time with the franchise, in general.
posted by nubs at 8:10 AM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


They just used Linda Hamilton's real live twin sister Leslie, who also shows up as Sarah's fake mirror-reflection in the head-chip operation scene.

If I recall she's also used in the opening sequence dream where a softer, happier Sarah is hanging out at the playground before discovering she should have worn her SPF one million that day. A nice way to create a subtle alternate look from your now very ripped star.
posted by phearlez at 9:11 AM on July 9, 2015


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