Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Bigger, Bolder, Beautiful.
You know why I think most sequels suck? Usually, the first film is such a hit that they don’t know how to raise the bar, the story has already been told and done…I mean, what else can happen? Heck, they killed off the Terminator in The Terminator, yet, Arnold was set to return in a sequel? I’m just kidding, I’ve seen this film before, probably over a hundred times because it is amongst the best films ever made. Ever. James Cameron took an already good story, took a monumental risk, and decided to pretty much change everything for the sequel while still retaining the spirit of the original – and that’s what you get for Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Yeah, the Terminator is dead, but you’re forgetting one thing…there’s still a war set to go off sometime in the near future. The Wizard of Oz is still going to grant machines everywhere a brain, and they are going to go haywire on the human race as both strive to survive. So…as long as the world is safe…it isn’t, because the Connors must look out for more machines as they try to kill John Connor. Wouldn’t you know it, two terminators come out of nowhere. The first is a T-101 model (Arnold S), the other is a T-1000 machine made out of liquid metal. The T-1000 can transform into any living person, and when struck can quickly heal itself back to perfection…it’s pretty much impossible to kill. The T-101, on the other hand, is the one that must protect John Connor. It’s a battle of two Terminators in this epic and revolutionary flick.
Talk about a bold move. Hey guys, let’s take a terrifying murder-machine that went on a full-out killing rampage before, bring him back, and make him a father figure to the person he was originally trying to kill. Say what? Some of the best sequels out there take the original concept and change most of it save for the spirit of the thing – kill John Connor. Who says Arnold has to be the one to do it? The change was a big one, but that’s not what people like most about this film, though I’m sure that’s one of the reasons. I think what most people like about this film is 1.) The humor; and 2.)The importance/substance to the story.
The humor is great. It proved that the film can still be an R-rated action flick with plenty of violence, yet still make you laugh at the same time. Arnold Schwarzenegger has an amazing soul, and does perfectly in this type of role. He’s a tough guy, but still a big softy. His chemistry with Edward Furlong is legendary and reminiscent of a father figure situation…heck, it’s even mentioned in the film as such. The two of them are like two peas in a pod and everything they say to each other is either hilarious or meaningful. These two are a huge reason as to why this film is generally thought of as the best in the franchise.
The importance of the film is so loud in comparison to the first. The first film just had a lot of gun blasts, deaths, and whatnot. What real reason did you have to watch it other than to see random violence? Not much, honestly, but when you look at Terminator 2 you start to realize how big this series is. The guy is a terminator, but John Connor teaches this machine the value of human life, importance of family and teamwork, love, and honestly…how to just have fun. All work and no play makes the Terminator a dull boy. That not only made us respect and love the franchise, but also showed us that this young kid has leadership potential somewhere deep down.
This film had a louder-than-life theme involving human nature. As the Terminator put it, we are doomed to destroy ourselves. He says this as two young boys chase each other with toy guns. Now, I’m not one to believe in the media being a major role model in making kids violent, but this scene was incredibly powerful and moving, and clearly what the film was all about. John is a trouble-maker and hates his foster-folks, but he still has this moral code that he lives by, he just doesn’t really know it yet. He teaches the Terminator not to kill, but that doesn’t stop the violence. The movie would be terrible with no violence. So that theme may feel a bit confusing, because you can also get the message that violence solves all things…so there’s that.
What shouldn’t be missed is the fact that this is a cinematic masterpiece. Not only did it improve significantly with the graphics, but each scene looks beautiful. I’m talking screenshots used in magazines in order to help sell TV’s good. But yeah, the graphics were definitely improved as well. What looked like an assortment of Claymation or animatronic/stop motion graphics in the first was a full-fledged upgrade to CGI. Now, Arnold’s half skeleton face looks incredible, thank jeebus.
The only thing I’d really complain about here is the general appearance of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator. The first one was a few years prior, and Arnold wasn’t that well-known at the time. In a way, he looked weird, sounded weird, was so buff that you would believe he is a robot underneath…but now he’s better known. He looks a little different, and you’re not as convinced he is a robot because he feels more human…but maybe that’s the point. Still though, there’s something off about the T-101 model apparently aging. However, my apprehension quickly subsides once the movie begins and proves itself 10-fold.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a great example of perfection in action films. You got action, humor when appropriate, love, loss, and most importantly – soul.