Director: James Cameron.
As a child of the 80's, seeing films like The Terminator, Predator and Aliens well below the legal age was the norm. If you read my origin story you'll read that I was brought up on these movies and it was my favourite genre to watch growing. However, being of the illegal age required to watch them, getting to see them on the big screen was different, if not impossible. So when I saw my local cinema announce a one night only showing of Terminator 2, I instantly booked my tickets.
Cameron was so right to say in his re-released teaser, that so many fans, like myself, never got the chance to see the film in it's epic glory of being on the big screen and StudioCanal and Cameron had gone all out, not only remastering the film up to 4K HD, but converted to 3D for it to be seen like never before. And this time round, unlike the first film, Cameron is not only at the helm but is also the producer himself allowing him more freedom to make the story he originally wanted.
It was the most expensive film at it's time with an estimated budget of $102million and is still one of the top grossing action movies of all time, holding the record of highest-gross at an opening weekend for 12yrs and was the first film to break the $300million international box office record.
The first film, The Terminator was supposed to have two terminators and two resistance soldiers venture to 1984, but due to budget and lack of technology the script was rewritten in what it is today. But once Cameron had completed The Abyss in 1989, he knew the time was right now having the technology and once Schwarzenegger convinced Mario Kassar to buy the rights, Cameron set to work.
This time, the time being set at 1994, the villain from the first film is now the hero, protecting the young John Connor from another assassination attempt by a more advanced terminator, the T-1000. A liquid metal robot that has a number of abilities which is shown off during the film. I remember watching this for the first time and being on the edge of my seat during their first encounter wondering what the outcome would be. The film does great in exploring these possibilities as the two war machines continue to fight and out smart each other with Connor dangling in between.
it's impossible to compare the two films because, whilst being paired together with continuing themes, there's a twist and change of heart. The first being considered a horror borderline slasher flick whereas T2 certainly steers closer to high-octane action and has more emotional development. Even in terms of storyline, it certainly isn't the same formula as the first, being an exploration of what would happen when two Terminators go head to head instead of Terminators versus humans. It's a great development in the story which opened up so many possibilities, turning the would-be cybernetic killer into a father figure and it's done so without it being corny or stupid. It's incredibly serious.
Some things to note, is the overall action being increased, though there's less of a body count believe it or not. It still received the 18cert at its time of released but there's a lot more here than just violence and killing. There's a moral aspect here as we revisit and develop the threat of artificial intelligence. Seeing what we are capable of today could make this a prophesy. Of course, this time round Cameron would have been able to get filming permits instead of stealing the shots when they could get away with it, thus resulting in more daylight sequences. The mall and sewer drain sequence was incredible, not to mention the stunt work that went into this film. Pilot Charles A. Tamburro did actually fly the helicopter under the overpass, much to the filmcrew's protest leaving Cameron to capture the stunt himself.
Also, Fiedel's theme stays very much the same, but it's less of the horror. That looming hum is still there whenever the T-1000 is getting close but this score is more intense, action orientated and dramatic in parts. Especially during both truck chases, the police shoot out and the escape at the Cyberdyne building. What's great about this score is that each part is so easily recognisable even though being fairly different from track to track.
Schwarzenegger's performance does waiver in parts, saying things that you wouldn't expect from a emotionless robot, but that might have something to do with the film not being shot in chronological order. I still can't believe a T-800 being polite or even apologising, but it's ignored as he does bring the terminator to life. I can actually see the robot beneath the Arnie skin, looking past Schwarzenegger and envising the entire film as the endoskeleton version of the T-800.
It's not totally perfect with plenty of inaccuracies and little goofs but these are gladly overlooked due to enjoying the film too much. Or some of it could be explained by the additional scenes that only make the director's cut and wasn't present in this remastered version. As much as I love the extended edition, the scenes do add another level of humour that probably distracts away from the core tone of the film and isn't wholly necessary, hence being cut. They also display some great camera trickery, especially the scene where John and Sarah reset the T-800's CPU, a scene which had to use both Linda and her twin sister, Leslie in the same shot. Another cut scene that appears on the director's cut is the T-800 learning to smile and we see that same smile performed, not perfected but improved in Terminator Genisys. This definitely added so much more to the T-800's character development, giving him much more than just being the cold-blooded killer.
The new T-1000 was superbly played by Robert Patrick, who was casted after Cameron saw his performance in Die Hard 2. His sleeker design and fluidity really evokes a more sinister feel than the T-800. Besides the special effects, it's his non-blinking performance, being able to run faster than a human effortlessly and his inspiration to stalk his prey like a shark would.
Linda Hamilton/Sarah Connor transformed also. Almost being an entirely different character from the first. Sarah Connor has done a lot in the ten years but for Linda, she lost 12lbs and committed to a gruelling fitness and weapon training program. She no longer the meek young woman but is now a hardened warrior, precise and highly resourceful. She's certainly a lot more vicious but equally emotional. Her performance was so good Cameron campaigned for an Oscar nomination for her.
As for John Connor, Edward Furlong was cast, being his acting debut. Ultimately, it was his attitude that got him the part, something all the previous candidates lacked. As debuts go, he was brilliant and myself being a couple of year younger than Furlong, he was someone I could relate to. A child thrown into a dangerous world, thinking we can handle it but there's those moments that remind us, he's only a child. Because filming spanned quite some time, Furlong actually aged during production which resulted in a lot of his parts being redubbed in post production, but as with most action films, there's hardly anything of the original sound, with around 70% of the total dialogue being redubbed.
As for the special effects, ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) increased their team six fold to create the fluid T-1000 whilst Stan Winston's team recreated what is considered by many Nuclear test labs, the most realistic nuclear explosion depicted on film; not forgetting their famous animatronics of the futuristic war scene was some of the finest special effects ever seen. It was no surprise that the film won four Oscars which included Best Sound, Best Sound Effects, Best Visual Effects and Best Make up.
Strangely though, this film had heart compared to the first Terminator. I remember wanting to cheer when the T-800 reroute power and revived himself but then surprisingly felt sad at the end. Had the terminator finally learnt what it was to be human. I wanted him to stay and live happily ever after. I think this was where the follow two sequels failed, lacking that connection, but was gladly revisited in Terminator Genisys.
Overall, the film remains to be one of the greatest action movies ever made and will forever be a personal favourite of mine. This re-release was also the best 4K conversion I have ever seen, however I don't think the 3D was totally necessary. It still looked amazing.
Read More: The Terminator
Running Time: 10
The Cast: 10
Job Description: 10
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for being a perfect sequel, much like what Aliens is to Alien. Both Equally great films but different in their own right.