Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Favourite Films of ALL TIME! #20Terminator 2: Judgment Day [1991]
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
Directed by: James Cameron

James Cameron has a bit of a reputation of outdoing original films by giving them much stronger sequels. The first time he did this was with Aliens [sequel to Ridley Scott's Alien], which wasn't an easy thing to do since Ridley's first Alien was such a classic. James however managed to take the sequel to a new and much bigger place, and that's exactly what he did with T2 as well.

T2 picks up a few years after the original Terminator film left off, with Sarah Connor [survivor from film 1] being locked in a mental ward due to her crazy rants about being stalked by a cyborg from the future. Her teenage son, John Connor, is living with foster parents. Arnold reprises his classic role as The Terminator in T2, however this time, he isn't playin
g the bad guy, he's the good guy. He's been sent back again in time to protect John from a different Cyborg, who's job is to finish the job 'bad guy Terminator Arnie' failed to do in movie 1.
In film 1, Sarah Connor was the target because her future son was going to lead a resistance against the future Cyborgs who will declare war against mankind. Since she escaped first time around, she was then free to have her son, which now means John is the new target for assassination. Once all of this is revealed to John after he escapes near death at the hands of the new terminator [who's metallic form can melt into shape changing liquid metal], he sets out on a mission with the Arnie-bot to free his Mother from the mental institut
ion she's being held captive in so they can fight against the newly upgraded assassin cyborg that is out to kill John.
To say T2 is an upgrade from the first film is putting it lightly, the scope is 10 times bigger, the story is more developed and the biggest change of all comes in the form of a newly buff and tough, Sarah Connor, who is transformed from a puffy haired screaming woman in the 80's to a muscle punching, shotgun shooting warrior of the 90's. The change Linda went through to become the new Sarah is incredible, and not only does she look the part, but her acting in the role is incredible. Many critics and movie fans over the years have labeled Linda's performance in T2 as one/if not the best female action role in movie history, only ever being close to Ripley in the Alien franchise. In fact, James knows how to create really powerful female leads in his stories [Aliens, Avatar].

At the time, T2 was also showcasing brand new special effects, mostly due to the liquid metal effects of the evil cyborg. They still hold up today, and there are some really iconic moments in T2 that showcase how far they pushed the visual effects back then.
With so much action and sparkling effects on show, James still manages to put together a very moving and powerful story. Whether it's Sarah Connor dealing with having to work alongside the cyborg who tried to kill her years earlier, or the Father-like relationship John Connor develops with the Arnie-bot, there are some great character moments within the story that are very moving.
The impending apocalypse within the story gives the movie a strong atmosphere as well, one scene in particular is quite eerie and used to really creep me out as a kid. It revolves around a dream Sarah Connor has, where she watches children play in an outdoor playground just as an atomic explosion hits the area and her silent muted screams of danger are met with a volcanic explosion of fire and destruction as the city is destroyed and Sarah's body is burnt away to the bone. It's a strong image, and you can't help but wonder "what if?" when thinking about this sort of thing happening in our world today.

Terminator 1 is a favourite of many, but to be honest, it's never been a film that has blown me away. For me, T2 is where the series really does something special. There's a great nostalgia attached to T2 because i've been watching it since i was a kid, i even remember being 7 years old and seeing it at the cinemas. It's one of my earliest memories of going to the movies for the first few times in my life. The classic film score is also one of my favourites.

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