So I watched Terminator 2: Judgement Day…
It’s a difficult task for a sequel to be better than the original; but when a sequel surpasses the original and becomes more iconic, that’s when you know you’re dealing with something special. When you hear the word ‘terminator’, your mind immediately goes to T2 and why wouldn’t it? This movie took so many bold leaps and improves on the original in so many ways that it isn’t just better than the original, it takes the place of the original in our minds.
Okay, basic plot: It turns out that Skynet didn’t just send one Terminator back to the past but two. The second, the highly advanced T-1000, is sent to kill John Connor as a child. But once again the human resistance manages to send back a protector and this time it isn’t some weepy soldier; this time they send back a freaking Terminator.
There’s so many amazing things in this movie but I think the switch of Schwarzenegger from villain to hero is one of the best. I loved the terminator in the first movie, so much so, that I was actually kind of rooting for him to win. Now they bring him back, this same killing machine from before and put him on our side. What a masterstroke of writing! I wish I had been older in 1991 so I could have gone to the cinema and experienced that.
So seeing as Schwarzenegger’s T-800 was such a relentless badass, they really had to raise the bar for the new villain. The T-1000’s is the porsche of killing machines. He’s able to shapeshift, mold his limbs into stabbing weapons and basically survive any attack. Like the T-800 in the first movie, he doesn’t have much dialogue but he’s just as awesome, daunting and ruthless as the original terminator. He makes our heroes earn their victories and that’s the point of a good villain, isn’t it?
I obviously can’t talk about the T-1000 without mentioning the groundbreaking special effects that created him.There were many reasons for the 7 year gap between The Terminator and T2, one of these being that the technology needed to create the ‘liquid metal’ appearance of the T-1000 didn’t exist yet. We all think of Jurassic Park when we think of movies that advanced the art of CGI and special effects but we also need to put T2 on that list. Both movies had Industrial Light and Magic creating the CGI and Stan Winston working on practical effects and those effects hold up to this day. In fact, some of those effects are superior to what movies are offering today.
My favourite scene in this movie is when the T-1000 melts into the floor of the mental hospital Sarah is in. He then rises up, still covered with the black and white checkered pattern of the tiled floor and then shapeshifts into the security guard he’s about to kill. I still remember the first time I watched this movie and how that scene blew me away. Not just the effects – which are extraordinary – but also the vision and creation of that set piece are amazing. Seeing the T-1000 rising up like that, it’s such great film-making – everything in that scene works. You really have to tip your hat to James Cameron for what he did with this movie, not only visually, but the story is also much improved.
Linda Hamilton returns as Sarah Connor and the transformation she conveys in her character is phenomenal. She’s no longer a crying, damsel-in-distress; she’s hardened, resourceful and a real fighter. She knows that she (along with her son) carries the weight of the future on her shoulders and she acts like it. Speaking of her son, Edward Furlong does such an amazing job as John Connor. He captures the pain, frustration and, most importantly, the strength that would come with having someone like Sarah Connor as your mother.
This is one of my favourite movies and one of the best movies ever made. It’s got great sci-fi, great action and Schwarzenegger and Furlong have great on-screen chemistry that humanises the terminator and makes him more accessible as a character without diminishing the steeliness and grit that made us originally fall in love with him. 9/10