With the release of Terminator: Genisys (and it’s subsequent disappointment of most fans) it feels like everyone is remembering better days of when Terminator movies were undeniable classics. Whether you favour The Terminator or T2, there’s no arguing that both are extraordinary pieces of film with some iconic scenes. I thought I’d share my favourite scene from The Terminator franchise, in fact, this scene ranks as one of my favourite from any film I’ve seen.
It is of course, The Floor Melting scene in T2.
Now T2 is studded with amazing special effects and visionary pieces of action but this scene is the best of the lot. The T1000, in an attempt to apprehend John Connor, infiltrates the mental institution where John’s mother – Sarah – is being kept. In the scenes leading up to this, we’ve seen not only the shape-shifting capabilities of the T1000 but also its extreme intelligence and resourcefulness and this scene combines all three of those factors beautifully.
The T1000 is speaking to the nurse at reception as a group of police officers approach the two, fresh from interrogating Sarah Connor. The camera shifts to the approaching officers and then back to the place where the T1000 had been standing but he’s gone. This is the beginning of what I love about this scene. We know the T1000 is hiding but we don’t know where or how. We then see him rising up from the black and white checkerboard tiled floor in his liquid metal form, behind the back of an unaware security guard. He then shape-shifts into the security guard and kills him by transforming his finger into a metal spike and pushing it into the guard’s eye.
I remember the first time I watched this movie and thinking, as I was seeing this scene unfold in front of me, that I had never seen better special effects in my life. I still haven’t seen better. Sure there are movies with bigger budgets and better technology that have created effects that are technically superior but none of them have been able to recreate the life-like feel of the effects in that scene. Also the imagination and innovative spirit that the filmmakers had to have in order to envision that scene astounds me. They could have had the T1000 simply crouch behind something or show him merely killing the guard from behind but they pushed the envelope and created something truly special.
There’s also a delightful piece of irony in the moments leading up to the guard’s death. He’s standing in front of a vending machine buying coffee. Along the sides and on the bottom of the coffee cup are images of various playing cards. The guard checks the cards and sees that the cards make a full house hand; he then says, “full house, this must be lucky day.” This comes seconds before the T1000 kills him and just adds a layer of dry humour to the scene that I love.