Wednesday, November 6, 2019

New Terminator Bombs... Can We Please Stop Making These Movies?


Every time there's a new Terminator movie, the first question I ask is... "Why?"

Quite frankly, I've been asking "Why?" for every subsequent release since Terminator 3 back in 2003. Is there really a clamoring for new Terminator movies that fans really want? Is there really a need to see what happens after Judgment Day has been prevented in the second movie? Hell, some could even argue the need for a second film if they wanted to, since the original Terminator was perfectly fine as a standalone movie... but the sequel was nice to have, too.

And if that were it, then that's fine. There's no need to make more of these things. We don't need to know what happens after... I'm fine with nothing happening after Skynet is gone for good and life goes on. Why do we need to keep retreading that beat or change it around to give each new movie a reason to exit? Judgment Day's been delayed, it's been postponed, it's inevitable, Skynet is gone, but not really... and now the future leader of humanity is now that bad and dead and Skynet is gone, but now there's the Legion of Doom and the leader is now a Latina and then we'll have another movie where Twitter evolves into the new Skynet and everyone accepts their fate... can we just let this franchise die and be done with it?

For what it's worth, I don't hate the ones that came afterwards. T3 was kind of a waste of time where they basically said that Judgment Day is happening no matter what you do - rendering everything in the first two films entirely pointless - but I actually didn't mind Salvation. Not a great film, but at least it was trying something different (depicting the future war) and if that was the direction the franchise was going to go, then I would've been perfectly content with that... in my own disinterested way, that is.

But then they made another one; one which is supposed to be a "reboot" of the franchise. All I know is that they made the Eleventh Doctor and some guy claiming to be John Connor into Terminators and they had some folks from Game of Thrones play these characters from the first film. The whole thing came across as ridiculous and when I did eventually get around to watching this one, my brain was about to explode at all the stupid thrown together all at once.

Thing is those movies made money... people want to say they were failures but they made money. Probably not the kind of money the studios would've liked, but it was still fucking money. Even the short-lived TV show made some waves before it was cancelled, so it's hard to knock the studios on wanting to make another entry in the franchise, even if the reception to recent offerings had been cold.

And so here we are... they made yet another one of these fucking Terminator movies and once again, it disregards everything that came before in favor of its own storyline or whatever while still feeling very derivative and unoriginal. Oh, look. Another Terminator sent back in time to kill the leader of humanity. Another resistance fighter sent back in time to protect said leader from the Terminator... and just for shits and giggles, let's bring back Linda Hamilton and ARNOLD to reprise their roles as Sarah Connor and the old Terminator. Hey, James Cameron has a hand in this. And just for kickers, let's start the film by killing off John Connor, rendering everything that happened in the first two films entirely pointless.

And then the movie goes up... it makes very little money despite some favorable reviews... and so it is a bomb in the box office.

For the record, I have yet to see the movie. No real interest in it. Maybe if it pops up on Netflix and I've got nothing better to do, I might give it a whirl. So other than the barebones descriptor above, I've not going to dig too deeply into this one since there's no point. But even with my lack of interest in this latest rehashing of a rehash, I figured this thing would make a bit of a bank from the get-go or perhaps even be the best-selling movie of the franchise, considering what it had going for it... but nope.

There's a bunch of reasons people could come up with as to why Dark Fate suffered a dark fate at the box office. You could argue the killing of John Connor, the rehashing of old ideas, the diversity checklist, the forced gender politics, or whatever else the case may be... but for me, there is a very simple and straightforward explanation that makes the most sense.

People are just done with these Terminator movies.

Terminator is slowly becoming the sci-fi equivalent of Highlander; where the first movie is the only good one and the rest of it is trash best forgotten. In fairness, Terminator has two good movies to its credit that people like the most, but since then, it's been a run of less than stellar showings on the critical front. Also, the Terminator movies (up until Dark Fate, of course) made money. But it's getting to the point where these movies come off as so derivative of each other that you figure "Why bother watching this new movie that reminds me of an older movie that I could be watching right now?"

So the presumed "bestest movie since T2" - not a high bar, I should mention - is poised to lose big in the box office and that might put the kibosh on further Terminator sequels. And if that's the case, then good. This franchise deserves a long, permanent respite from another movie iteration and all these pretentious ideas for trilogies that will never happen. You want to make money off this thing? Sell some merch, comic books, books, and maybe fund another TV show... presumably one that doesn't make the two movies people actually liked in this franchise to be a complete and utter waste of time.

Maybe a decade or so down the line, we can reboot these franchise and give it something resembling a fresh start. And by that, I mean, something that isn't just action schlock with subpar special effects and a mediocre script that tries to shoehorn a message or ideology. How about we go back to what made The Terminator a great film? A sci-fi horror film with bits of action where the main antagonist came off like an actual killer and not just another pretty boy with shiny morph effects tacked on for good measure.

Either that or give me Robocop Versus The Terminator as a feature film circa 1994. I'd go for that.

Now that I'd think about it, I'd really ought to give The Terminator another shot. It's been a while...

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