The Terminator franchise is almost as deeply a part of me as anything Batman related (If you’re new here to C506, that’s saying everything). And, not just because T1 and T2 were worshipped at home as an 80s-90s kid. Much of what got me into comic book stores regularly as an adult, finding my geek roots again decades later, was Terminator comics. Initially looking for the Bat, I stumbled upon a new addiction: Dark Horse runs like Enemy of My Enemy and the brilliantly epic Salvation series (NOT the movie) from Marvel’s architect of Civil War and genius TV writer, J. Michael Straczynski.
My T fandom digresses. Though, thoughts and knowledge of previous Terminator works are pertinent for today’s topic of Dark Fate, so preconceived notions actually work today.
Here are a few excerpts from my Terminator: Dark Fate review on the Update: Nerd Style podcast:
- It’s great for an action movie. It’s even great for a James Cameron Terminator movie. But, it should really be a “Part 1: Action” and then a Part 2, another movie, but with the weight of T2. Because that’s what this one is missing. This movie is missing the weight of T1 and T2 insofar as the horror level intensity. Those movies were this amazing combination of like 80s slasher, but tech-noir and heart-pounding horror, old school. Just like: There’s this cold, calculated dude coming to kill you. He happens to be a cyborg; but he’s coming to kill you. And, you’re an innocent woman, and you have no idea what’s going on. This is classic stuff. Again, combined with the sci-fi, combined with the action, combined with all the Jim Cameronian, groundbreaking, you know, breaking the mold film-wise, all that stuff. You still have some basic horror stuff to it. Whereas, this was just like 100% action. The ingredient–definitely, sci-fi, definitely all that, but–the ingredient of horror, totally kind of missing in this.
The word I was looking for: “thriller.” I did say “heart-pounding,” but thriller would have been clearer for us film nerds. The thrilling side of T1 and Judgment Day, even the comics, was not just cyborgs hijacking 18 wheelers; and helicopters; and now, cargo planes.
It was the thrill of never knowing when a machine from the future would Terminate you.
More from the pod (Dark Fate SPOILERS AHEAD!):
- This movie is set up for a sequel. So, it’s like: cool, if you want to do almost the opposite of what James Cameron did with Aliens, which injected a s*** ton of action into the Alien franchise. Ridley Scott’s original 1979 Alien was a haunted house horror movie. Shot in like four rooms, sci-fi, but horror. Whereas, James Cameron’s was sci-fi action horror, but more action. I hope he starts with action in this, and then, I really hope they make another one, and it brings back that horror level intensity [thriller], that gloom, that apocalyptic gloom of–apocalypse. (Laughs) That’s what these movies are all about, and I kind of miss that from this.
- (Reading a text I sent to one of my friends/podcast hosts after seeing Dark Fate): There are only a few parts I’d say were kind of bad, the rest was great. And, yes you do need to see it in theaters..Seeing James Cameron meet Tim Miller fin 2019 for a Terminator action movie is bonkers!…it’s insanely fun.
The worst of the “bad” parts were not missing the thrill. They were bad for their own reasons–which is for a whole other piece. Today, I just wanted to talk about thrilling things, not so thrilling things, and hopeful sequels from the T franchise.
I’ll close with some irony: A lot of criticism against Dark Fate is that it’s more of the same. But, if they just kept to their original genre formula of horror/sci-fi/action, the newest T flick probably would have felt fresher. Instead, I think having less horror thrills might have contributed to making more of the same feel even more. Terminator style horror with 2019 James Cameron action and effects sounds really compelling and terrifying to me.
So, hopefully, he’ll be back! (And, not just in comics that I love).
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