Friday, January 18, 2008

If James Cameron Hadn't Thrown Away His Soul in a Sordid Tryst With Suzy "I Hate Linda Hamilton" Amis, He'd Be Turning in His Grave.

I will NEVER understand Hollywood's propensity to mess with a good thing - in this case, a PERFECT thing. Weenie Enema has never been reluctant to extol praise for "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." In fact, if Penny Marshall hadn't had the foresight to read the trashy bilge of Iris Rainer Dart and realize it could be adapted into the most amazing movie ever, "Terminator 2" would unquestionably be the greatest movie conceived by man OR woman. This blog has never actually devoted a post to a lengthy movie critique of the second Terminator installment, thinking that a) everyone who reads this blog knows that I love it anyway and the post would pretty much say exactly that, with about 3,000 extra words thrown in, and b) I've managed to include positive summations on it in several posts anyway, so it would just end up being a rehash for loyal readers. That said, there comes a time when even the most hallowed of franchises is threatened, and those of us who have the knowledge and forebearance to do something about it, MUST.

I stood by fairly quietly when Arnold SOLD OUT HARDCORE and agreed to make a third Terminator, even though it went against everything the second Terminator movie had laid out. Aside from the Page Six article about the actress who plays the female Terminator making out with pop rocker Pink, nothing involved in The Rise of the Machines was worth its weight in gold. But now that Fox has once again decided to tamper with the Terminator legacy - this time focusing on Sarah Connor, the mother of the future leader of the human resistance - it's time to get this traitorous piece of crappola off the air and, if need be, show the first two Terminator movies in its time slot.

I'm not going to rehash a scene-by-scene account of Terminator 2's perfection, but I DO think it's worth noting the exact elements in the movie that make the third Terminator completely incomprehensible. First of all, the ultimate strength in T2 rests on its ability to successfully navigate the time travel paradox. In a previous blog post, I mentioned that the only way a movie can legitimately deal with time travel is to either embrace it full-on (ala Back to the Future) or to barely acknowledge it. Terminator does the latter, understanding that attempting to explain it while Arnold and Edward Furlong are shooting bullets into liquid metal entities would detract from the story line and confuse lesser mortals. (I suppose in the world of Terminators, EVERYONE is pretty much a lesser mortal.)

For those of you not well-versed in the actual plot that necessitates the need for Arnold androids to wander around Los Angeles killing people (until the second half of T2, when Edward Furlong injects some necessary humanity into the robot, causing it merely to wound rather than destroy), I'll try to sum it up succintly so as to avoid confusion and whatnot. If you have already seen the Terminators, just scroll down. In the first movie, a Terminator tries to kill Sarah Connor so she can't give birth to John Connor, who is projected to grow up and lead a human army to rid the earth of Terminators. It is unsuccessful, and the Terminator ends up being crushed in a hydraulic press. Flash forward to the second movie - a piece of the first Terminator survived, and scientists are using its technological attributes to advance their computer research shizzle, which in time will result in a computer that thinks for itself and starts a nuclear war with Russia, wiping out most of mankind in the process. Hardcore. (I suspect the script was written before the Wall came down.) Thus, at the end of the second movie, great pains are taken to destroy not only the research that the scientists have done so that no one can copy their work, but Arnold allows himself to be lowered into molten lava so his Terminator qualities can't be exploited for the same purpose as before. All of these actions are successful, so Terminator 2 ends with the understanding that THERE IS NO POSSIBLE WAY THAT THE NUCLEAR WAR CAN STILL OCCUR.

And yet Terminator 3 exists. It makes no sense. In his desire to pick up an extra $20 million, elderly Terminator Arnold claims that those actions only "postponed" the war. Bullshit. No explanation is given for how a self-aware computer can be created with no spare Terminator parts, nor is it understood how a female Terminator just materializes in the storyline, though one would think that the future Terminators from 2029 would have wanted to send her back in the first one - I'm guessing she would have been able to get the job done.

However, now we get into some interesting questions. While completely discounting the existence of the third Terminator installment (mysteriously a box office hit), the idea behind the Sarah Connor Chronicles is much more feasible than a movie about a bunch of machines rising up with a baffled looking, horribly miscast Claire Danes wandering around with the assistance of Nick Stahl, a noble entity in his own right who should stick with half-mutilated Mel Gibson movies. According to my sources, Sarah Connor Chronicles discusses the period of time between the first two Terminators, which admittedly DOES have a lot of unanswered questions and interesting plot developments. From what we can ascertain from T2, Sarah Connor spent most of those years hooking up with former Green Berets to soak up survival and fighting techniques to pass on to her son. Also implied is that she kind of went a bit nuts, seeing as how she's totally normal at the end of the first Terminator movie - though admittedly a bit frazzled from having to kill a Terminator, getting knocked up by a soldier from the future and then subsequently watching said soldier get blown up - and shows up in the second movie completely RIPPED, but with little human empathy and a disturbing propensity toward shooting people and threatening to inject cleaning solvents into the necks of psychologists.

So why is Weenie Enema fundamentally opposed to this new Fox series? The first reason goes back to my declaration at the onset of this post - it's incredibly foolish to tinker with a polished, perfect product. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose. This should have been abundantly clear when a new generation of movie-goers was given the mistaken impression that the Terminator legacy ends with Claire Danes. Heresy. Absolute heresy. Also, besides the moral betrayal demonstrated in The Rise of the Machines, its other major failing is that, aside from Arnold - who even I think is WAY past his prime - no one else associated with the success of the first two Terminators was involved in the process. James Cameron immediately smelled this shizzle a mile away and declined the honor. Edward Furlong appears to have done the same, but since his current favorite pastime is going into restaurants and releasing their lobsters, maybe he had other reasons. I won't watch this new series, so I will never be able to tell you definitively whether this show is technically "good" or not, but knowing that its existence necessitates shitting on the very essence the original Terminator movies were based on is enough to boycott the Sarah Connor Chronicles on moral grounds. Hey, it's only your SOUL.


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