The highest point of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Hollywood career, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, is also one of the finest examples of ‘how to make a sequel.’ A sequel usually means the conflict and the scale of the movie becomes bigger. Ideally, without compromising on its core entertainment value. And while many sequels do take note of the first part of the aforementioned statement, they usually don’t bother to pay enough attention to how engaging the film should be. This kind of attention is what sets Terminator 2 apart. Writer-director James Cameron didn’t only up the ante in terms of the action choreography or the visual effects, but aced characterisation as well. T-1000 is arguably the toughest nemesis of 90s Hollywood and Sarah Connor is as iconic as they come.
The James Cameron directorial released in 1991 and was as mainstream as a Hollywood actioner could get. The bad guy was near-invincible, and the good guy was appropriately wooden. However, it was Linda Hamilton’s portrayal of Sarah Connor that garnered a lot of praise. The actor aced the part of an emotional but badass mother who could go to any lengths to protect her child. Linda’s Sarah did not have superhuman abilities like the two terminators of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Patrick, but the actor won the audience over with her undeniable screen presence. It helped that Linda not only acted the part but looked it too.
The plot is new wine in old bottle — of the Armageddon-level battle of good vs evil, Machines vs Humans, the idea of freedom vs an overwhelming authority and uncertainty. The themes were profound but familiar and what made Terminator 2 so interesting was, of course, the way it was directed and shot. The truck and bike chase sequence is still imprinted in my mind. The continuous building up of the adrenaline, the difficult shots, and the relentless action, it was all very exciting. Arnold was probably born to play this role. Let us be honest, Mr Schwarzenegger could hardly act, but he had a great body and sense for action. And believe it or not, Terminator 2 is still relevant, at least with respect to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) bit. Cameron expressed as much in an interview to the Associated Press.
The filmmaker said, “I think the film is as timely as it ever was, probably more so less on the nuclear side and more on the AI side and dealing with our relationship with our own technology. And how we do really stand the possibility of making ourselves obsolete. We have to be on guard and constantly aware. So whether it’s climate change, or whether it’s the threat of an AI potentially replacing us or rapidly altering our world in a negative outcome for humans or weather — these are things we need to be constantly vigilant about.”
Here’s one interesting trivia about Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and enormously telling of how cool it really is — It’s the only sequel in the 20th century to have won an Oscar. Not only was the film critically acclaimed, but it was also a massive box office success as well.
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Terminator 2: Judgment Day is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
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