Audiences responded after asking Will Cameron’s Return Terminate His Film Franchise? In terms of box-office results, the answer was as bleak as the filmmaker’s fate of humanity. Officially considered a flop after losing $130 million worldwide, this had to be the final entry for the action film franchise, right? Not so fast, my friends. It’s time to slide into the DMs of My Guilty Pleasure.
So much more than just an action movie franchise, why have so many filmmakers gotten it wrong? And why did it take James Cameron’s buying back the rights to his own film for this selective sequel to finally decide humanity’s ultimate fate? Sadly no longer a tentpole release, the house that made Arnold a multi-millionaire just doesn’t demand that much attention from audiences these days. Past releases suffered from Franchise Syndrome and audiences suffered from franchise fatigue. How many threats to humanity can a group of characters overcome?
I’ve been a fan of the Terminator films from Day One. As a Child of the ’80s, I grew up at the best possible time for filmmaking. I witnessed Judgement Day in theaters (and unfortunately, The Terminator television series). I enjoyed the Rise of the Machines and began to grow weary with Salvation, although Genisys did seem like it started to turn the tide. Sadly, each one underperformed with audiences, despite Arnold’s best intentions (and the hefty paydays that kept the franchise alive).
Time traveling is difficult stuff. If timelines are fluid, ever changing, then this franchise could turn around, right?
Serving as a reunion of sorts, Cameron (only as an executive producer, sadly) and Shwarzenegger dragged Linda Hamilton out of retirement in order to resuscitate a never-ending storyline. Much like Blumhouse’s successful Halloween reboot, Judgement Day has been delayed for this selective sequel, as a future without hope was stopped. But Skynet was only replaced with Legion, which is an A.I. built for cyberwarfare, turned rogue. In the current timeframe, John Connor was terminated and an augmented female super soldier was sent back in time in order to prevent the end of humanity, which was caused by the robot uprising.
“Dreams at the end of the world… hurt.”
The new savior for humanity is a young Mexican girl who can’t even drive, let alone shoot a gun. Hunting her down is a REV-9 model, AKA a liquid Terminator that’s practically unstoppable. Sarah Connor shows up to destroy every single Terminator unit along the way, which eventually brings us to Arnold. Since Sarah’s wanted in 50 states, all she does is hunting down Terminators and drinking to black out, so when she forms an unlikely alliance with the Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 that killed her son, you know sparks are gonna fly.
First of all, I’d like to say how much I loved seeing the older, wiser, battle-hardened Sarah Connor portrayed by Linda Hamilton so much more than any of the younger actresses who attempted to fill the iconic character’s shoes in the past so very, very much… With so many crazy stunts, outrageous action and great special effects, I really enjoyed watching this movie. Apparently, the human resistance was also fighting against watching yet another Terminator flick in movie theaters (remember when that was a fun weekend event?).
Dani seems to be a younger version of Sarah and Grace is the new Mother Mary (or she’s the new Obi-Wan), trying to prevent a dark future. And as for Arnold… well, his character spent 20 years learning how to become more human, eventually growing a conscience, anticipating Armageddon at some point in time. Think The Odd Couple… but from the future. And there’s actually four people, instead of two!
There’s some dark foreshadowing, along with some dry humor sprinkled about, and when the final showdown arrives, Arnold mentions his past has finally caught up with him and he won’t be back. As soon as that dialogue was spoken, I felt decimated, as the weight of the franchise was about to be lifted off the bodybuilder’s shoulders. This action movie with three female leads was meant to be a bridge to future selective sequels. Unfortunately, this 2019 release will most likely be the final entry for the franchise (at least until Cameron climbs out of his basement and decides to write and direct something other than Avatar sequels).
“The future wants you dead, just like it wanted me dead.”
I really wanted this movie to succeed, as I was growing tired of all the imitators trying to move the franchise into awkward, new directions. The return of Cameron and Hamilton DID bring an all-new energy to the franchise, although it seems it was too little, too late. With the acquisition of 20th Century Fox, could it be in a few years, Disney actually brings Cameron back to write and direct a trio of selective sequels, to be released on its streaming service? That is absolutely a possibility that could be the bright light, preventing a Dark Fate for the future of the franchise.