This is serious news for any true Terminator fan. To me, the saga peaked and terminated (lol) with Judgement Day. Rise of the Machines was a shallow, pointless farse, followed only by the crushingly limp and disappointing Salvation. Even the Sarah Connor Chronicles took badasses Summer Glau (Firefly, Serenity) and Lena Headey (300, Game of Thrones) and still managed to screw it up. I guess even with kobe beef, some chefs can’t even make a good Whammyburger.
But there is a glimmer of hope.
Terminator fans are gluttons for punishment. We’re embittered by the false promises of a once glorious franchise gone shit. We’re the dark reflections of the shiny happy Star Wars fans, who desperately cling to their own memories of an unsullied original trilogy. Like them, we’re first in line to take more emotional beatdowns whenever Hollywood needs the odd extra dollar.
We’re reticent, scarred, and wary. So when they announced a new Terminator film last year I began prepping for another sad two hours that I’d have to waste at the cinema. The initial teaser looked insane, and my heart dropped. They then changed the name from the very reasonable sounding Terminator Genesis to Terminator Genysis, and I vomited blood.
Then the second trailer came out. It introduced John Connor as the bad guy, and my interest was piqued.
And now writer/director of the original 1984 classic, James Cameron, has seen it.
But let’s back track a bit. According to legend, during the harrowing production of Piranha 2: The Spawning, Cameron became ill. Suffering a fevered dream, he had visions of a metallic torso crawling out an explosion. This became his concept for the Terminator.
Surprisingly, the sequel to Piranha that featured flying killer fish, failed to light the box office on fire. This, along with Cameron’s very public on-set firing, meant that no one wanted to take the risk on his sci-fi time-travel romp. It didn’t help that he insisted on directing it too.
Enter Cameron’s then girlfriend-soon-to-be-wife Gale Anne Hurd. She bought the rights to the script off Cameron for $1. She’d produce and he’d direct. Orion then picked up the script and the rest is history. Years later, Cameron divorced Hurd, married-then-divorced Terminator-heroine Linda Hamilton and was offered the chance to make T3. But he wasn’t interested. Nor could he stop them from making it.
The fact that Cameron is being so positive is enough to make you sit up and take notice. As he points out, he’s had no impact in regards to the making of the film. Considering he’s responsible for the two biggest box office films of all time, I’m sure he’s not just doing this for the money either.
He praises the film for the respect it’s showing his original vision, and commends the character development of both the Terminator and Sarah Connor. So is he just doing it as a favour to Arnold and his Terminator buddies? Maybe, but flat out calling Terminator Genysis the true “third” movie in the franchise is enormous validation. It’s also a hilarious slap in the face for the last two films.
While I’m sad they haven’t CGI’d Bill Paxton (Aliens) or Brian Thompson (Mortal Kombat Annihilation) like they have Arnie, I’m truly interested to see how Genysis is going to unfold. Like Lena Headey from the Terminator TV series, fellow Game of Thrones alumni Emilia Clarke is also perfectly cast.
So, the unknown future rolls toward us. And I face it for the first time with a sense of hope that a new Terminator film can be decent. Because if James Cameron can like it, maybe we can too.
Terminator Genysis is released worldwide on July 1st 2015.