Saturday Movie Review – “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”

The director’s cut of this movie is out on DVD. If you know nothing about this movie, rent this and the original now and watch them in order. The most powerful moment in the movie requires a level of ignorance that’s hard to achieve these days. While you’re at it, rent the third to get caught up for next week’s review.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800
Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor
Edward Furlong as John Connor
Robert Patrick as the T-1000
Joe Morton as Miles Dyson

Written by James Cameron and William Wisher
Directed by James Cameron

Complete information is available from the IMDB.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past movie reviews can be found here. I’ll try to get that page updated this weekend.

Premise

Years after the original Terminator was destroyed, a second Terminator and a second protector arrive to kill John Connor as a child.

High Point

Miles’ reaction to the complete future history.

Low Point

The violations of established rules. The first said, and emphasized, that there were only two time travelers. It also said that a time travel needed to be living tissue to make it through; how does liquid metal qualify?

The Scores

Originality is not Cameron’s strong suit. I like the role reversal that makes Arnold the hero, but in retrospect, there’s really no other way to make the movie. They need an escalating threat to generate excitement, and they need to have Arnold back for the sequel. Still, other filmmakers would have given up on a sequel faced with these problems. I wonder if this solution was Wisher’s idea. I give it 3 out of 6.

The effects are what this film is best known for. The morphing is truly remarkable, and still impressive in many ways. Some of the physical effects aren’t perfect, but they did a much better job of choosing camera angles to hide these issues. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is inconsistent with some of what we saw from the original, but there’s internal consistency if you set those rules aside. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting can be hard to judge. Furlong and Hamilton did well. Patrick and Schwarzenegger also did well, but they had such one dimensional characters that’s it’s hard to say how well they did. Schwarzenegger suits this role much better than any role I’ve seen him in that demands, say, emotion. Patrick, on the other hand, impresses me every time. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is good. The first time I saw this, I’d seen the original, but (as usual) had deliberately avoided any ads or other sources of spoilers. I caught it opening weekend, and had no idea what the nature of Patrick’s character was. If you go in knowing only what you see in the original, that encounter in the hallway behind the arcade packs one heck of a punch. Even after watching it, the action sequences still hold up. I give it 4 out of 6.

The production had a lot of style and tone. The blue filters came out very strongly here, and really gave a good sense of mood. In fact, the only thing I’d have really changed was trying to find a more subtle way to tell the audience what was in the tanker truck near the end. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a good action flick, and a special effects landmark, but there’s very little to it past that superficial surface. See it in a mood to not think much. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Terminator 2: Judgement Day receives 30 out of 42.

7 replies on “Saturday Movie Review – “Terminator 2: Judgement Day””

  1. fliptw says:

    The rules
    Considering the events of the third movie, its not really unreasonable to assume the technology of time travel – even the basic understanding of the phsyics involved having been changed by the events of the first movie.

    Considering the time travel technology was developed by skynet, the events in the first movie couldn’t have gone unnoticed by the computer – its reasonable to assume that skynet made its time travel mechanism unsurvivable by humans for the second try.

  2. Kaki says:

    Which version?
    Which version did you watch? Cause in the extended version the T-800 is not a one dimensional character. Much better version, imho, as it helps round out the hero’s journeys that are going on in the films.

    Oh and I beg you to stop here. Do not review the abomination that is called "the third terminator movie". No such thing really exists. –fingers in ears– –humming–

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Which version?

      Which version did you watch? Cause in the extended version the T-800 is not a one dimensional character. Much better version, imho, as it helps round out the hero’s journeys that are going on in the films.

      Oh and I beg you to stop here. Do not review the abomination that is called "the third terminator movie". No such thing really exists. –fingers in ears– –humming–

      This was a review of the extended version. The T-101 is a better character, but still pretty bland. The extended version is certainly the version in which the humans have real depth, too. When this was sent in for the final theatrical edit, they took out the character moments so that a larger percentage of screen time was spent on action. I recommend the extended version over the theatrical version without a doubt.

    • Tekzel says:

      Re: Which version?

      Which version did you watch? Cause in the extended version the T-800 is not a one dimensional character. Much better version, imho, as it helps round out the hero’s journeys that are going on in the films.

      Oh and I beg you to stop here. Do not review the abomination that is called "the third terminator movie". No such thing really exists. –fingers in ears– –humming–

      Want to hear something funny? I actually LIKED terminator 3. No, sit back down. DOWN! Ok, despite their best efforts, I actually liked it. My only real complaint about it was the chick. Granted, it is hard to see around that since it was a HUGE part of the movie (I mean, come on, she can remote control mechanical vehicles? Gimme a HUGE frigging break!), I liked a lot of the other elements. (embarassingly, I am going to spoiler this :/) I definitely liked the end, the way he was tricked into the bomb shelter thinking he was going to destroy Skynet.

      • Cerberus7 says:

        Re: Which version?
        Your spoiler-protected section was part of my high-point of T3. I spent most of the movie going *yay, explosions!* and *yay, expanding terminator breasts!*, generally just having fun with it and not expecting a thing. The ending, though, is what made that movie for me. Nearly everything suddenly makes sense. Not to my wife, though. She absolutely _hates_ time travel stories. :)

        Anyhow, on the topic of T2, I also prefer the extended cut. The T1000 is much more interesting. Sure, it’s still got some issues, but after the retcon of T3, the inconsistencies mostly go away (and for a series about altering timelines, that’s something).

  3. J_W_W says:

    Re: Time Travel
    I had always thought that the T1000 could make its outer "skin" skin like enough to enable it to time travel. I mean with the ability to morph into any object at a nearly molecular level, it didn’t think of the T1000 as liquid metal, but as molecular manipulation.

  4. is says:

    looking back
    These movies have a certain level of cheese, but they’re still very entertaining, which is a lot more than you can say for the majority of movies that are 10+ years old. The new terminator character (Patrick) was the coolest thing around, and it’s proven by just how many times that walk of his has been spoofed. Also, Ah-nold on the harley with the shotgun… very cool bike chase scene.

    Just a side note on T3. I loved it. The ending was perfect. Frankly, without the ending, it would have been utter crap because everything else was basically recycled ideas.

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