Terminator's End Begins

17-Jul-08 4:07 PM by
Filed under Trailers; 2 comments.

I once expressed concern about the ability of the Terminator franchise to successfully reinvent itself as a television series. But Terminator 2 is one of my favorite films of all-time, and the Terminator himself is a fantastic hero and villain — how many characters can claim such duality? These previous impressions encouraged me to set aside my reservations and give The Sarah Connor Chronicles a look when it debuted this past spring. I was pleasantly surprised by the two episodes I saw, sufficiently that I've preordered next month's DVD release of the nine-episode first season.

So, despite a lack of interest in almost anything with Christian Bale (including tomorrow's Dark Knight — sorry, but that kid hasn't impressed me since Newsies), I'm trying to keep an open mind about next year's fourth Terminator installment. In playing to the Balehead crowd, tomorrow's Batman flick includes the official premiere of the first trailer for Terminator Salvation — but you can watch it here, now, for free:

It's not much to go on, and unless time travel is involved, the film will likely lack any of its titular adversaries. Say it with me: it's too early to judge… And hey, if it sucks? There's always RiffTrax.

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Tomorrow's Artificial Intelligence, Today

11-Jan-08 8:00 AM by
Filed under Television, Trailers; 2 comments.

Though the following information already exists as various comments on existing threads, I perceived the pending premieres of a pair of popular pilots prompted promotion (phew!) — so to ensure our readers stay savvy and don't miss the return of these franchises, here's a timely reminder.

On Sunday, January 13th, at 8:00 PM EST, and Monday, January 14th, at 9:00 PM EST, will be Fox's two-part The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which attempts to bring the successful Terminator movie series to the small screen. The show features a strong cast that includes Thomas Dekker (Heroes) and Summer Glau (Firefly), as seen in this trailer:

Five weeks later, on Sunday, February 17th, at 9:00 PM EST, will be NBC's debut of what could be a new Knight Rider series. This two-hour movie is what's known as a "backdoor pilot": a stand-alone film that could conceivably lead to a continuing series. Trailers such as the following have not yet shown much actual movie footage, just teasers:

Each show is based on a successful license; what could possibly go wrong?

(Hat tip to Coming Soon)

Judgment Day

29-Aug-07 11:28 AM by
Filed under Films; 6 comments.

Three billion human lives ended on August 29th, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day. They lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against the machines. The computer which controlled the machines, Skynet, sent two Terminators back through time. Their mission: to destroy the leader of the human resistance, John Connor, my son. The first Terminator was programmed to strike at me in the year 1984, before John was born. It failed. The second was set to strike at John himself when he was still a child. As before, the resistance was able to send a lone warrior, a protector for John. It was just a question of which one of them would reach him first.

Thus begins one of the most kickass films of all time.

I may be perceived as a stereotypical, testosterone-driven ape when I declare the explosion-laden Terminator 2 to be one of my favorite movies ever, but only the superficial viewer would make such a judgment. T2 is a film about perseverance, courage, family, and free will. It has moments of introspection that are both poignant and terrifying, not just for the audience but for the characters, leading our female protagonist to break down in tears when she realizes she has become that which she most abhors. She is not alone, as we all see our own fears played out in this film: not only our own internal struggles, but also that artifact of the Cold War: the futility of resistance against total annihilation, depicted in what several U.S. federal nuclear testing labs unofficially declared "the most accurate depiction of a nuclear blast ever created for a fictional motion picture."

Even now that the film's special effects are not as groundbreaking as they were in 1991, or now that the jaw-dropping twist — when the hero and villain reveal their identities, shattering our expectation of who to root for — is well-known, this film still stands the test of time, with a title character who is both a hero and villain for all ages.

So happy tenth anniversary to the realization of your worst nightmare. May you live only to face a new horror…

Prepare To Be Regurgitated

13-Feb-07 1:42 PM by
Filed under Films, Television; 10 comments.

Terminator 2, added this week to the iTunes Store, is one of the three best films ever made. Intense action sequences, gut-wrenchingly authentic emotions, and surprising, jaw-dropping special effects (for 1991) warrant T2 being the only film I've purchased on DVD more than twice.

I made a point of watching the film on August 29th, 1997, the supposed Judgment Day. If only the franchise had ended there: Terminator 3 is best summed up in the final words of my review. "A great movie? Yes. A great Terminator film? No."

Now, the blasphemy continues: the tenth anniversary of the war against the machines will be commemorated with The Sarah Connor Chronicles, a television series detailing the years between the second and third films. (News courtesy of StarTrek.com)

I question Terminator's capacity to exist in this medium. Are we looking at an Incredible Hulk-type "wandering hero" format, with Sarah and John Connor, on the lam from the future, doing good deeds until a robotic Mr. McGee catches up with them? Will it have the budget for action sequences that made the first two films so legendary? How will the show tie into next year's supposed Terminator 4 film? Never mind that this show will be the first incarnation of the series to omit Arnold Schwarzenegger. But hey, it worked for Predator, right? Err…

I can't think of any movie that has successfully spun off into a television series: My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Uncle Buck… well, okay, there's Buffy. So maybe the rule of thumb is that, between a movie and a TV show, at least one will bite. If so, Terminator passed that threshold long ago.

Though I'm thrilled at (and jealous of) the opportunity of an actress from my hometown to attach her name to as geeky a franchise as this, I'd rather the series had been terminated gracefully sixteen years ago.