Sunday, August 21, 2011

Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 1991

Disclaimer: I read and watched a lot of feminist material today so my mind is a little more geared that way right now and that's kind of what I focus on here.

Let me begin this post by saying that I haven't seen Terminator. I read the synopsis online. I saw part of one of the movies once at a friend's house in college, but the plot sounded too confusing to jump into the middle. It might have been The Sarah Connor Chronicles now that I think about it... Anyway, I know the plot line way better now and I was not a bit confused when I watched the second movie (although Arnold playing the good guy TOTALLY threw me like it was supposed to. Good job, James Cameron).

Here are some random observations I made about this film:

1. The lasers and blasts in the beginning are way too quiet for what the scene looks like. Granted my speakers aren't great and there isn't any surround sound, but still. After Star Wars I expect louder lasers than "pew" and "zoink."

2. As John was running from the T-1000 in the hallway towards the beginning, I FINALLY got the part in Wayne's World where Robert Patrick pulls over Wayne and says in a stern voice, "have you seen this boy?" while holding up a picture, causing Wayne to scream in his face and into the camera and go speeding off. I saw that movie in the theater when I was 5 and I've seen it countless times since then and I've never understood that part. That realization and understanding was accompanied by a fantastic feeling. It made me happy.

3. It's a shame it was the token black person who had to die.

4. The helicopter chase scene was freaking awesome. I love not being distracted by CGI.

5. The reference made in Spaced is Tim saying that he "cried like a baby at the end of Terminator 2." I got a little teary when Terminator said, "I understand now why you cry," but it was hard to get sad about a robot with no personality sacrificing himself.

Now I'll talk about something that really impressed me: Sarah Connor. She was probably a stereotype in the first movie (I'll find out later - Terminator is on the list), but she sure wasn't in this one. I'll admit, I was totally expecting her to play the role of the helpless but oh so nurturing mother overcoming trials and sacrificing all for her child. Ok, so the last part's kind of true, but nothing else was. Her opening scene totally took me by surprise and the phrase "bad-ass" passed through my mind more than once.

Let me tell you what is so fantastic about Sarah Connor's character in this movie: she's real. She's not a sexist stereotype like just about every woman is in almost every movie (ESPECIALLY action movies). She's not a sex object. She's not very nurturing. Her mind set and long term mental state have been altered because of trauma and emotional stress. She doesn't even hug John when they break out of the hospital. She checks for wounds and scolds him for coming after her. Think of almost any woman in almost any action film (especially more recent ones) and she'll defy every stereotype save one:

Her sole existence is to build John Connor into the leader he will become (and this is what is not fantastic about her character). This stereotype has been done and redone and is cliche and sexist. Female characters being there just to help the male protagonist through something. It's been done time and again and I'm finding it more and more distracting. The most recent example from what I've seen is the woman in Captain America. Her character was so forgettable I can't even remember her name. She wouldn't have been there in the first place in real life (but then again neither would the black or Asian guys) and she has no purpose but to be an empty love interest for the male lead. Either give these women some character or don't write them at all. Anyway, I'm willing to let it slide when it comes to Sarah Connor since she's freaking awesome otherwise and we clearly see her motivations and emotional struggles. She's an interesting character without the male lead and that doesn't happen very often for women.

Another awesome thing about Sarah Conner is it was really Linda Hamilton doing those pull ups! She beefed up a TON for this movie and she looks like she could really kick butt. I honestly can't think of any other actress that has done that recently. I'm looking forward to Alien cause I have a feeling Sigourney Weaver is buff too, but other than my hunch on that one, I've got nothing. Sarah Michelle Gellar was toned in Buffy cause she did Tae Kwon Do and kickboxing throughout the 7 years, but she wasn't anything to Linda. Let's think about this though. Uma Thurman, Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu... none of them look the part of an action hero. They're fit, but they're mostly just super skinny and toned. Contrast that to people like Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Chris Evans, and Robert Downey Jr. It's not a huge issue, cause who wants to see a Bane sized Uma, but it would be awesome to see more really buff women on screen. It might even help body image for girls to see more than two body types (super skinny and obese) every now and then.

Anyway, overall I really enjoyed Terminator 2. I'd totally watch it again.

I told you this blog would be random :)


  1. Reading this made me want to watch all these movies again. Sweet Blog. "I'll Be Back..."

  2. Did you watch the Director's Cut? There is a scene where Sarah Conner tries to destroy the chip as John attempts to repair Arnold. It just furthers her badassness and mental instability and almost seems to suggest that John has to worry about her just as much as the T1000 when it comes to preserving the correct timeline.