The Terminator franchise is about to get a new edition: Dark Fate. From what I’ve heard of the new film (aside from that it isn’t going to be very good) is that it retcons the 3rd, 4th, and 5th movies and is essentially new Terminator 3. What a franchise that a new movie would want to rewrite more than half of the films to try and get back to the core of the story.
The first Terminator movie is a SciFi horror story. An AI faction sends a cyborg assassin back in time to kill the mother of the leader of the human faction. A human is sent back by the human faction to stop him and keep the mother safe. Time travel shenanigans ensue. The human sent back becomes the father of the leader; a play on the grandpa paradox.
The second Terminator is a SciFi action story. It is also one of the few sequels ever made that can be truly sadi to be better than the original. The machines send back another AI to kill John Connor, who will become the leader of the human faction, when he is a young teenager. The humans send back an assassin of their own – an assassin the same model as the type that tried to kill his mother in the first movie. Time travel shenanigans ensue. Miles Dyson is the true hero.
The theme of both of the first two movies is told to the audience “There is no fate but what you make.” The idea that your decisions and actions no can change the future; that the future is not fixed.
This is where the remaining sequels went off the rails. The third film changes the theme to: the future’s going to happen no matter how much you try to stop it, which is rubbish and breaks the whole point of the first two films. The fourth movie is set in the war and is mostly just a jumble of bad ideas. It trie to tell the back story of Kyle Reese, the man who is sent back from the future in the first film, but it also tries to tell a redemption story about the cyborgs and doesn’t hit the mark. A waste of Christian Bale as John Connor if you ask me. The fifth movie tried to retcon the who series by rewriting the first movie and swapping the roles of Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese, where instead of Sarah being the naive one and Kyle being the experienced warrior it made Sarah the warrior and Kyle inexperienced. It was a terrible film and the less spoken of it, the better.
Out of the five editions of Terminator so far three have been unable to catch the essence of the first two. With Dark Fate only six weeks away I hope that the film will look back on what made the original and sequel so great. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.