Saturday, November 2, 2019

Decent Installment: Terminator: Dark Fate

I don't know what everyone's complaining about. Considering that the last three Terminator movies were largely terrible, Dark Fate is pretty good! It's not a perfect film, but there's a lot to like and I think most people who enjoyed the first two Terminators will appreciate it.

Terminator: Dark Fate PosterA lot of my criticisms of the film go hand-in-hand with the things that I liked, oddly enough. For example, I liked the new storyline, and I particularly liked Grace and incorporating the concept of enhanced humans into this world of malevolent AI, but I questioned the switching of the plot (if we take past films seriously) of removing John Connor from this story (not telling how), and renaming SkyNet to Legion. That felt a bit arbitrary, although it's clear that the filmmakers wanted to make this a more female-forward movie, as seen in the predominantly female cast. It felt a bit like what was happening in the latest installment of Halloween, but I'm not sure if it felt integral to the plot to do that here. In both, you have the anchor of the female lead from the original franchise, and moving forward from that point beyond their roles in previous films.

That said, I loved seeing Linda Hamilton as Sarah again. Sarah Connor was one of my idols growing up, along with Xena Warrior Princess. But she wasn't given a whole lot to do. The majority of her scenes were humorous ones alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. Don't get me wrong - those bits were funny - but I wanted to see them both carry some more weight too, and the script didn't really allow for it. The most powerful scene might be the first one - which is to say, a scene from another film. Which is kind of a problem.

Regarding the technological aspects, that felt more grounded in sci-fi both of the present and the future. Incorporating automation in manufacturing was clever, but it didn't necessarily have the secretive military feel of something like SkyNet, the sinister computer lurking in the background. I was missing that.

What this all boils down to is I think that while the filmmakers may have succeeded in giving us a better Terminator than what we've had in a while, they didn't necessarily measure up to the very high standard of action film that is set in the here and now by the Marvel Universe. The action scenes were serviceable, but the laws of physics were stretched too much in some cases, and it didn't feel as polished on that front. It delivered on humor, but didn't balance that well with the very intense climate of the original Terminators. That kind of perfect package is something that Disney/Marvel has...well...perfected in the last decade, and comparatively this title can't compete. But if you take it on its own merits, both as a Terminator film and as an action/sci-fi film, it gets high marks from me.

K. Rating: 4/5

No comments:

Post a Comment