Terminator 2: Judgment Day Movie Review
He is back from the future & this time he came to protect, for what he was sent to destroy. Hold on to your seats, cause Judgment Day is near! Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Terminator…
Director: James Cameron
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, Earl Boen, Joe Morton, Jenette Goldstein, Xander Berkeley, Castulo Guerra, S. Epatha Merkerson, Danny Cooksey & Michael Biehn.
Run Time: 137 min.
US Release: 03 July 1991
UK Release: 16 August 1991
German Release: 24 October 1991
Here we are again, today I'll be reviewing the second - and my personal favourite - feature in the Terminator franchise. Judgment Day differs vastly from the first action sci-fi movie and revolutionised, once again, the special-effects sector in Hollywood. The tone shifts to a more action heavy theme, leaving the thriller genre behind, and included some comedic moments as well, thus raising the quality. Terminator 2 is one in only a few films, where the sequel surpasses the original in calibre.
This is the movie that haunted me in nightmares when I was four years old, after watching it on VHS during a sleepover-party in my house. One of my friends found the VHS and dared us to watch it from beginning to end. Terminator 2 also had an immense impact in my early teenage years, as it intensified my growing interest in the art of movie making.
— WARNING, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! —
James Cameron came back as developer and director of the sequel to his beloved first Terminator movie, which was released in 1991. It also sees the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and Earl Boen as Dr. Silberman. Newcomers that star in this blockbuster are: Robert Patrick as Schwarzenegger’s rival the T-1000, Edward Furlong as a young John Connor and Joe Morton as Miles Dyson. Terminator 2 was also a massive success at the box office and received critical acclaim from several critics. The review and news website Rotten Tomatoes gave it a retrospective score of 92% and is listed as one of the most influential movies of the 90’s.
The story takes place ten years after the events of The Terminator and is partially narrated by Sarah Connor (Hamilton) herself. Miles Dyson, director of a Cyberdyne Systems’ special project, is developing a revolutionary intelligent microprocessor, based on the recovered microchip from the Terminator that tried to kill Sarah Connor. While mean, a second T-800 model is sent back in time with the mission to find and protect a teenage John Connor, before the T-1000, a liquid metal cyborg, tracks down the young buy and kills him. Sarah Connor is incarcerated in a mental institution, after trying to bomb a computer firm and is now under Dr. Silberman’s surveillance.
Every aspect of this movie is highly detailed and entertaining. The atmosphere differs greatly from the first, as it exchanges the horror & thriller sub-genres with a heavier action plot, while also added very well handled moments of comedic relief in the movie. Nevertheless, that particular change made this picture more appealing than the first feature ever was! While The Terminator deals with the horrors of a worldwide take over by intelligent machines and the eradication of human life, Judgment Day focuses more on a moral message within the film. The T-800 comments on how humans are destined to “self-destruct”, yet Sarah Connor makes it also clear that if a killing machine, like the Terminator, is able to learn about the value of human life, it may be possible for humans to learn it as well.
Arnold Schwarzenegger brought new layers of depth to his character. Along the second half of the movie, the Terminator overwrites its blockade set by Skynet and enables itself to learn about morality and understand human emotion. Robert Patrick gives a great portrayal as the T-1000, the newest Terminator model, more advanced than the old T-800, and a rival to Schwarzenegger's character. The cold, emotionless presence, sold his performance of a human looking machine and added an uneasy atmosphere to his character.
Linda Hamilton is once again great as Sarah Connor. Her character made such a dramatic growth from the last time we saw her in the first movie. Hamilton was so motivated to do this film; she worked out for months to get into physical shape, to represent the tough mother Kyle Reese told her she would become. The best scene with her, however, must be when she goes off to kill Miles Dyson, to prevent the apocalyptic event from happening. It is that segment in which the cold and unemotional change she makes, nearly turn her into a human version of the Terminator.
Edward Furlong is amazing as the ten-year-old John Connor. It is hard to sympathise with the boy during the beginning, as he behaves like a despicable and snotty kid. However, once he gets targeted by the T-1000 and is rescued by his protector, the character makes a dramatic shift. This is displayed when he stops the T-800 from killing an innocent life and starts teaching the machine about morality. Edward Furlong's performance starts growing on the audience and the emotional bond his persona develops with the cyborg, leads to a very special and moving end.
James Cameron is a movie god! South Park was absolutely right when they said that this director sets a high bar for everyone. Cameron used a fantastic mix of wide shots and close-ups during car chases and even crammed himself into the back seat, during the hospital escape scene, to obtain more adrenaline-pumped picture, as his cameraman wouldn’t do it. The scene with the Harley jump by Arnolds double, looks great and Cameron masked the fact that it was a stunt-man very well. This guy is such a brilliant cinematographer, he made former workers of the closed Steel Mill believe that it had re-opened, due to the depiction on screen.
Groundbreaking new effects have been created to film this feature. The extensive CGI used to create the mimetic poli-alloy, of which the T-1000 is composed of, is based on previous steps taken in computer imagery, when filming The Abyss. These effects, though a little clunky now, still look brilliant on screen and it gained the visual-effects team an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1992. The makeup and prosthetics for Arnold's character are incredible and still hold up today, while the L.A. landscape model used for the nuclear nightmare scene was brilliantly elaborated. The nuclear blast is praised as being the most accurate depiction on film to date!
Brad Fiedel returned as the film’s musical composer and delivered a fresh take on his score for The Terminator from 1984. He made it sound more metallic and dramatic, contributing immensely to the atmosphere of the movie. This, next to the Jurassic Park and Star Wars theme, is one of my favourite movie scores.
Verdict: Terminator 2: Judgment Day is my favourite movie of the franchise. It contains fantastic cinematography and practical, as well as computer-generated effects, which hold up to date. The performances by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Patrick Stuart, as the two rivaling cyborgs, are great and Linda Hamilton, as well as Edward Furlong, added amazing human emotions to this picture. This is one of Cameron’s best movies and therefore deserves a 10 out of 10! If you are interested to read my review of the first Terminator, scroll down to find it with other related reviews.