The first Terminator came out in the ’80s, Terminator 2 came out in the ’90s, and Terminator 3 came out in the ’00s — and, as I noted in my review of that last one, each film reflected the unique political and cultural mood of its decade quite well.
Now, alas, it looks like whoever owns the sequel rights is going to ruin my one-film-per-decade analysis by rushing a fourth film to production in the next few months — and quite possibly without any of the stars of the first three films. No Nick Stahl, no Claire Danes, no Edward Furlong, no Linda Hamilton … not even California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Speaking of which, Lynne McNamara noted in yesterday’s Vancouver Sun that the new film might very well end up shooting here, which is ironic, since Terminator 3 was supposed to film here as well, in 2002, until Arnold pulled the plug and moved the production back south to California, where concern over runaway productions might have hurt his bid to become governor.
The studio denied that that was the reason for the change of plans at the time, but during Arnold’s successful run for office in September 2003, he told a business meeting in Dana Point (as quoted at the time in a Vancouver Sun story):
“Let me tell you a story, a personal story,” he told his audience. “When I started to film the movie Terminator 3, they wanted the movie in Canada. I want to shoot it in California.
“They said, well, it’s an $8-million [US] difference. So I said, let’s sit down, let’s talk about it. We sat down with the producers and the different heads of the different departments and after a week of talking and going back and forth, everyone was willing to kick in some money.
“I put in personal money of mine, the producers and the heads of department were willing to shave a little bit off the budget and we were able film the movie Terminator 3 right here in Los Angeles and around the Los Angeles area.
“And at the same time helped create jobs, hundreds of new jobs, and that’s what I want to do as governor. I want to bring businesses back to this state.”
Want to add another layer of irony to all this? I was at an Arnold Schwarzenegger press conference before all this, when The 6th Day (2000; my review) came out — that film had also been made here, so Arnold came north to promote it when it opened — and when someone asked him how he felt about “runaway productions”, he said it only made sense for the studios to spend their money in places like Canada, because after all, the American studios dominate the Canadian theatres and take all our money at the box office anyway. In person, Arnold is just as charming as what you see on the talk shows — and like good any politician, he knows how to say just what his audience wants to hear!
FWIW, I love the original film but have always considered the sequels — yes, even T2 — somewhat sub-par and apocryphal. But then, I always get a little nit-picky wherever time travel is concerned. Click here for an essay I wrote back when I was only 20, explaining why I preferred the first film to the second.