Terminator update: an aging cyborg and a grown-up boy

So this is what it’s come to for Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Austrian bodybuilder-turned-actor, who was one of the biggest stars in the world roughly 20 years ago, is now starring in a movie (Sabotage) that won’t even get a theatrical release in Canada when it opens in the United States this week.

Fortunately, for him, the sci-fi franchise that kicked his career into high gear is still around, and still wants him. And this week, Schwarzenegger explained how it is possible that an actor who was 36 the first time he played a cyborg from the future can still play a product of the robot assembly line at the ripe old age of 66.

Speaking to MTV, he said: “The way that the character is written, it’s a machine underneath. It’s this metal skeleton. But above that is human flesh. And the Terminator’s flesh ages, just like any other human being’s flesh. Maybe not as fast. But it definitely ages. Terminator deals a lot with time travel, so there will be a younger T-800 model and then what that model does later on when it gets reprogrammed, and who gets ahold of him. So it will be all kinds of interesting twists in the movie.”

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How old was Sarah Connor, anyway?

Longtime readers of this blog may recall that I wrote quite a few posts about the Terminator franchise during the lead-up to The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009) and Terminator Salvation (2009). Among other things, I tried to untangle the timeline of the first three films and show how Sarah Connor herself was partly responsible for the nuclear war, plus I devoted entire posts to screen-caps of all the actors who played John Connor, Kyle Reese and Dr. Silberman.

Well, it looks like I’ll have to gear up for another round of blog posts now. The Hollywood Reporter says the makers of the next Terminator film are looking for actors to play the “young Sarah Connor” and the “young Kyle Reese”, as well as the offspring of these two characters: humanity’s future saviour John Connor.

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Review: Avatar (dir. James Cameron, 2009)

avatarTHERE IS a lot that can — and will — be said about Avatar over the next few months.

The latest sprawling epic from Titanic director James Cameron is a technical marvel and, at times, an awesome thrill ride. It also has the clunky dialogue and simplistic political and philosophical posturing that we have come to expect from his later efforts. And already there is much talk about the film’s chances at the Academy Awards in March.

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Saints, Sinners, and Salvation

The Terminator franchise — including the new Terminator Salvation — is full of religious imagery, much of it ultimately embracing hope for mankind.

Whenever people ask me what my favorite Christmas movie is, I tell them it’s The Terminator — and I’m only half-joking.

The film, which celebrates its 25th anniversary later this year, is not exactly a religious movie or even a holiday movie on any obvious level. It’s an R-rated sci-fi action film with plenty of violence, a fair bit of profanity, and a sex scene that was standard fare for modestly-priced B-movies of that time. And yet, there is something about the storyline, written by director James Cameron, that has always brought the Nativity to mind.

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Review: The Matrix (dir. the Wachowskis, 1999)

REALITY ISN’T what it used to be. For whatever reason — premillennial anxiety, post-modern rootlessness, the increasing verisimilitude of special effects — filmmakers are increasingly obsessed with the notion that the real world is, in fact, unreal. Last year gave us The Truman Show and Dark City, in which human protagonists awoke to discover they were trapped in cages under someone else’s watchful eye. Similar themes may surface next month in The Thirteenth Floor.

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Arnold wimps out / Terminator 2 lacks the brains and brawn of the original

WARNING!: If you have not seen T2 and wish to keep its story a surprise, do not read any further!

Terminator 2: Judgment Day opened to big box office returns and a great deal of hullabaloo over its precedent-shattering special effects. A few of you have even confessed to paying to see the spectacle a second or third time within a week of its opening. It’s rumoured to have cost over $100 million to produce, and there’s no doubt that the money is on the screen (unlike recent cheap big-budget films like Batman). Nobody seems to mind that the sequel is terribly inconsistent with the original film, both in its concept of time-travel and in its overall tone.

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