Okay so I’m not sure this counts as part of this “binge” since it’s been a couple weeks since Part Five, but just accept it. If you missed the series, click here for day one.
Terminator: Dark Fate
Is it bad that I enjoyed this one? The reviews I saw for it were not very flattering, but thought it might have been the best since T2…
Maybe I’m just easy to please…anyway…
I’m not going to get too spoilery with plot points in this first section, but it’s hard to talk about it without “spoiling” its place in the timeline of the franchise, so if you want to know nothing going in, pull out now.
Going in, I wasn’t sure where in the timeline this movie fell. If you remember Genysis, the timeline got…reset?…pushed forward? Unclear. But this one (thankfully) starts off by telling you exactly where/when we are. Essentially, Dark Fate pretends that T3, Salvation, and Genysis never happened. That might be a good thing since they weren’t great movies, but it’s still a very weird way of handling a franchise. I will say, it was a better “reboot” of the series than Genysis was. While Genysis tried to re-write the beginnings of the story, this one kept those beginnings and just told a story to follow it. While T3 did feel like a sequel to T2, Dark Fate felt more like one, since the plot points from T2 directly influence what happens in it.
Linda Hamilton returns, after not being in the last three, and followed a logical trajectory from T2 in terms of her character. Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as well, still a badass. The main cast is rounded out by Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes, who both fit in well with the story and played their characters very well (I’ll get into more about who they play below the “spoiler” warning). Gabriel Luna is our enemy this time and plays the robotic assassin, as well as they, were in previous movies.
Not much to say about special effects, since it’s 2019 and making things look realistic is commonplace now. I will say, de-aging (which is featured in one scene) continues to impress me.
Okay, now I’ll do spoilers
Can we all agree that we don’t need any more Terminator movies? I mean, they’re mostly enjoyable(ish), but they keep telling the SAME EXACT STORY (aside from Salvation). Machine gets sent back in time to kill someone, other person/machine is sent back to protect that someone. Explosions. Gunfire. Etc. If you read my Day Five piece, I said that they should try telling new stories in this universe. They started to veer into that territory with this one, but it amounts to the same thing. The thing that saved this one is that, in my opinion, they actually kept with what had been established and worked to build off it. For the first half, you are led to believe that this is basically a retelling of T1, with the Terminator sent back to kill the mother of the savior (I didn’t believe that for one second TBH). Where this one differs is that it was actually sent back to kill the savior herself. This was a nice evolution of the story, but it still amounted to the same basic plot. So to whoever owns the rights to the franchise, TELL A NEW STORY OR LET IT DIE!!!
As most of the previous movies, this one adds something new, and in this case, they went with cybernetically enhanced humans (part of me thinks they just watched a trailer for Cyberpunk 2077), and I feel like it worked. It makes a lot of sense that the humans would try to fight back against the machines by becoming more machine. Don’t have much more to say about that.
As a whole, I think that this movie doesn’t fall into the “must watch” category, the way that T1 and T2 do. If you’re a fan of the franchise, go ahead and watch it, but don’t expect to be blown away. If you’re not a fan of this franchise, why are you reading this?