I still can’t quite bring myself to be optimistic about Terminator: Dark Fate. As much affection as I have for the franchise, I’ve been burned too many times. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was merely average (though it had a cool ending), Terminator: Salvation had a nonsensical plot and Terminator: Genisys? Eesh. Let’s just say I’ll wait for the reviews before I buy my ticket for opening night.
That said, there are some promising signs. First and foremost is that the film is ditching the series’ tangled continuity post-Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Also, it’s bringing back Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong, and James Cameron contributed to its story. Now, there’s one other factor weighing in the film’s favor, as it’s been officially rated R. The MPAA’s reasoning for this is for “violence throughout, language and brief nudity.” Sounds good to me.
While a PG-13 rated film can be fairly violent, part of the attraction of the first two Terminator movies were their body horror aspects. Whether it be the T-800’s flesh being gradually blasted away to reveal the metal skeleton underneath, the disgusting self-surgery Terminators perform on themselves or the grisly and efficient way the T-1000 dispatches whoever’s in its path, there’s been a thematic undercurrent of flesh vs. metal.
That battle is set to continue in Dark Fate, with the added question of who’s going to make it out alive? Director Tim Miller has said that the film will conclude Sarah Connor’s story, explaining that we’ll see her dealing with the impact of her past decisions. Given that it was probably tough convincing Hamilton to return in the first place, my prediction is that she may be in line for a big heroic death during the movie.
Also of interest is that the rights to the Terminator franchise may be about to revert to James Cameron. The recent rulings in the Friday the 13th case indicate that Dark Fate may have been put into production before a legal precedent is set on screenwriters owning the rights to their work. So, who knows, perhaps this could be the last Terminator movie for some time? Let’s hope it turns out to be a good one.