Sunday, July 05, 2015

7 Days in May | Terminate the Fugitive

The Terminator (1984)

I don't have any special interest in Terminator Genisys, but it does remind me that David hasn't seen any of the Terminator movies yet and is old enough. So we watched the first couple.

The first one is still my favorite. It's such a small movie in many ways, from the relative obscurity of its cast to its perfectly cyclical and self-contained little plot. It's just a brilliant scifi horror/thriller awesomely executed.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

I don't like Judgment Day as much, primarily because this is where the story starts to get sloppy. It opens a nasty can of worms to have the future machines be able to send back Terminators to various points in the timeline, basically getting a do-over whenever they fail. That means that the humans can never completely win, which is good for keeping the franchise going, but bad for viewers hoping for any kind of closure.

However... That being said, T2 does a great job of cleaning up after itself. In The Terminator, all the good guys wanted was to protect the version of the future in which they were able to defeat the machines. In T2, they're able to actually stop the machines from taking over to begin with. And with some great character development for Sarah Connor, a touching story between John and his robot friend, and huge action set pieces that the original couldn't afford. It works really well and I can see why so many people call it their favorite.

The only thing I don't like about it is the way it leaves the door unlocked for endless sequels. I enjoy Rise of the Machines and even Salvation well enough as movies (in fact, I like Salvation a little better than Rise of the Machines), but the timeline gets so convoluted after Judgment Day that I get bored with trying to keep track. Which goes back to my lack of interest in Genisys. I'll probably end up catching it on Netflix one day, but as far as my head canon goes, the series is only two movies long.

The Fugitive (1993)

There's an episode or four of Clone Wars late in Season 5 that are a direct homage to The Fugitive. I'd been wanting David to see it for a while anyway, because I've been itching to share Wrongfully Accused with him, so this was a good excuse. It's still a great mystery/thriller and Tommy Lee Jones still steals the show. One of the best of Harrison Ford's movies from the '90s and he made a bunch of great ones.

A couple of surprises this time: I'd built up Julianne Moore's role in my head as being much bigger than it is, and I was tickled to recognize Jane Lynch in an early role as one of Richard Kimble's doctor friends.

Wrongfully Accused (1998)

One of my favorite Leslie Nielsen comedies. I usually call it my favorite, but I need to see Airplane! and Naked Gun again. Wrongfully Accused relies more heavily on pop culture references than those movies, so the jokes aren't as original, but man it makes me laugh. I have to stop the movie every single time I get to the scene with the out-of-control lowrider so I can catch my breath and wipe tears from my eyes. And the whole scene in the bait shop with John Walsh from America's Most Wanted and Maury Hannigan from Real Stories of the Highway Patrol is especially full of great gags.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Finally, the Marvel rewatch continues. There's a lot that I love about The Dark World, but my main reason for doing this is to track the development of the Infinity Stones story and this is where it starts to ramp up. In fact, I'm pretty sure this is where the term "Infinity Stones" is mentioned for the first time. We also get to see the third Stone so far. The Tesseract contains the Space Stone and - while it hadn't yet been revealed at this point - Loki's staff contains the Mind Stone. Malekith's amorphous Aether is somehow also a Stone, though if we get to see how it takes solid form, I missed it. It looks like it's just being contained in a special box when Sif turns it over to the Collector for safe keeping.

I also don't think it's been revealed in the movies which Stone the Aether is, but consensus seems to be that it's the Reality Stone. In the comics, that one has the power to bend the laws of physics to the user's will, so that fits with the weird gravitational stuff we see in Dark World. I'm sure it'll become clearer as we go.


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

I hear you about Genesys. The trailer just seemed to say "do you remember that Terminator existed? Well we do and we're here to exploit it!"

That latest trailers spoiled the big twist about john Connor and showed Matt Smith doing some of the hammiest mugging I've ever seen. This one is a rental for sure. That's probably the best way to keep track of all the Days of Future Past type reset they're doing here anyway.

Rise of the Machines is really just a compressed cover song of the first two movies. I admire Salvation for trying a lot of new things but I also hate that it botched the ending with the stupid plan of locking John Connor in a room.

Both Rise and Salvation suffer because "the twist" that they put towards the end is supposed to be clever but doesn't align with any of what we've seen in their respective films. I should rail on this in more detail on Geek Fallout someday. Thanks for letting me have a trial run here.

Ken O said...

I'm with you on the first Terminator, it was perfect. What I would have loved to see is a Reese movie where it ends with him traveling back in time to the start of the first movie. Infinite Terminator loop!

What did David think of them?

Michael May said...

He was totally into them. It was really cool, because he didn't know that Arnold was the good guy in T2 until that moment in the hallway when he saves John's life. David was all, "Whaaat?"

NoelCT said...

Julianne Moore was originally meant to have a much bigger role in Fugitive, as his sister-in-law whom he has to convince to help him, but she fell victim to on set rewrites.

I highly recommend the Terminator TV series. It didn't get to pay off nearly enough of what it set up, but the way it subverted many aspects of the franchise and openly used the frustrations of the timeline to drive and explore the characters was so intriguing that it completely refreshed the series for me.

Michael May said...

I might need to give it another try. I gave up on it early because of my frustration with trying to keep everything straight, but with Terminator - if I'm going to enjoy it at all - I've got to give up the idea of wanting it to make sense.


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