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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

For fans watching current action movies, Computer Generated Graphics seem very smooth, barely visible as being different from the flow of the movie. However, there was a time when such CG were rough, easily discernible and unable to handle complicated effects. And then came this movie, Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991. The Computer Graphics used in this movie were plain revolutionary, done by a firm called Industrial Light and Magic. This was the turning point in the world of cinema, where the effects used were incredible, causing awe in the minds of fans who would have seen such effects for the first time.
The movie was an incredible success for many reasons. It generated very positive critical acclaim, earned a lot of money worldwide - more than $500 million (even though the movie was the most expensive movie ever made at that point of time, costing approx $100 million), and earned very high reputations for its director James Cameron (who became known for his Midas touch, making the Titanic later, which earned over a $1 billion), as well as for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

The movie also earned 4 Academy Awards (truth to say, these were all technical awards - the Academy would never have given any of the picture or acting awards to such an out and out commercial movie). These awards were:
Best Sound,
Best Make Up,
Best Visual Effects, and
Best Sound Editing
The movie takes off from the first Terminator picture. It has now been 10 years since the incidents of the first terminator movie, and the machines decide to play their hand again. They send an advanced model to kill the young John Connor (Edward Furlong), so that the insurrection happening much later can be stopped. This time, the humans do not send a human to protect him, but instead send a modified Terminator series cyborg (similar to the killer of the first machine). The terminator sent by the machines is an advanced machine, capable of changing itself into different forms and shapes (using a technology called liquid metal) - although it cannot convert itself into more complex machinery such a gun. It is still as ruthless as ever, single-minded in its quest to kill John Connor.
John Connor lives with foster parents since his real mother Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) has been committed to a psychiatric institution given that she would forever keep on warning about a future man vs. machine war - something that John is very cynical about. There is a climatic sequence very early in the movie when the terminator and the protector cyborg both locate John, and Arnold is able to save him. This was actually the first time that the audience learned that the feared terminator from the first movie is actually a savior.
John learns very early that he is in the cross-hairs of a powerful terminator. He also learns that his mother would be the next target, and manages to order / persuade the savior terminator (Arnold) to save his mother. They reach there, and as soon as Sarah sees the terminator, she is terrified, but is convinced by John that he is there to help. They manage to outrun the advanced model (T-1000). Arnold tells her more about how Skynet was set up, as well as the creator of the network. They soon reach their weapons arsenal, with John trying to understand more about the terminator.
Sarah is over-wrought and soon sets out to kill Miles Bennett Dyson (Joe Morton), the creator of Skynet, and almost succeeds, but John and the Terminator reach there in time. They team up with Miles to destroy whatever he has done; however, in the effort Miles gets killed and blows up the complex. And then follows a thrilling chase where the T1000 chases Sarah, John, and the Terminator. This involves a helicopter, a big liquid nitrogen truck (and the viewers get to see one of the incredible special effects of the movie - the T1000 assembling itself from a pool of solid -> melting to form liquid metal). There are some fight scenes, but in the end, it is a battle to the end. How do John and Sarah survive the fearsome might of the T1000 ?

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