While I was watching the teaser trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate, a mixed reaction overcame me. On one hand, I was mildly excited and curious to see what the next installment in the franchise would look like with direct involvement from James Cameron and the OG Connor, Linda Hamilton. On the other hand, I was reminded of previous disappointment and repeated failed attempts to win my heart over. I’ve been an avid fan of the first two Terminator films ever since I was a young boy. Terminator 2: Judgment Day has a special place in my heart as it was one of the very first films I ever saw. Fast-forward to 2019: I have become much more seasoned with age and experience, and I feel a slight trepidation with this newest entry.
The teaser definitely conveys spectacle: graceful, agile bodies moving along death-defying stunts in super-slow motion; explosion and things blowing up left and right; furrowed brows and cold stares; and characters kicking ass or taking names. But through all that mind-numbing spectacle, I was left with a stale taste of familiarity. Movies like The Matrix Reloaded came to mind. Movements like the title character of Alita: Battle Angel were recalled (another James Cameron-produced feature). Spectacle considered, it’s not enough for me at this point. The narrative meat of the Terminator films after T2 for me has felt like misguided filler between action sequence after action sequence. I crave thoughtful and personal complexity in my characters as much as I crave incredible and larger-than-life stakes in my action.
With all that said, my answer is “meh” for the time being. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me Salvation and Genisys, we’ll just wait until November and see, I guess. For all I know is the future is not set; there is no fate but what we make.