November 4, 2019

Terminator: Dark Fate:  So is this latest installment of the Terminator series worth your duckets at the movie theatre?   Terminator was the inspired story of James Cameron, who both wrote the story and directed the film from 1984.   According to IMDB, it cost $6.4M to make.  Cumulative worldwide gross is over $78M.   The original framed the story around time travel and future Artificial Intelligence (AI) network, called Skynet, who sends back a terminator to kill the unborn child of the human resistence from that future, named John Connor.   The futuristic humans had defeated the robots and Skynet decided to get creative.   Arnold Schwarzenegger was a Mr Universe body-builder at the time who’s previous claim to fame was Conan The Barbarian.  This new role took his career to new heights!   He was perfect in the role, even though he was the bad guy sent to kill our heroine, and mother to the future world leader.   She was played by Linda Hamilton, as a naive young woman working in a diner, and still figuring out the direction in her life.   Future John manages to send back a human body guard and protector for her, named Reese who fights back the Terminator.   It was exciting.  It had mostly car chase sequences and plenty of shooting and hand to hand combat.   It was a success by any measure, and also launched James Cameron too.  Terminator was his third film.   He went on to do the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day, along with Aliens, True Lies, Titanic and Avatar among others.   He is now an iconic director, writer and producer.   In the sequel Judgment Day from 1991, John is a young teen and staying with foster families.   His Mom has become locked up in a psych ward for his visions of the future and the theory of a person sent to kill her.   The future tries again and sends a new, updated terminator, with new abilities like being formed out of liquid metal, and being able to take the shape of those things that it touches.   It is virtually indestructible.   The human resistance sends a protector for John this time in the form of an original terminator, played once again by Arnold.   Linda Hamilton, John and the terminator are trying to defeat Skynet and eliminate the people responsible for creating this new AI defence network.   All the while the new liquid terminator chases them.   The effects were better, the chases more intense and there was clearly more money spent on making this a memorable franchise, according to IMDB $106M.   The cutting edge CGI effects were amazing.   The story was solid and there was a good emotional tie in between young John and his terminator.   The future in the end seemed to be, for the first time for Sarah and John, a new possibility rather than nuclear destruction and pain.

James Cameron then bowed out to leave the franchise in the hands of others and it lost its way.   Terminator 3 was released in 2003, followed in 2009 with Terminator Salvatation and then Terminator Genesys in 2015.    There were some good actors involved in the projects, like Christian Bale as John Connor, and Claire Danes, Emilia Clarke and always Arnold.    But it was flat.   This is the franchise history, and because of the last three missteps I was skeptical heading into viewing Dark Fate.   What I can say is that it doesn’t suck.    This is a good thing.   James Cameron is back involved as producer, and also a writer (shared).  He isn’t directing.  Tim Miller is who directed Deadpool.   The story picks up where Judgment Day left off.   Some time has passed and a couple of new aspects to the story that arise which were not known from the previous two films.   The future once again has decided to send back warriors to try and have impact on the future.   There is an even newer version of a Terminator as well as another protector.   I have some challenges with the underpinnings here, and mostly from the capabilities of this new terminator.   There are things that it can do which simply don’t make much sense.  I won’t detail them here but this is a formidable foe, which in some emulates the Agents from The Matrix, primarily being the theme that you don’t try to fight them, but you just try to run.   I give nothing away to say that Arnold also has a role to play, he is on the postor after all as well as trailers.   Does it make sense that a robot ages?    Not really when you think about it.  The combat exoskeleton surrounded by flesh to avoid human detection wouldn’t require those robotic manufacturers to anticipate aging and grey hair and beards.   It is a practical aspect by continuing to use Arnold that you don’t try and keep him looking like he did back in 1984 at 37 years old.   Now he is 72 yo.   Also, some of the stunts and actions of the new robot terminator are also a little far fetched.   But setting aside the logic of it all, it was entertaining.   It had some humour in it, which is welcome for a genre which is pretty dark and depressing.   There is some new political reality with the new terminator starting in Mexico, and the reality of trying to cross the US border and dealing with Border Patrol.    Other present day issues also are touched upon.   In the end, it was worth seeing.

Last night I watched The King, with the young up and coming Timothee Chalamet, who seems to be getting a lot of quality work.   He will be in the upcoming Little Women, also with Sairose Ronan and others.    He was in Call Me By Your Name, Beautiful Boy and Lady Bird.   Much could be said about him, but suffice it to say that the 23 year old actor has been making a positive impression with film goers and the Academy alike.   This latest Netflix release is a quality addition to his resume.   I would venture to say that this could harness him another Best Actor nominee (he received one for Call Me By Your Name).   The story in The King, talks about the life of King Henry V, set in the early 1400s.   Henry has an uneasy relationship with his father, Henry IV, who according to this story wasn’t going to actually name Henry as his successor.   That was going to fall to his younger brother.   Henry IV wasn’t well liked and was prevented from addressing his foreign affairs ambitions because of internal country strife and squabbling.   A guy called Shakespeare wrote a play about this King before, and it pretty well known.    This story focuses on his relationship with his counsellors, his friends, and his battles with France.   Chalamet gives a very good performance, filled with emotion and tenacity.   He shows range and commands the respect you would expect he would deserve.   I found it believable, and he shows the underlying desire to not be his father in many respects.   I will leave the details as to what occurs to the viewer.   Suffice it to say that this was a worthwhile movie to watch.   The find here, in addition to the lead was The Dauphine played by Robert Pattinson.   He has distanced himself well from the days of Twilight, and has done quality roles.  I have heard good things about The Lighthouse with Willem Dafoe, filmed in black and white.   This is a quality role and he provides some fullness to it.  He is not just a bad Frenchman.

I will note that there was no epilogue to this story explaining what happens to the young Henry V.   Yes, he was well loved and strategically well versed.  He had good advisors and followed a gut instinct.  He married young to the daughter of the King of France, and had one son.   He also died at the age of 35 years old.   Some reports claim dysentery and others claim from heat stroke.   He never really got to enjoy life fully as you might have hoped or expected.    By knowing this, a line given by the French King to him late in the film may provide some ideas as to which was the filmmakers here believe that he died.   For those who like historical drama and those who especially like British monarchy stories, this is a good one.   Just note that all this intrigue and deceit all takes place 400 years before Canada even becomes a country!!

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