Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Impaired Judgment (Day)

Here we go again.

Two years ago, the Terminator franchise saw both its big and small screen appendages consigned to the twin scrapheaps of box office ignominy and audience apathy, and at the time I assumed that was that for the House that Cameron built. But this is Hollywood, where ideas don't die, they just get rebooted. And with the property swooped up early last year by consortium Pacificor at fire sale prices after previous owners Halcyon went under, a new attempt to reprogram the series is in the offing and being shopped to studios, this time with sexagenarian star Arnold Schwarzenegger -- newly freed-up from his tenure inflicting Judgment Day on California's finances -- attached (somewhat inexplicably) to reprise the titular cyborg he first originated in 1984.

Beyond Schwarzenegger's involvement and that of Fast & Furious director Justin Lin to helm, not much is known about the specific plans Pacificor has for the property, such as whether they'll continue in the vein of 2009's Terminator Salvation, which starred Christian Bale and Sam Worthington and really should have been a whole lot better, or whether they'll simply ignore that and go in another direction entirely. That said, Lin's presence doesn't exactly fill me with confidence, evoking shades of Salvation's misbegotten McG experiment. Now, not having seen any of the Fast films (Lin's or otherwise), I'm not in any position to comment on whether he's a better or worse choice, but I don't think it's much of a stretch to say he's no James Cameron.

And based on both Salvation and the Sarah Connor Chronicles television series flaming out so quickly, a pretty compelling case could be made for this franchise simply having run its course without its original creator involved (notwithstanding Terminator 3 -- which I happen to like). While I think it would be best served by a very long moratorium, I totally understand the appeal of getting Ah-nuld back in black for his signature role, both for the Governator himself as well as the curent rights holders, but without a singular, Cameron-like presence to guide to the proceedings away from the hedge fund managers and investment bankers that have been setting the future since T2 twenty years ago, it's not going to matter very much in the longterm.

1 comment:

Ian Sokoliwski said...

Perhaps an aging cyberneticist who designs a cyborg, making him look like a younger version of himself. Sort of an Austrian Dr Soong, or something. Skynet then co-opts his design work...throw in Franco Columbo as another cyberneticist and this could be an interesting idea.

Heck, make this something along the lines of Arnold's cyberneticist having designed the cyborg when he was younger, as an idealized version of himself, and now, decades later and as a survivor of Judgement Day, he is embittered about his creation having been involved in so much destruction and death.

You know, it would be an interesting stretch to see Arnold (and the franchise in general) attempting something more dramatic, dealing with the guilt and regret of this character concept. Perhaps at this stage, he could even pull it off. I dunno. But then I'm one of the few people that appreciated what he was trying to do, performance and script-wise, with End of Days, so what do I know...