©2019 Kari Carlisle
The latest installment of the Terminator franchise, Terminator: Dark Fate, is edge-of-your-seat fun! See it early and see if often; the action and visuals are pure Terminator gold.
Now, that being said, I must disclose that I am a big fan of the first TWO Terminator movies. I vaguely remember seeing bits and pieces of later T-films and just not being all that impressed. Dark Fate brings the viewer back to the good old days of Sarah Connor as one of the primary characters. If you are all in on the expanded T-universe, I cannot speak to how well this movie stacks up to canon, so I’m not going there.
If you want a good-old-fashioned Terminator movie, here you go! I recommend the following:
Watch for the female characters. This film has triple the power of Sarah Connor! I love stories with females who are not just strong but also have depth. I would have been disappointed with carbon copies of Sarah and was rewarded with women who exhibit different strengths and weaknesses. They complement each other.
Appreciate the diversity. Science fiction has a long history of introducing diversity (if long means since the 1960s), but we’re finally starting to see actors of different ethnicities taking lead roles in recent years. And they’re not just plugging into traditional white roles – they represent their cultural differences, which is refreshing to see.
Leave your politics at home. There are some scenes in Dark Fate which have the potential to elicit strong political opinions regarding U.S./Mexico border issues, and it won’t matter what side of the “wall” you fall. I am convinced that these scenes are important to the story and presented in a neutral fashion, not meant to sway a viewer’s political leanings. So, don’t read into the movie what you think they’re trying to tell you. Just watch and enjoy the story unfold.
Feel the vulnerability. One of the things I love most about the first two movies is the vulnerability of characters underneath their strength. The strongest of us are still vulnerable in many ways, and Dark Fate continues that tradition of complex character development. These characters care, and we care about them. They experience loss and they feel it, not just sweep it under the rug and continue on to kick ass. They are affected by what happens to them, and each one has an arc that we can relate to in some way.
Love the family connections. One of the central themes of the T-films is about family connections. Pay attention to how that unfolds in Dark Fate. It’s interesting, moving, and thought-provoking. And on occasion a little weird.
Enjoy the sci-fi tropes. Time travel, robotics, artificial intelligence, and more (much more) make Dark Fate a sci-fi lover’s dream. You’ll recognize some old standby’s and be treated to some of the latest in future technology. I’m geeking out just thinking about it! Though, I must confess my head hurt a bit trying to follow the timeline in one scene, probably because I just got mentally lazy. Fortunately, the film stands whether you can follow the time travel bits or not. Maybe it just takes extra viewings!
Have fun. To be clear, as much as I rave about this movie, I harbor no illusions that it comes close to Oscar-worthy classic cinema. But if you appreciate the feeling of nostalgia, you will tingle with delight when images of Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger grace the screen, and you will melt when Sarah steals the line, “I’ll be back.” I read that Hamilton was hesitant to return to the franchise, afraid that she might let fans down by not being the Sarah we remember. Thank you, Linda, for coming back and recreating Sarah in the best ways possible!
Hold on tight! Dark Fate is a wild ride with all the ups, downs, twists, and turns, visually and in story and character arcs. Reserve your favorite seats, and buckle in!
Hasta la vista, baby!