Films to See Before You Die: #12 Terminator 2: Judgment Day


Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Director: James Cameron

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick

Synopsis: It has been ten years since SkyNet sent a Terminator back in time that failed to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and her unborn son John. Now in the year 1994, a newer and more lethal model of Terminator, a prototype of the T-1000 model (Robert Patrick), has been sent back to kill John Connor (Edward Furlong) as a young boy. The resistance has once again sent a protector this time it is another Terminator a class T-800 model 101 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), that they have reprogrammed. John is in foster care living with a foster family, while Sarah has been locked up in a mental institution for trying to blow up a computer company and claiming a cyborg came back in time to try and kill her. The T-1000 finds John at a local mall where the other Terminator intercepts and gives John a chance to escape. The T-1000 is the superior of the two models and quickly dispatches the other model and continues after John. John and the T-800 are able to get away and it is later learned that the T-1000 is made of liquid metal and can form stabbing objects as well as copy other humans. John begins to panic when it becomes obvious the T-1000’s next target is his mother and that after copying a human the subject is then terminated leading to an epic rescue attempt by John and the T-800. After Sarah is safe they make their way to Mexico where Sarah plans to murder the creator of the SkyNet program Miles Dyson. John and the T-800 race to stop Sarah before it is too late Johna is continually trying to show the Terminator the value of human life. When what the implication of his actions are explained to him Dyson agrees to help them destroy SkyNet which leads to final confrontation with the T-1000.

Trivia: The original script did not call for the top of the truck to be ripped off during the chase through the storm drain beside/beneath the freeway, but when they arrived on location they found that the cab wouldn’t fit under the overpass so director James Cameron decided that the roof was going to have to come off. The sound used for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s shotgun is actually two cannons. The name of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator is the Terminator Series 800 (shiny metal endoskeleton) model 101 (Arnold’s actual skin on that skeleton).

Why I think you should see this: This is one of only a handful of series where the second movie is far superior to the first. This has to be one of the biggest budget for a sequel to a modestly budgeted first film James Cameron turned the dial to 10 with this one. Arnold Schwarzenegger is awesome in his signature role but this movie really belongs to Robert Patrick who gives us one of the most cold and calculating villains in film history. Both Linda Hamilton and Edward did a pretty solid job as mother and son. Check out the extended cut which has some interesting scenes including the T-1000 experiencing glitches after being frozen. This is a classic that explodes out of the screen at you so check it out sometime.


Films to See Before You Die: #33 Aliens


Aliens (1986)

Director: James Cameron

Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser

Synopsis: The shuttle containing Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is found 57 years after the events on the Nostromo, the mining ship that held Ripley and the rest of her crew. When she awakes she is met by Weyland-Yutani executive Carter Burke (Paul Reiser), who debriefs her on her mission and why she blew up such a valuable star ship. When she tells her superiors of a parasitic organism that used a crew member as a host and the resulting creature which is called a Xenomorph nearly wiped out everyone on board. They of course do not believe her and when she urges them to check it out they refuse because they have had a colony on the planet now dubbed LV-426. After a while they lose contact with the settlers on LV-426 Burke asks Ripley to help be an adviser for a team of elite Marines that is going in to assess the situation. Ripley agrees to go only on the condition that she will not directly be exposed to the xenomorphs if there happen to be any there. While they are searching the colony they realize that it is abandoned until they find a young girl named Newt (Carrie Henn) who is the only survivor. The Marines believe they have found the rest of the settlers but instead it is a trap and they are all but wiped out by the xenomorphs with only a few remaining. Now is up to Ripley and Cpl. Hicks (Michael Biehn) to get off the planet alive and nuke the remaining xenomorphs.

Trivia: The Alien nest set was kept intact after filming. It was later used as the Axis Chemicals set for Batman. When the crew of Batman first entered the set, they found most of the Alien nest still intact. Having hired James Cameron to write the screenplay, 20th Century Fox then did the unthinkable when he left the production to direct The Terminator: they agreed to wait for Cameron to become available again and finish the screenplay. Cameron had only completed about 90 pages at that stage, but the studio had loved what he had written so far.

Why I think you should see this: Here is another look at how good of a director James Cameron is with an incredible sequel to Alien. It is hard to believe this movie works so well with the lengthy time between movies and the change of genre but it is just so good. Sigourney Weaver is awesome as Ripley and Michael Biehn does a great job in another one of Cameron’s films. This is a great monster movie and I suggest you check it out sometime.

Films to See Before You Die: #50 Avatar


I have invited my Brother to write another post on my bloggy.  This is a movie that is quite close to his heart.  For more posts of  his, check out his blog at the Alternate Economy.

Avatar (2009)

Director: James Cameron

Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Steven Lang, Sigourney Weaver

Synopsis: We quickly find ourselves in a vibrant futuristic world following the life of a paraplegic ex-marine, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington).  He immediately finds himself entered into the Avatar program and is shipped off to outer space.  The destination; Pandora, a fertile and fully inhabited moon in another solar system.  When Jake arrives he is debriefed by Col. Quaritch (Steven Lang) on the hostile native community that is found on Pandora.  Finally, Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) show Jake his true reason for being there.  His new Avatar.  Through leaps in science, humanity has developed the ability to create hybrid bodies that are genetically linked to the host.  These bodies appear physically to be a member of the native alien race, however.  Jake learns how to link in to his new Avatar and literally control the alien body as if it were his own.  Through a series of spectacular adventures in the forests of Pandora, Jake meets Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) a beautiful Native princess of the Na’vi.  This is a story of rebellion, love and triumph where the Jake must choose between his marine past and his new Na’vi friends.

Trivia: To help the actors prepare for their roles, director James Cameron took the cast and crew to Hawaii, where they spent their days trekking through the forests and jungles and living like tribes (building campfires, eating fish, etc), in order to get a better sense of what it would be like to live and move around in the jungle on Pandora, since there would not be any actual jungle sets to aid and guide the actors and crew. Zoe Saldana even dressed up as a warrior during these journeys, complete with an alien tail symbolic of the one her character has in the movie. These hikes were only done during the daytime, though; the cast and crew spent their nights at a Four Seasons hotel.

Why I Think You Should See this Film: This film is absolutely visually stunning.  There is no comparison, at present time, that I can think of.  The depth of colour and the imagination involved in creating the alien moon, Pandora, are spectacular.  There is no visual detail left undone.  From unique grasses, and ferns and flowers, to alien insects.  Not to mention the amazing animals and scenes where Jake and Neytiri ride on winged banshees.  The flight scenes weaving in and out of the floating mountains (yes, they are exactly what they sound like) are breath-taking.  Although the story is a little predictable, the overall atmosphere of the film certainly makes up for it.  A must watch, in my opinion!