Terminator: Dark Fate

Terminator: Dark Fate (Tim Miller, 2019) wr. James Cameron et al.; Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor), Arnold Schwarzenegger (a T-800), Mackenzie Davis (Grace, augmented human), Natalia Reyes (container of a womb); release 23 October

An augmented human, Grace, and Sarah Connor must stop an advanced liquid Terminator (a Rev-9) from hunting down a young girl whose fate is critical to the human race.

A story about three women, this turkey was written by six men. It's deservedly set to lose over US$100m - and that was before COVID-19.

I did watch it all, but haven't a clue about all the time-travel palaver that passes for a 'plot' in this bomb. Also the cgi action scenes - which seemed suspiciously dark, as if to conceal the poor computer work - were incomprehensible, in terms of who/what's doing what to what/whom and whether they're dead yet.

Truly a meleagris gallopavo.

I'll pad this non-review out once again with the help of Wikipedia. I really like everything in the second paragraph:

The Hollywood Reporter wrote that critics overall seemed "cautiously excited about Dark Fate, although there's a certain awkwardness about seeing repeated recommendations that it is 'easily the third-best' movie in the series".[203] William Bibbiani of TheWrap wrote that, "Whether Terminator: Dark Fate is the last chapter in this story or the first in an all-new franchise is, for now, irrelevant. The film works either way, bringing the tale of the first two films to a satisfying conclusion while reintroducing the classic storyline, in exciting new ways, to an excited new audience. It's a breathtaking blockbuster, and a welcome return to form."[204] Variety's Owen Gleiberman called the film "the first vital Terminator sequel since Terminator 2" and wrote that "Terminator: Dark Fate is a movie designed to impress you with its scale and visual effects, but it's also a film that returns, in good and gratifying ways, to the smartly packaged low-down genre-thriller classicism that gave the original Terminator its kick."[61]

Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal gave the film a negative review, describing it as "cobbled together by dunces in a last-ditch effort to wring revenue from a moribund concept. The plot makes no sense—time travel as multiverse Dada. Worse still, it renders meaningless the struggles that gave the first two films of the franchise an epic dimension."[205] Jefferey M. Anderson of Common Sense Media gave the movie 2 out of 5 stars: "This sixth Terminator movie erases the events of the previous three (dud) sequels but winds up feeling half-erased itself. It's like a dull, pale, irrelevant carbon copy of a once glorious hit."[206] Christy Lemire of RogerEbert.com also gave Dark Fate 2 out of 4 stars, feeling that it suffered from "empty fanservice" and that Hamilton and her supporting female cast "deserves better".[207] David Ehrlich of IndieWire praised Hamilton's performance and the movie's digital recreations of her, Furlong's and Schwarzenegger's respective younger likenesses, but felt "this painfully generic action movie proves that the Terminator franchise is obsolete".[208] Tasha Robinson of The Verge stated that some combat sequences "are staged clearly and cleanly", while others "are packed with CGI blurs and muddy action and are hard to follow in even the most basic 'who's where, and are they dead?' kind of way. And when Dark Fate does deign to explain what's going on, it delivers its exposition in a self-important, hushed, clumsy way, as if audiences should be astonished by the most basic plot revelations."[209]

Fred Topel found the new protagonists to be grossly underdeveloped: "It was a mistake not to build Dani up the way John Connor was, and the film never earns the relationship it wants Grace and Dani to have." He was also critical of the way the film teamed these characters up with the T-800 that killed John Connor: "The explanation for why he's good in Terminator: Dark Fate is so stupid. I get what they were trying to do. The enemy of my enemy is my friend and they need a terminator to fight the Rev-9. The explanation for the terminator's turn is so thin it sounds like a plot synopsis they forgot to elaborate into a full scene." Topel believed that Dark Fate was "sillier" than Terminator 3, and he found the character of Pops in Terminator Genisys "a more compelling aging terminator."[210] Dani Di Placido of Forbes found the return of Carl almost satirical. "The return of the T-800 that killed John was my favorite part of the film, but in an ironic sense; the fact that the killing machine retired and raised a family was like something out of Rick and Morty. This was genuinely a funny concept, but did not belong in this franchise; Sarah Connor's relentless battle with these machines shouldn't have been reduced to a series of Marvel-esque one-liners."[211] Angie Han of Mashable found the film underwhelming and its title to be quite cogent: "Dark Fate is too thinly sketched to be anything but pastiche. It feels like a Terminator movie spit out by a machine designed to make Terminator movies. A dark fate for the franchise, indeed."[212]

Miller said the film was never meant to be better than Terminator 2. As to the mixed reception, Miller believed that audiences were predisposed to dislike the film after being disappointed by the last three films. Miller also believed that audiences "hate it because it's the sixth movie, and Hollywood should be making original movies and not repeating franchises".[47]

[first lines]
Sarah Connor: Children look like burnt paper. Black. Not moving. And then the blast wave hits them. And then they fly apart like leaves.
Dr. Silberman: Dreams of cataclysm, the end of the world are very common.
Sarah Connor: It's not a dream, you moron. It's real. I know the date it happens.
Dr. Silberman: I'm sure it feels real to you.
Sarah Connor: On August 29, 1997 it's gonna feel pretty fucking real to you too! Anybody not wearing two-million sunblock is gonna have a bad day. Get it?

Mackenzie Davis: an ambiguous name for an androgynous person. Her character name in this is Grace, a state in which she is not. She is, however, is augmented. They do say and show how and why she is faster, stronger etc., but it was of little interest to me by the time they got around to it.  It is the young girl's womb that is critical to the future - apparently she's going to give birth to some hero (no doubt a male one) - as Linda Hamilton's character Sarah Connor gave birth to John (who gets bumped off in the opening scenes of this new film, btw, to the horror of many fans).  Arnie is not human; he's totally a robot.  One of the implausible ideas in the film is that he has settled down like an actual human, in the woods in Virginia or somewhere, with a wife and child.  I don't think they explained how a robot can impregnate a human, but I might have missed that among all the other implausibilities.

References and Links

IMDb page.

Wikipedia page.


Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 21 March, 2019 | Now: 25 March, 2020