Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Terminator 2: Judgment Day ★★★★★

Here's the thing with Terminator 2: Judgement Day - 3D Special Edition, since I first witnessed this masterpiece of science fiction and action moviemaking, it's remained one of my favourite films of all time. This introduced me to Arnold Schwarzenegger (an actor that I can't get enough of), and James Cameron (a director that has one of the most consistently good filmographies in my opinion). I was a young boy when T2 got introduced to me, through the extended special edition version. I instantly adored it. I was scared by it, enthralled to no end and captured in the story. Action scenes and stunts were incredible and blew my mind, and by the time the film was over I wanted to watch it again. There's only a few posters I have framed in my bedroom, one being the iconic Trainspotting poster above my bed and the other being Terminator 2. When I heard that they were creating a 3D conversion, I wasn't really that worried. They've converted many older films in 3D in the past, it was only going to be a matter of time before it happened to this one. I had no idea that it would come to UK cinemas though, and when it got announced, you bet I was going. Not even other plans could stop me from seeing my childhood favourite, one of the films that got me into cinema and movies in general in the first place, I had to be there. I got a few of my friends, ordered our tickets and waited giddily until Judgement Day. Well, I'm not a fan of 3D. There's not many films I've seen that are truly better in 3D. Yeah, sure it's cool at times but if the film can be viewed in 2D with the same reaction and enjoyment then what's the point? But, T2 in 3D not only astounded me, but my friends also, by just how good this conversion is.

On August 29th 1997, the world will experience a nuclear holocaust. Landmarks, buildings, greenery, people, everything will burn when Judgement Day comes. The only person who knows this though is Sarah Connor who, in present day 1995, is contained in a mental institution. Humanity's only hope is that of her son, John Connor, who's being hunted by a new and advanced Terminator, model T-1000. Also searching for John is a reprogrammed T-800 Terminator with the mission, to protect John Connor. In a battle of machines, can we win?

I've loved many movies that Arnold Schwarzenegger has been in. I don't acknowledge that he's a brilliant actor (although I haven't see his more recent, serious films), but he makes the films that he's in pure fun. The role of The Terminator though is one that could suit nobody else. The killing machine, that's robotic in its manoeuvring, allows Schwarzenegger to just kill it as a larger than life, terrifyingly strong and muscular badass. The direction they take his character in this sequel is one that works completely. He's a terrifying presence in the first, and in here he's someone that you can't stop rooting for. Honestly, how the filmmakers were able to pull off that drastic change without diminishing the Terminator in any way as perfectly as they did is surprising. That thumbs up shot is brilliantly emotional for an action spectacle. Schwarzenegger gets to incorporate some humanity into the Terminator, giving him the ability to say iconic catchphrases and develop a really touching and moving relationship with the other characters. In regards to action films, I don't think Schwarzenegger has ever topped his performance here. It's one of his best.

Also returning from the original film is Linda Hamilton, who's physical appearance and attitude has changed drastically. She's a complete badass here, becoming just as strong, just as merciless as a Terminator. In the first she was the damsel in distress, but here, she becomes one of the leading ladies in empowering and strong female characters in an action film. But, not only that, she gives a damn fine performance as well. As a character, Sarah is the only one who knows about Judgement Day, and the effects that that's had on her are present throughout Hamilton's performance. She's jumpy, scared, ruthless. The events have changed the character, and Hamilton makes that change very believable. In my opinion, her standout scene is the one where she first encounters Miles Bennett Dyson. That scene goes through everything the event has done to her, before Hamilton perfectly delivers the realisation of what she's become.

In the role of the T-1000, Robert Patrick is perfectly cast. He's a very menacing character. Even though he may not look as big or as strong as Schwarzenegger, you don't ever doubt that he could destroy him. He does become an unstoppable force, and, I don't want to say it's believable because this is a film about robots but, it's believable. Is he as iconic as Arnie was in the first, I'd say he is. He's that good. As a science fiction villain, he's memorable and brilliant. Edward Furlong plays young John Connor and he's not bad. There's only a few number of times where I'd say he's a slight bit annoying or even a little cringy, but for the most part his performance, which was also his debut, is solid. Especially in scenes that build upon the relationship he has with the T-800, he can't be better.

James Cameron wrote one of the best sequels ever with Terminator 2. When it comes to a sequel to an amazing film, almost always that sequel won't be as good as the original. It's very, very rare that the writer and director get the formula right and deliver exactly what they promised. A bigger and better film. Because that's what T2 is to me. It's my favourite Terminator film. And while I can say that the first is a perfect and masterful horror film, this one is a masterpiece of action and science fiction cinema. Cameron created The Terminator as an unstoppable killing machine. It was scary and menacing. Here, for the sequel, he gives it a twist and makes him a good guy while retaining what made the character so iconic. It continues the overall story really well, and gives audiences something new and intriguing that they hadn't seen before. And the screenplay is written well. The relationship between John and the T-800 is one that's moving and likeable. Never does this film feel less than excellent in the writing department.

Cameron's directing is also magnificent. It's a constantly moving film. Not once does it slow down or feel boring. And this is quite a long film, but it's always entertaining and enjoyable. The pace is fast, and as the film goes on and the stakes get higher, it only becomes faster. The cinematography is brilliant, especially during action scenes. Everything is visible and it looks fantastic. The stunts and everything that's going on, it's exactly what a summer, action blockbuster should be. It's glorious. Explosions, destruction, just complete brute force and there's a weight to every punch. I don't know if it was because of the restoration, but even the special effects still hold up. There's a few times where the T-1000's liquid metal form looks a bit dated, but everything else. The practical effects and the CGI, they're still really good. The score by Brad Fiedel, specifically the Main Title Terminator 2 Theme, is heart-pounding. Especially in the cinema, when that theme was playing, I had goosebumps.

The 3D conversion was daunting before I went in to see this. I haven't seen a 3D film in years, the last might've actually been another James Cameron classic with Titanic in 3D. I just believe that I could get the same out of the 2D experience, and I'd say that this applies to Terminator 2. However, what an experience this was in 3D. Everything looked expertly handled and it wasn't just the big action scenes that warranted the conversion. Literally this whole film looks pleasing in 3D. Everything from the prologue, the opening credits, the motorcycle and truck chase, literally every scene I'll remember for having great 3D. It's not necessary to watch it in 3D because this film is one of the greatest action films of all time, and even if it was in 2D on a cinema screen it would be incredible, but the 3D isn't detrimental to the film. It goes hand in hand very nicely and is one of the best conversions I've ever seen.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day - 3D Special Edition is one of the greatest cinema experiences I've ever had. It's not often that a one off showing becomes so popular, in Aberdeen of all places, to warrant the cinema to have three of its screens showing it at the same time on the same night. The screen was packed, and I mean packed, of fans. The atmosphere was incredible and it made me love the film even more, which I thought would've been impossible to do. Not only is T2 one of the greatest sequels ever made, but it's also one of the greatest action films ever made. It's acknowledged as a groundbreaking piece of cinema and it's not been detracted by time. This still feels groundbreaking.

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