Friday, May 22, 2009

Musings on the Terminator and the Matrix

While perusing the reviews for Terminator: Salvation on Rotten Tomatoes, which concur in the assessment that the newest installment in the Terminator franchise is high tech, low heart, I had the thought that the war against the machines was already filmed. It's likely been said elsewhere, but the Matrix Trilogy is certainly the spiritual, if not literal sequel to the storyline the Terminator films set up. There are brilliant cinematic nods to Cameron's films, such as Neo and Trinity's arrival at the skyscraper to free Morpheus. The industrial percussion of the musical score is nearly identical to the music of the Terminator films, and the entry and subsequent slaughter of security guards and policemen mirror each other. The relentless nature of Agent Smith is certainly a nod to the various Terminators.

On a somewhat deeper note, the rise of the machines would certainly have given way to the world the freedom fighters of Zion exist in, or under. Perhaps they exist on a separate time line where John Connor didn't pull things off. At any rate, the last battle of humans against the machines in Matrix Revolutions certainly ends in a way consistent with the progression of Arnold's Terminator from assassin to protector. The final sacrificial moments of Terminator 2 are inverted by Neo, as he makes a sacrificial act to create peace between the machines and the humans, fully realizing the relationship begun by Sarah Connor and the T-100.

While I haven't seen the film yet, my guess is that this is potentially what the new film is missing. Some sense of the transcendent, which is necessary to breathe life into films or stories filled with automatons, be they medieval golems, animated corpses ala Frankenstein (which this new Terminator film apparently shares kinship with), droids, robots, or Terminators. I'll be curious to see if, contrary to the reviewers' opinions, there is indeed a ghost in McG's new machine.


  1. I'll tell ya what the new terminator flick lacks!

    a comprensible script and new exciting action scenes!

  2. I guess I am an outliner on this one. I thought that the newest movie was really good. It's true that Bale's performance felt a little phoned in but all in all it was fun and faithful to the original.

    Ever since I was a kid I wanted to see a fleshed out version of the future of John Connor that the previous movies only hinted at. this movie delivered.