The Forced March of a Terminator

November 24, 2007 at 9:13 pm Leave a comment

The Forced March of a TerminatorThe geek sites are on red alert.There has been a “rumored-confirmation” that the next Terminator film has officially signed a director. This will mark the fourth Terminator feature and the second not helmed by James Cameron.

The original Terminator propelled Cameron, one of today’s most successful Hollywood filmmakers, into superstardom. The film then became a legal weight around his neck when science fiction writer Harlan Ellison sued the production for plagiarism, citing The Outer Limits episode “Soldier” as being the kernel from which Cameron based the film. Cameron was said to be willing to fight the case but the production company settled. So this announcement, a new Terminator movie, is good news for one person other than the production company and that is Harlan Ellis.

I can easily believe, much the same way John Carpenter gets royalty payments for all sequels and remakes of the classic Halloween, dollars to doughnuts, an armored car pulls up and delivers a few sacks of cash to Harlan Ellis every time this project is rekindled. It’s unclear whether the same can be said for James Cameron.

So it was a disappointment when Terminator 3 rolled out and Cameron’s fingerprints were nowhere to be found. As for the ending of the film, I do not dare speak for Cameron, but I was saddened that it spiraled into the nuclear holocaust that the characters from Cameron’s first two Terminator films fought so hard to prevent. Now the series is stuck with that decision and will more than likely portray the war between Cyberdyne and the surviving population, led by John Connor.

At the same time as the new feature is ramping up, there is also a new television show set to premiere on Fox: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

The official Fox website states:
THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES represents an exciting reinvention of the “Terminator” franchise, in which the strong and intrepid Sarah discovers that protecting her son and stopping the rise of the machines is more difficult than she had ever imagined.

Okay, so the series is not officially part of the film continuity but is set after Cameron’s T2 and before Terminator 3.

One of the main characters in The Sarah Connor Chronicles is rumored to be a Terminator, who interacts with Sarah and her son, John. Only after a few episodes is the cat let out of the bag and the Terminator revealed. The problem the series must contend with is how to explain away the idea of a Terminator hanging out with its prey. This isn’t a cat toying with a wounded sparrow before the inevitable chomp; this is a machine with only one function programmed into its circuitry and that is to find and kill its prey, immediately. No hesitation. No swapping brownie recipes.

So this is no longer a boutique series like Star Wars, created and brought to screen directly from the mind of one individual. Due to the fact that Cameron doesn’t (and never did) own the rights to the Terminator property, it has become, singly, a financial cash cow. There is much less thought, if any, given to continuity or quality than there is for how to find more ways to sell the franchise to the public.

As with the Alien franchise, eventually the cost will outweigh the returns, or possibly they’ll find the next James Cameron, young, hungry, driven, genius, and that person will reignite the series and spin it into an amazing new direction. But that new genius won’t own the creation and the studios will move right on to another sequel.

Coming to you in five years: 2012: Terminator v. Alien v. Predator, directed by Uwe Boll – the year the Mayan calendar ends and the year which Nostradamus predicted will be the end of the world.

I’ll see you in line.



Entry filed under: News. Tags: , , , , .

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