Picoreview: Terminator: Dark Fate: This is the sequel I’ve been waiting for since I was eighteen years old.
Look. I’ve got a lot invested in Linda Hamilton, okay? She and Ron Perlman taught me to love both poetry and my name. She remains the single physical icon I would emulate if I…had a personal trainer and an unlimited budget and a massive feature film promoting me…;) I love her. I’ve thought for a long time that I love her more than her acting skills are worth, but actually, having watched Dark Fate, I’m not at all sure about that anymore. She’s better in this than anything I’ve ever seen her in, and that’s partly because the role is well written, partly because she’s old enough to be out of fucks, and partly because, tbf, she’s been in a fair amount of awful stuff. :)
But Dark Fate is straight-up the movie I’ve been waiting for since 1991. It’s the first Terminator film since T2 that understands who the hero of these stories is, and honestly, to me, that’s everything. I was trying VERY HARD not to go in with high expectations, because it’s been 28 years and a lot of bad movies (and one pretty decent tv show, even if I’m an outlier who does not care for the actress who played Sarah Connor in that show), and really there was absolutely no way Dark Fate could live up to my hopes.
And I would be lying if I said it met my expectations. The truth is that it exploded my expectations immediately and left me wide open for just seeing what the hell happened next. I had a tension headache at the end of it, okay? I was all in.
The opening night audience applauded when Hamilton made her entrance. (The second time I saw it, the woman beside me fist-pumped violently.) At the end credits, the woman I was with on opening night seized my arm when Mackenzie Davis’s name came up on screen and she blurted, “Is that her? Is that the name of my future girlfriend?” (I assured her it was. :)) She and Hamilton played off each other like oil and water, they were great. The third woman in the film, Natalia Reyes, whose journey parallels Sarah’s in T1, probably did a better job than Hamilton did in the role 35 years ago. They were all terrific, but Hamilton holds the film together and I was there for it.
Gabriel Luna, as the new Terminator, actually has a chance to act, and dear stars up above that man is charismatic. Holy moly. HOOOLEEEE MOOOOLEEE. And Arnie, who is actually a very funny man, gets to be deadpan funny in this, which is honestly all I could ask for from him.
But it’s Hamilton’s show, and she knocks it out of the park. I’ve seen it twice and hope to see it at least two more times before it’s out of the theatre. It kills me that it’s not doing well at the box office, because I really, truly think it’s the best Terminator film in decades, but being good doesn’t necessarily mean able to overcome, what, three other sequels? and a tv show? At the box office. Yeah. I’m really hoping positive word of mouth will give it legs, though.
(There appears to be two kinds of responses to it. John Scalzi and me are on the “holy shit YEAH” side and other people are…not. :))
I dunno. Because of the polarized responses, I feel like it’s hard to say OMG GO SEE IT to everybody. But at the same time…OMG, GO SEE IT! :) :) :)