I really never understood the title of Judgment Day for this film, because it really wasn’t a “Judgment Day”. It doesn’t take away from the film which in its time was pretty great. However, rewatching it you can see how storytelling and movie magic has evolved greatly. Even if you compare this to Avatar (another James Cameron film), the storytelling has definitely changed. I remember as a preteen when I first saw this film, my first thought was “wait, there was a first one, I have to see that one as well”. I loved it that much because it was something I had not seen since Star Wars really. I felt like this was the next step in sci-fi film evolution.
T2 was everything a sequel should be. It outshone its predecessor and really had several elements that really stood out in the film. First was the new terminator, the T1000 (Robert Patrick). Visual effects aside, he was a cunning and sophisticated enemy that was both charming and deadly at the same time. He played the role of wolf in sheep’s clothing perfectly, although being far more advanced, he lacked the good detective skills to really excel as the ultimate threat. When you throw in those visual effects, one can only wonder if this film was made today how much greater the T1000 would be.
Another element that really stands out in this film is the ability to fill in the background without having to drag out long, unneeded backstories. The new terminator was out to kill John Conner (Edward Furlong). The old terminator (by looks) was reprogrammed to save him. Meanwhile, the events of the first film made Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton) go completely crazy. Of course, why wouldn’t she? If you had a maniac robot come from the future to kill you because your son will be this great leader for the resistance, that would do a number on you too. Sara is institutionalized because no one will listen to her. The great thing is that we don’t have to go through a long backstory to see how she got there. Between the institution and her rescue by John and his new terminator friend, we know exactly how crazy she has gotten. She especially goes off the deep end when she attempts to assasinate a guy who has no idea that, in the future, he will be the cause for the near extinction of humankind. Hamilton does a wonderful job playing the role of warrior, mother, and lunatic all while keeping her character grounded as well.
Finally, it is the relationship between John and the Terminator. This is an interesting relationship in that John Conner for all intensive purposes is a bad apple. He’s a teenage/pre-teen trouble-making kid who doesn’t respect anyone. He was raised by a woman who spent his early years teaching him to be a soldier and survive. Now here he is with what turns out to be his own personal terminator to control. As we see their relationship evolve however, we see that the terminator becomes something more. The boy for so long was waiting for a father figure. A real father figure. And here is this robot from the future that ends up playing that role. As for the terminator, we see him evolve from just a machine to something more human. He learned what it is like to be human, and felt compassion. He realizes that, although there are some that appear are not worth saving, it is the few that outweigh the many. I automatically think of how we have all fallen short and not worth saving yet God shows us mercy and Jesus meets us right where we are. Though our mother or father forsake us, God is there to fill that parental role we need in our life. No matter how much the world around us seems to crumble and fall, we have a God that is willing to die for us just so that we can be saved. The few outweigh the many, and Christ died so that we can have a chance.
T2 is definitly a film worth revisiting, although I would caution that, when seeing it now, it is not as amazing as before. But who cares right? Just to hear Arnold say “Hasta la vista, baby” is good enough for me.