After what may have felt like forever, #Terminator fans finally have a reason to celebrate. Just recently, blockbuster king #JamesCameron regained the rights to the franchise that gave birth to his massive career. Though he won't direct the next Terminator film, Cameron's presence as a "godfather figure" for the popular movie franchise is more than enough reason for some to have faith in the series again.
Cameron's return to the #SciFi landmark is a good step in the right direction for the series, but it's not the only thing the new Terminator should do to win fans back.
Here are seven things that the upcoming sixth Terminator entry should do to ensure a cinematic comeback that the once wayward, but still popular, franchise rightfully deserves.
1. Bring The R Rating Back
The first #Terminator movie was definitely a product of the '80s. It was a bleak piece of speculative fiction with hard-hitting action sequences.
The next two Terminator movies (#JudgmentDay and #RiseOfTheMachines) are officially R-Rated, but they toned down the level of onscreen carnage and resembled popcorn action movies instead of the genre's hardcore side. The same can't be said for the last two entries (#Salvation and #Genisys), since they were both rated PG-13 and made for younger viewers. Sadly, none of the sequels were able to recapture the gritty and violent tone of the original.
Excluding exceptions like #JohnWick or Mad Max: Fury Road, recent action movies have been criticized for being watered-down entries to the genre, and the more recent Terminator movies are an excellent example of that practice. The original Terminator once set a standard for the action genre and its next entry can do this again by returning the series to its R-Rated beginnings.
2. Return To The Original's Horror Roots
The Terminator movies are generally thought of as action entertainment, even if the first film fits more comfortably into the horror genre. The film can be seen as a sci-fi slasher horror movie where a nearly invulnerable killer relentlessly stalks its prey. This was no accident. #JamesCameron wanted to make his very own horror film as an answer to the movies his film-making friends had produced in the genre, especially John Carpenter's #Halloween (1978) -- a movie that would impress and inspire Cameron.
Cameron also once said that the Terminator came from a nightmare he had about a metallic torso using kitchen knives to drag itself out of a raging fire.
Check out Cameron's drawing of his nightmare below.
But after being introduced as a robotic slasher killer, the T-800 became an action hero and an ally of the human resistance. Because of this change, the impact and tension the machine originally had was lost. The upcoming Terminator 6 should remind audiences why the T-800 was originally feared before it became humanity's unlikely defender and an immortal pop culture icon.
3. Stop Recycling The Plot Of Judgment Day
To defend the future leader of the human resistance, a protector travels back in time to fight an assassin Terminator sent by #SkyNet.
This synopsis not only summarizes Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but almost all of the sequels to the first Terminator.
Judgment Day is considered one of the greatest sequels ever made and this is partly because of its plot and the then-unexpected twist that revealed the #T800 to be the protector. Future Terminator films lacked originality and followed storylines too similar to the legendary sequel.
As a result, the Terminator films stagnated. Instead of moving forward, the story was locked to retreads of Judgment Day, with minor details changing in each passing sequel. If the Terminator movies want to have a future that isn't predictable, they have to move on from Judgment Day and find new ways to tackle the now-iconic themes and characters.
4. Limit The Fanservice
The directors who followed Cameron were undoubtedly inspired by The Terminator, and this is why the sequels to Judgment Day are full of tributes to Cameron's movies. The most recent example of this is seen in the fifth movie #Genisys, which revisited the original movie's timeline - only to rewrite the beginnings of the entire Terminator story in the hopes of starting a new franchise.
As heartfelt as these homages may be, the latest Terminator movies lack a distinct identity that makes them stand out. Prioritizing nostalgia over innovation trapped Terminator in a time capsule of the '80s and early '90s. Outdated staples include an aging #ArnoldSchwarzenegger, who is sadly no longer the Austrian Adonis he was in his youth.
Cameron's Terminator movies became iconic not because of Schwarzenegger's memorable one-liners alone, but because they broke new ground and paved the path for a new generation of hardcore action movies. If it truly wants to be as impressive as its best predecessors, the latest Terminator movie must avoid becoming another greatest hits collection of the franchise's glory days.
5. Address Modern Day Themes And Concerns
Cameron's Terminator is a product of its time, since the movie's fear of nuclear war initiated by a sentient Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be viewed as a reaction to the rising tensions of nuclear-capable superpowers during the #ColdWar. The technophobia that resulted from the seemingly endless weapon advancements of the time may have made sense during the opening night of The Terminator, but they seem antiquated by today's standards.
Also, many of the technological advances hypothesized by The Terminator are now a reality, including cybernetic prosthetic limbs, unmanned military drones and even basic #AI. The scientific community and the world as a whole have new fears and concerns, and while they may mirror the Cold War's hot-button issues, they are still new issues nonetheless.
Despite the numerous technological advances, some of the old fears remain. As a sequel that's meant to continue an aged series and bring in newcomers as well, the next Terminator can take advantage of current issues and concerns by addressing them instead of remaining stuck in the past as teh weaker sequels did.
6. Ignore Everything After Judgement Day
A major criticism of the Terminator sequels that followed Judgment Day was that their mere existence nullified the stakes and sacrifices of the characters in the first two movies. Due to the need for sequels, the war against SkyNet became a hopeless one for all the wrong reasons.
If this were any other franchise, rebooting the entire story would be the most likely thing producers would do. Luckily for Terminator, it has the most convenient retcon device known to writers: time travel. By using the time travel concept, the upcoming sequel can act like all the events after the second movie never happened. Not only were these sequels retreads of Judgment Day, but they pointlessly dragged out the future war to the point where it became a boring inevitability instead of a dark fate that can be averted.
Doing this would open the door for Cameron and the creative minds helming the new film to get the entire Terminator story back on the right track. Ignoring everying after #T2 would give them the opportunity they need to continue the narrative in the way Cameron intended to from the beginning.
7. Conclude The Franchise
Judgment Day ended Sarah Connor's (Linda Hamilton) fight for the future and gave the movie's world a chance to survive. The sequels unraveled everything Sarah, John and the converted T-800 did to stop SkyNet's nuclear holocaust by continually resurrecting said AI and repeatedly reusing the plot of the second Terminator movie.
In doing so, the events in Cameron's films are rendered moot and pointless since SkyNet will always survive no matter what #SarahConnor and friends may do.
It's been rumored that the next Terminator movie will formally conclude the story and this is a great move for the aged series. Should the sixth entry truly be the final chapter, it will give the movie the chance to wrap everything up for good instead of raising more continuity issues and eyebrows among weary fans. Contrary to what Hollywood may think, definite endings make a movie immortal, not an endless stream of sequels.
As flawed and problematic as the sequels may have been, the Terminator movies have been a highly influential series of sci-fi movies that redefined the genre and filmmaking as a whole.
Now that the creator of the series is finally back in the saddle (even if only as an executive producer), the chance of seeing the first great Terminator film in a while are now more likely than ever before. Given the atmosphere of today's ever-changing world, the timing couldn't have been more perfect.
The coming of Judgment Day may be celebrated instead of loathed this time around.