Let's take a trip back in time to the year 1984 which was tremendous for blockbuster films. That year gave us Sixteen Candles, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop and one of the examples in my subject - The Terminator. Then almost a decade later in 1993, Steven Spielberg brought dinosaurs to life in Jurassic Park, adapted from Michael Crichton. Here we are three decades later removed from the first Terminator film and in 2015 we will see the fifth installment of that franchise and the fourth installment of Jurassic Park film franchise. We are in an era where some franchises just don't know when to stop. Before I offer my opinion on these particular two powerhouse franchises, let's take a glimpse into what they offered us in the past.
When both The Terminator and Jurassic Park came out in their respective years, they dramatically raised the level of the movie enjoying experience. James Cameron broke out his bag of tricks and showed true innovation by not only giving us a solid and original science fiction thriller but a compelling plot with characters you could invest in. With Jurassic Park essentially the same thing happened. Yes, we were in total anticipation of seeing the awesomeness of dinosaurs on the big screen but it was the cast that partnered perfectly with those rampaging animals. In the end, there were heroes and tragic deaths. You walked away from the theater feeling fulfilled and emotionally uplifted by the immortal soundtrack crafted by the legendary John Williams.
As far as the sequels are concerned, let's start with The Terminator II: Judgement Day. It was annoying that we had to wait seven long years for it but it was absolutely worth the wait. Cameron kills us with suspense but takes his time in making certain that the film is done right. Terminator II: Judgement Day was pure genius. I won't say it was better than the first one, just different, even if we had to endure Edward Furlong's attempt at acting. "Hasta la vista baby." Indeed, to his lame performance. Arnold stole the show and Linda Hamilton's bad ass transformation was a sight to behold. The effects, like the first one, were advanced for its time. His death scene at the end hit me where it hurt as I did not expect to be all broken up over a machine terminating itself. The movie had all the elements.
In Terminator III: The Rise of the Machines, we see Arnold once again coming back as the protector but this time to prepare for the Apocalypse. Arnold was less charismatic this time around. I just thought that the franchise was starting to wear thin at that point, twenty years in and with a twelve year hiatus added on top of it. Nice to see a gorgeous cyborg as the villain (Kristina Lokken) and Nick Stahl was a considerable improvement over Furlong.
The fourth installment, Terminator: Salvation, featured a red hot Christian Bale coming off two inspiring and successful Batman reboot films. I went in with reservations but still wanted to give it a chance. I almost walked out of the theater. Everything that made The Terminator great was absent in this film. The violence, the terror and the basic fear was gone. I feel we were robbed as movie goers. This film is not worthy of an image upload.
Now we move from the sci-fi world of Terminator to the fantasy world of Jurassic Park. The first sequel, Jurassic Park: The Lost World left me underwhelmed. Everyone wanted the entire original cast to return. I am left scratching my head as to why that didn't work out. We got Jeff Goldblum only. I adore him but we got too much Jeff Goldblum and his presence was not enough to make this film great. Overall I thought the movie tried too hard (or TWO hard with double the T-Rex involvement). It picked up a little bit with the action moving to Los Angeles which paid homage to some of the old B movie classics. I just didn't get this was Spielberg's work. Not very recognizable to me. I hope that as a professional, Spielberg has looked back on this and wish he had done it differently.
Okay now we come to Jurassic Park III. In my opinion that was a far cry from the second one. Bringing back Sam Neil restored some of the magic from the first film. The cameo by Laura Dern was helpful along with the additions of a strong supporting cast featuring the always enjoyable Tea Leoni and William H. Macy. The pacing of the film was great, the plot was compelling and I absolutely went nuts over the Spinosauraus who supplanted T-Rex as the new king of the forest. There were some really great moments in that film including the incredible scene with the Pterodactyls.
So here we are at the end of 2014 and already looking forward to next summer's movie line up. Now that I have taken us back in time to spot check on these two film franchises, let's move forward. Getting back to my subject about these franchises and if should they put to rest or not.
[Terminator Genisys](movie:34872) - release date July 1, 2015. We don't know much about the plot except that it takes place in 2029 with the war against the machines raging on. It appears that Skynet will be attacking on both fronts, both past and future to put down the resistance. Seems confusing and vague. I am skeptical with their choice of Director, Alan Taylor who put together the unimpressive, Thor: The Dark World. That was not a quality film. They have selected an interesting cast however, consisting of The Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke and Dr. Who's, Matt Smith. Some British influence there lol. I just hope they have been given good material. If this production fails, then all I want to know is that the franchise has finally been - TERMINATED.
[Jurassic World](movie:32752) - release date , June 12, 2015. This takes place two years following the events of Isla Nublar in a fully functional park envisioned by John Hammond. I am excited to see Chris Pratt back in action after his mega success of The Guardians of the Galaxy. Plus we have Bryce Dallas Howard who is always a charmer. Pretty solid male and female leads. Decent supporting cast assembled and nice to see B.D. Wong . You may remember him as a scientist we met on the tour of the facility in the raptor breeding room. I understand Pratt's character is going to be serious, not the wise cracking, humorous character we saw him portray in Peter Quill. Should be interesting. This is under the direction of an unknown - Colin Trevorrow. That doesn't concern me as James Gunn was relatively unknown before he took on Guardians and look what happened there. I am a little more hopeful about this one than The Terminator.
In conclusion, I definitely feel it is time to put these franchises on ice. Hollywood needs to make room for more original concepts which is the chatter you hear these days from disgruntled movie fans. I realize that these films are a part of the summer blockbuster dynamic and they will put butts in the seats. Ahh yes, money money money lol. I can also appreciate the attempt to keep the original works alive and try to instill some life in these newer efforts but the general word on the street is we have had enough.