26 years old this year, Terminator 2: Judgement Day was ripe for a big screen re-release and with director James Cameron a long-term advocate of 3D cinema there’s more than a hint of inevitability that this timely re-issue would come complete with an extra dimension.
We all know the story of the 1991 classic by now; two Terminator cyborgs (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Patrick) are sent back in time to locate 10 year old John Connor (Edward Furlong), son of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and the future saviour of mankind in the war against the machines. One, a more advanced model the T-1000 (Patrick) is sent to eliminate him, stopping the human insurgence before it even begins while the other T-800 (Schwarzenegger) has been re-programmed to protect the boy from the deadly threat.
Having played the unstoppable threat to Sarah in 1984’s The Terminator, Schwarzenegger got to play the hero here, something cinematic audiences had become more accustomed to since his first arresting performance as the T-800. At the height of his action hero powers, Schwarzenegger’s name was a big enough draw on its own but add the idea of his terrifying cyborg returning as a goodie and Cameron promising some truly pioneering CGI effects in the form of the T-100’s liquid metal and audiences couldn’t get to the cinema quick enough.
The passage of time has been kind to the film, it has barely dated with only one or two things jarring with a modern audience (Hasta La Vista Baby has become a brilliant catchphrase but realistically does anyone say that since the turn of the century?). The story is timeless (excuse the pun) and few directors are as effortlessly ground-breaking as Cameron, be it his perfectly executed action scenes, the use of CGI or his ability to make us truly care about his protagonists; a machine; a tenacious boy with the weight of humanity’s fate on his pre-teen shoulders and a psychologically damaged woman with one thing on her mind.
As 3D’s biggest cheerleader, Cameron himself has supervised the 3D conversion of his classic and it’s as crisp as any conversion can be, there’s minimal shadowing and the future war scene at the start is probably best served by the added dimension with some impressive depth. As to the rest of the film, well the 3D is subtle, nothing really jumps out or proves particularly immersive but so too is nothing invasive or out of place. And the sound is great, particularly during any liquid metal moments and Guns n’ Roses brilliant You Could Be Mine song which blares from John’s hilariously massive boom box.
Make no mistake, the 3D isn’t necessary but Terminator 2: Judgement Day remains an absolute banger of a movie and any excuse to see it on the big screen is more than welcome.