Im stanco of quarantena. Im in the balcony thinking Terminator 2 might be the greatest movie ever made – It might be the greatest of the 1900’s. Surely my favorite piece of cinema of all time, right after The Passion of the Christ by Gibson, and that said by an italian who grew up with the mythology of US movies + italians commedia. Mythology that got broken down and ripped apart when i discovered that 90%+ of movies produced by Hollywood are tools of degradation. That said, I watched my first frame of T2 when i was 3, I remember it. No crap got through my innocent brain because of it. I can visually remember the scene where the T-1000 knocks at the door of the Connor family. And im not saying to let your kid watch this movie: to me, it just happened – It was not made up.
Nowdays i truly understand the meaning, the substance of Terminator 2. Only by converting to Christ i can watch a movie from a neutral perspective and only by growing up I could purely reach the complex offer of moral value and meaning standing within this particular work. Cameron made the movie here. The creation of T2 started inside the mind of James Cameron right after the first The Terminator, the 1984 movie; a mind, that of Cameron, where creativity comes alive and world of certain type are made real (im not talking about Avatar, which i dislike).
Now i see the quality behind Terminator 2. Either philosophically or aesthetically, Terminator 2 has some strong points throughout. Cameron, without even being conscious, even respected one of the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not murder. A message made by a self-proclaimed atheist, not in a negative sense – Of course, an atheist can too recognize some bit of value behind “do not kill” and i was not specifically meaning “the opposite”. But still, when you watch the movie, it all seems so pretty catholic and then the director is utterly non-christian. Just saying.
(1) Terminator 2 offers an example of strong masculinity “2.0”. What we got: a Terminator sent back in time who’s strong and solid and that, through a gradual process, learns the human sentiment, opening himself to the natural condition of being human. He is the future of masculinity: both strong and with feelings. He is the representation of fatherhood. A child who’s alone falls in criminality and teenage decline, then he suddenly discover a Terminator which becomes his father, the only he ever had since the beginning of his life (he never met the biological one). The coming of the man, which is the cyborg, represents the importance of fatherhood in society and children’s life. The father has to be there. This movie exalts masculinity and offers what a man is: he can be either strong or able to understand, (able) to absorb and to embrace the human feeling. He can be both. He is both, actually. The Terminator is what every man wants to be: strong, able to protect, able to get up beyond every fall, until the end. Of course, the behavior of the cyborg throughout the movie must not be replicated! There are things that belong only to him.
(2) The relation between the Terminator and the child. Once more, an example of fatherhood. The child has now someone to talk with, someone who protect him, someone who look after him, someone who will stand by him. The father is there and the child would never leave him. The relation between the kid and the terminator offers now a solid social model, and the troubled teenager is rebel no more. He has what he has been missing all life: a father. Combined with the returned mother, he has now the missing piece of his whole life: family. When the T-101 leaves the elevator, opposing the SWAT Team, seems like a semiotic message of what a family is: the mother stay at home to protect her child (with Sarah standing by John in the elevator) and the father goes out to make the dirty job (the Terminator goes out and proceeds further toward the SWAT), protecting the family from the outside. Powerful scene. The fatherhood has done everything: protecting, growing up with, talking to, everything a kid needs to have.
(3) Thou shalt not kill. No matter how men are, no matter how people are, no one can choose to kill just because he wants too. A moral law is a moral law and can’t be violated for the pleasure of men. The inner self is a thing, reality is another thing; the first one shall never change the second one, unless it is permitted by nature. The Terminator is a machine, he would not understand it until when someone teaches that to him. As it proceed further, the cyborg learns from a human, a teenager, how some reaction are not legit and what can be done from what can’t be done. In fact, he, the T-101, absorbs the conceptual understanding of emotion and moral principles, even though he just can’t feels them. The terminator tries to kill the black guy and the kid, John Connor, stops him from doing that. Then, when Sarah tries to kill Dyson, from the Cyberdyne System, she just stop herself when she actually sees how far she was going with her chosen intentions moved by personal anger and own feelings; we can see how delicate is the line of demarcation amid own will (wishes) and reality (principle of natural evidence). The message is that we need to separate what is legit (objectivity) from what we believe to be legit (subjectivity). That we can’t make a certain action just because we feel them inside us (Sarah is mad at Dyson and then she wants to blow him away). Natural action must be in line with natural law, not just a natural projection of our own ego.
(4) It’s a spettacolo! Terminator 2 defines what material action, supported by a justified story-driven principle, has to be. Not just action, but narrative action, intellectually conceived. Best action sequences ever made. Best justified explosion. Best 1 vs. 1 fight. Best everything. The action takes place because of a story. There is a motivation behind the matter. There is something that happens as collateral effect of a specific reason. Terminator 2 re-created the way to make concrete ideas, to turn them in reality, to take the intellectual idea from within the mind of the creator and to turn it into physical reality, to create visual effects, introducing the revolutionary digital technology 2.0 nigh the third millennium thus becoming a ground-breaking movie and a revolutionary act in terms of narrative and technical construction. No one is like T2.
(5) The development of technology has gone too far. T2 shows a dystopian future where technology, a noble creation, has gone too far. It’s when the creature steps above the creator. It’s when the creator loses control of his own creation. So we have the 2029 L.A. future where machines actually plan to take mankind over. This is what happen’ when mankind takes it too far. Technically, T2, in 1991, predicted our present. Nowdays, we don’t even move without a piece of technology. The latter has become a monster, standing above everything, devoured by the excessiveness of development pushed by men. Even though we don’t technically have Terminators fighting against us in a word wide war, we can see the metaphor: technology is gettin’ too far. At the end, when the T-101 gets into the lava, we can even think “he could have stayed with us…” but no: he still a machine. The mission is complete. This is more than a subtle. This is the greatest semiotic message ever sent around the topic of technology: we should use technology only when truly needed. The kid, now, need someone real: the tech has to go.
Terminator 2 is one of the greatest movies ever made. Probably one of the best if not the greatest ever of the previous century. Watch it in 4K, if you can. Hasta la vista baby.