This article contains spoilers, you’ve been warned.
So Paramount released an image today from the third attempt at a reboot of the Terminator franchise, and if first impressions are as important as many make them out to be, this isn’t a fantastic introduction. At time of writing it’s been up for a couple of hours, but already the internet is on form and screaming the place down because ‘the feminists are taking over’ or some similar claptrap.
First of all, if your first reaction to women in Terminator is “boo women”, then you clearly haven’t watched a Terminator movie in your life (well that or you’ve only watched the Christian Bale one – God help you in that case). The series to date has been all about strong female characters; hell, they even had a female Terminator at one point! Granted that was a pretty awful film itself but again, the gender of the characters was not a contributing factor.
The fact that internet morons are so quick to discount Sarah Connor from the Terminator mythos is about as revisionist as these things can get. After all, the big strong burly Austrian fella was only ever the supporting role when he was around, and even then he was mostly mute the first time out because he could barely deliver dialogue. In fact, of all the franchises to get the all-female treatment it was this or Alien that would be best suited – bring it on I say.
For the Terminator franchise, it’s fair to say that women’s roles are the very least of its issues. More urgently needing attention is the level of quality control to date with the films themselves. Unless you find yourself waxing lyrical regularly about anything post-Judgment Day, you’ll agree that every release from 2003’s Rise of the Machines onwards was Cyber-dire to put it as nicely as possible. It’s probably wishful thinking on my part that they finally nailed what was so lacking in a Terminator movie for the last 15 years, and hey – with James Cameron as producer maybe it’ll take a turn for the better?
Oh, never mind.
When all’s said and done, a film should be judged on its own merit and I personally will reserve all judgement until the final film is playing in front of me. Even if the very first promotional image – the first thing meant to sell us on the premise – is a poorly photoshopped, last-minute, minimal effort botch job that’s just flung onto the internet like a toddler’s scribblings on a fridge. Still, the two positives I can take from this is that it at least lets Linda Hamilton have another job, and there’s – currently – no suggestion of rolling Arnie out to flog this movie. There’s still time of course, but I’ll remain optimistic.
Having said that, after the cinematic excrement that was Terminator: Genisys (the film that its own cast has publicly condemned), my hopes aren’t too lofty just yet. Let’s not allow a bit of casual misogyny get in the way of all the actually legitimate issues for the series to overcome.