Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Film Review - Monomyth - Terminator 2


Terminator 2 is a 1991 science fiction film directed by James Cameron and is a sequel to the 1986 film; The Terminator. The plot focuses on the son of one of the protagonists of the previous film; John Connor, who becomes the target of assassination by a robot terminator sent from the future, Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his role of the terminator, albeit this time a protagonist, who also returns to save John Connor. 

Figure 2 - John Connor as a boy
ACT - 1
In terms of the "Hero's Journey" the story starts off with John Connor living a relatively normal life, he lives with foster parents as his biological father is dead (killed in the previous film) and his mother is incarcerated in an insane asylum because of her actions since the previous film. John is introduced as being a rebellious teenager who steals from ATM machines, plays arcade games and has a disregard for authority. 

"The refusal of the call" During the course of the film it is apparent that John is aware of the existence of Terminators thanks to his mother, who has evolved into a hardened soldier after her experiences, but he willfully rejects her and the notion on the belief that his mother is insane. John shows no interest in fulfilling his role as "leader of the human resistance". 

"Supernatural aid" comes in the form of a robotic terminator sent from the future to protect John who has become the target of assassination by another more powerful terminator. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the famous "terminator" and exhibits extreme physical strength and durability but has a poor grasp of human customs.

The crucial segment of the film that can be called the "Crossing the threshold" is when John is purused through the shopping mall by the assassin terminator, John barely manages to escape and is only saved by the direct intervention of his guardian.

A critical aspect of their relationship is that despite Arnold being John's guardian, John eventually discovers that he has a form of control over his guardian and he takes the lead of the duo. At this point John begins to exhibit the characteristics of a leader, first taking his terminator to the asylum to rescue his mother and then throughout the film teaching him human characteristics and informing him on human customs. 

"The belly of the whale" is the segment when John discovers his terminator is real and that all of the stories about the terminators fed to him by his mother are actually real, at this point John realises that the judgement day holocaust, the robots and Skynet (the computer that controls the terminators) are all real.

"The Road of trials" find John and his terminator against the odds, not least by having to contend with a nigh invulnerable and relentless robotic assassin, but also with the authorities who want to track down both John's terminator (who was implicated in a massacre in the previous film). John's foster parents are killed by the assassin terminator, robbing him of any former allies and he has no known other friends.

At this point John "Meets the goddess", but instead of her bein an actual goddess it turns out to be his biological mother, who (as mentioned earlier) has been institutionalised because of her actions and supposedly impaired sanity. There is tension and hostility between both John and his mother, because they both share a dysfunctional relationship. In a deleted scene in the film John is forced to accost his mother and assert his control when she attempts to kill their guardian terminator.

John's mother becomes the temptress by forcing John and his terminator to deviate from their original mission as she attempts to stop judgement day first by trying to kill the programmer responsible for the creation of skynet and then by destroying the computer company that ultimately creates skynet. Since John's mother is not a mission critical aspect of the Terminator's mission (which he quite literally quotes in the film) it would be logical to leave her to her fate but John cannot bring himself to abandon his mother and pursues her.

The reckoning with authority or "atonment with the father" occurs when the protagonists try to destroy the computer company responsible for creating skynet, the police turn up en-masse and manage to kill off one of the protagonists, ultimately the group manage to escape relatively unharmed.

Despite the mass police presence the protagonists manage to successfully destroy the Skynet research offices and sieze parts of the terminator from the previous film (that had been killed and salvaged for scientific study). This is the "ultimate boon" of the film as while judgement day is not actually stopped (as revealed in the third film) it is for the time being delayed and skynet suffer a setback in its progress. 

The protagonists become emboriled in a high speed chase with the assassin terminator (who pursues them in a stolen police helicoper), John is nearly killed and his mother is wounded from gunfire yet the guardian terminator once again saves them. The assassin terminator also hijacks a truck carrying liquid nitrogen whichs proves pivotal in the plot. The chase ultimately culminates in the group crashing into a molten metal refinery.

This leads onto the "rescue from without"; the crash into the refinery wounds both John and his mother leaving them at the mercy of the approaching assassinm, however as mentioned above the assassin terminator was driving a truck filled with liquid nitrogen that crashes and showers him in the supercool liquid. As the assassin attempts to pursue the protagonists his body begins to break down and shatter, the guardian terminator sees this and delivers a coup de grace by shooting the frozen assassin, shattering his body.

At the final area of the film the "crossing of the thresholds" occurs when the protagonists finally kill off the assassin terminator. The assassin is practically invulerable and shrugs off gunfire and even explosions, the group ultimately kill the assissin terminator by drowning it in molten metal and utterly destroying it.

At the end a final task must occur, that is the protagonists destroying their own guardian terminator who, as he rightly points out, has served his purpose and must die to prevent his technology and CPU core from falling back into human hands and creating a new skynet.

The penultimate "master of two worlds" occurs when John finally becomes the man that occurs in the next film; Terminator 3. John in essense assumes the mantel destined for him; a leader and fighter, now that he has killed off his assassin and been given new hope about the future.

John and his mother ultimately survive but lived changed lives, although the threat of judgement day is averted for now they still must survive off the grid on account of the destruction they have caused. This final chapter is the segement about being "free to live", although the protagonists are trapped in a certain sense (i.e. never being able to return to a normal life) they have succeeded in their task and are able to survive.

Illustration List
Figure -1
James Cameron, 1993, Terminator2poster.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/85/Terminator2poster.jpg

Figure -2
James Cameron, 1993, edward-furlong-as-john-connor-in-terminator-e1377940092520.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: https://crawlspacemagazine.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/edward-furlong-as-john-connor-in-terminator-e1377940092520.jpg

No comments:

Post a Comment