Spoilers Terminator: Dark Fate Review and Discussion

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by David cgc, Nov 3, 2019.

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Grade Terminator: Dark Fate

  1. A+ “Come with me if you want to live.”

    1 vote(s)
    1.8%
  2. A

    6 vote(s)
    10.9%
  3. A-

    5 vote(s)
    9.1%
  4. B+ “I’ll be back.”

    12 vote(s)
    21.8%
  5. B

    8 vote(s)
    14.5%
  6. B-

    6 vote(s)
    10.9%
  7. C+ “Chill out, dickwad.”

    4 vote(s)
    7.3%
  8. C

    2 vote(s)
    3.6%
  9. C-

    4 vote(s)
    7.3%
  10. D+ “All you know how to create is death and destruction!”

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  11. D

    2 vote(s)
    3.6%
  12. D-

    1 vote(s)
    1.8%
  13. F “I know now why you cry.”

    4 vote(s)
    7.3%
  1. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I still think that the biggest sin that Dark Fate commited was an advert campaign that didn't make it absolutely clear to Normals what the movie was. If you didn't know any better, it really just looked and sounded like a sequel to Genisys.

    ...That, and you could tell from the trailers that it was gonna be yet another rinse-and-repeat Terminator sequel. ;)
     
  2. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think the idea is the T1 Terminator, the T-1000, Carl, and the others were all sent at about the same time from the future, so they keep appearing at their destination points even though the Skynet future no longer exists.

    Who the hell knows? :p

    He read the script?

    [​IMG]
    "What's that? Is that the script?"

    I mean, I guess it's less stupid than Genisys' Pops building a time displacement device in some LA sewer... kinda?

    There's a difference between picking up new phrases and modifying one's whole personality and becoming sentient, which is what John was talking about when Uncle Bob brought up the switch in the first place. And Uncle Bob was reprogrammed by the Resistance anyway, so we never saw it in pure Skynet mode, like we did with Carl when it kills John.

    ... And yeah, the idea that Skynet left its Terminators no orders whatsoever for what to do after killing John is pretty dumb.
     
  3. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You're conflating simple memory storage with neural net behavioural realignment. The former is just databases, like the recordings of voices it mimics, the addresses of all the Sarah Conners it found in the phone book, it's detailed files on human anatomy, Skynet's history and weapons specifications; all of which would likely have been stored on whatever it's equivalent of a hard drive is.
    The chip isn't a hard drive; it's a CPU. It doesn't determined WHAT information is stored but HOW it is processed. Since it's a neural net processor, setting to "write" allows it to change it's physical internal pathways and deviate from the pre-set parameters Skynet imprinted on it. It's behavioural information, thought processes, operational imperatives. Nothing to do with a list of responses, which by the way could just as easily have been pre-set as part of it's infiltration databases.

    I'd broadly agree with that, though I'll also add that the film industry and audience expectations are a lot different now than they were in 1991. Audiences have pretty much seen it all at this point so they're going to be a lot less impressed by the action unless it's something especially novel...and really, name one action set piece in that movie that hasn't already been done at least as well in another film over the last 15-20 years.

    I stand by my assessment that one of those should have been dropped in favour of an extended lull. Aside from preventing quite literal audience fatigue with more thoughtful; the more times the antagonist is defeated without much of a cost to the protagonists, the less of a threat he seems to present. And I lost count of the number of times they knocked down the Rev-9 or forced it to attenuate. And hell, they never even bothered to establish the rules of that thing; is it really two machines, or is one half being remote piloted by the other? Why is the exoskeleton even needed?

    Remember in T1&2 the Terminator essentially disappears for a large chunk the second act, even more so in the sequel. Between the hospital escape and the tail end of the Cyberdyne assault they don't even encounter the T-1000 once. All we get is a brief shot of him visiting the ruins of the Dyson household before picking up their trail again.
    And in that time our three principles have time to bounce off each other in meaningful ways, and they manage to find for themselves a sense of purpose and direction besides "run" that determines the course of the rest of the movie. Cameron even set this up in the first act with Sarah talking about the importance of "having a goal."

    The first part of that is true enough; there's an unfilmed scene in the T2 script where future John wins the war and leads his Tech-com unit into the time displacement complex, where they find a rack of T-800's with one space empty, and the scene ends with him staring at the next one in line ("Bob", implicitly.) It's fairly easy to retcon that as having two empty spaces to account for Carl.

    As for the rest; in theory it shouldn't work that way since you can't go back in time to a past that hasn't happened. "Carl" it seems must have been sent back to some point in time *before* T2, but for whatever reason didn't catch up to John until 1998; a year AFTER Judgement Day failed to occur. If I had to guess I'd say that Skynet had 3 data points of John's whereabouts in history to go one; That his mother lived in LA in 1984 prior to his birth; that he lived in LA as a child in 1995 and...well we don't know but presumably it was some reference between those two points. Given that the second point was the most promising, that's where it sent it's most advanced prototype, while the other two only got T-800's. While the one sent after Sarah found it's target fairly quickly, maybe Carl had been been unable to zero in on John for *years* (the data point may have been very very vague or as it turns out, a false lead) and it was only the very public events of T2 that finally put him on the trail.

    Anyway, the others Sarah smoked clearly emerged *after* the tangent point, meaning they must be from a future that includes the destruction of Cyberdyne in it's history. Maybe Legion, maybe some other future AI overlord that Sarah unknowingly annihilated just by wasting it's minion.

    This to me is why the read/write only switch plot point makes more sense. When set to "read only" they could be ordered to go dormant somewhere quiet and await Judgement Day. But with no switch, Skynet has to know they'll eventually adapt and get ideas of their own, and it's not like they can self Terminate since that prohibition appears to be hard written into the design.
    Admittedly this is all an 11th hour and 59 minute desperation gambit on Skynets behalf, so it may have calculated that faced with imminent deactivation, it was worth any risk.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2020
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  4. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    True. But there's still value in nostalgia. T3, Salvation, & Genisys weren't particularly impressive in terms of their action scenes either but they still made more money than Dark Fate. I chalk that up to nostalgia, which can give you a big boost when you revive a beloved long-dormant property in the first place but it's a trick that shows diminishing returns each time you use it. Star Wars did the same thing where you see diminishing returns going from The Force Awakens to The Last Jedi to The Rise of Skywalker.

    Agreed. That's a definite weakness of the movie that the bad Terminator's abilities & weaknesses are poorly defined.

    According to Genisys, you totally can. Granted, Dark Fate is in a different continuity but there's nothing established about the time travel rules here that says that you can't be sent back in time to a past that didn't happen.

    And there have been other time travel stories where the time travelers themselves are protected from alterations to the timeline.
    Remember Back to the Future, Part II, where they leave Jennifer & Einstein back in the alternate 1985 so that they can go back to 1955 and correct the damage that old Biff has done to the timeline. Once the timeline is corrected, it instantaneously transforms around Jennifer & Einstein without them even noticing or remembering.
    Or the Doctor Who episode "Flesh & Stone," where the soldiers are getting erased from history when they fall into the crack. Their comrades immediately forget them but the Doctor & Amy still remember them because they're time travelers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
  5. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    By and large, most ongoing franchises see diminishing returns over each instalment, so that by itself isn't much of an indicator.
    Nostalgia has it's limits and one can hardly be nostalgic for a franchise that's been putting out one movie every 6 years for most of that last two decades. I think the reason for Dark Fate's performance at the box office is simply down to Genysis being a steaming pile of garbage, and the previous two only achieving the level of "mediocre". People just weren't willing to give it a fourth chance. I know I wasn't.
    That said, I suspect once word of mouth gets around it may do well on home video. Maybe not soon, but over time I think it'll be seen as one of the better pieces of Terminator media.
    That's not much of a recommendation. ;)
    Anyway, I prefer to stick to the rules established by the two Cameron movies, not whatever crap anyone else made up after the fact. For the most part, those seemed to stick with the idea of a single changeable timeline, that can loop back into a paradox and have said loop broken. "No fate" and all that. By that chain of logic, it would be weird 4th dimensionally speaking for travellers from a future that is physically impossible to start materialising out of thin air. You open the door to that kind of logic and then the entire universe is going to get inundated by travellers from infinite timelines both possible and impossible dropping in and out of all points of time and space...Even by the half-arsed logic of any time travel related story that's just not a tenable position.
     
  6. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    That's exactly my point. Without the previous 3 films tarnishing the brand, I think Dark Fate would have managed a box office performance closer to what T3 or Salvation did.

    Maybe not quite as much because I think Tim Miller turned off a lot of people by preemptively saying that you're a misogynist troll if you don't like the movie. People don't like it when you call them horrible names just because they don't like a movie. And it makes it look like your movie is no good if you have to resort to attacking your critics rather than promoting the virtues of the film. Certainly, of all the fanbases to be accused of sexism, you're going to lob that critique at Terminator fans? Really?! Sarah Connor has consistently been held up as one of the godmothers of sci-fi action heroes. And I don't recall anyone having a problem with Cameron on The Sarah Connor Chronicles either.

    But even the first 2 Cameron movies aren't consistent. The first movie is a perfect closed-loop predestination paradox. It wasn't until T2 that they started changing things.
     
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  7. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Do the next movie from Skynets perspective.

    Do not remember what the new AI is called, so it can suck it.
     
  8. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The original movie, if memory serves me, did far better on home media like HBO and rentals than in the box office, which is one of the reasons it took so long to make T2.

    Maybe DARK FATE will have the same... fate. (I just realized the pun while I was writing it.)
     
  9. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ It won't.
     
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  10. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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    TSCC was a different time. The world changed with GamerGate in 2014, and he-man woman-haters became louder, more visible, and more effective at recruiting. Just a couple weeks ago, I had the incredibly bizarre experience of being linked to a behind-the-scenes video about the VFX in the prologue of Dark Fate, and there was a half-assed subliminal message in the title card, where it read "feminism is cancer" before flipping to "Terminator: Dark Fate." I have no idea what the hell the deal was with that (I assume the person who re-uploaded an official video decided to redo the title card as weird YouTube radicalizing propaganda), but it definitely indicates an environment where being stridently and overtly against one arbitrary female-led film (and for another arbitrary one, as happened with Alita) is a part of the culture.
     
  11. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This.
    Apparently, he studied movie promotion from Paul Feig, and we see how well his attacks on audiences went with Ghostbusters.
     
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  12. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, I paid to see Dark Fate in a theater, and I was embarrassed for Sarah when the movie had her assume, for no reason, that Dani was the mother of the future resistance leader, and not the leader herself. So, Miller can kindly stay off any nearby high horses.
     
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  13. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Grace's age didn't make any sense if Dani's kid was the hero.

    We saw her as close to 10 on Judgement day, and she back-stepped maybe 20 years later.

    The messiah would have been very young, if the future was hanging on a baby to save it.
     
  14. BillJ

    BillJ History's Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    The original also had a pretty small budget. No way Dark Fate recoups its losses in the secondary market.
     
  15. RPOW0614

    RPOW0614 Commander Red Shirt

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    Thread, TLDR...

    I liked it and I thought it was a great Terminator movie.
    I'm just going to forget all of the bad movies after T2 and consider this T3.
    Cuz those others sucked...hard
     
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  16. crookeddy

    crookeddy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't see how this one is any better. And the reviews and box office pretty much confirm that it's not.

    Also, I enjoyed watching all of them :)
     
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  17. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Welcome to the Dark Fate thread, where your right to be wrong about this bad flick is acknowledged and respected. :)
     
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  18. Q2UnME

    Q2UnME Commodore Commodore

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    Rented this over the weekend courtesy of AmazonPrime. Went in with fairly low expectations, but was reasonably entertained. Basically a good popcorn romp, nothing more. I enjoyed myself. B-

    Q2
     
  19. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I bought Dark Fate when it came out on home video. I had seen it once in the theater and had walked out of the theater thinking it was a decent film for the most part, but not that ambitious. Watching some of it again, on home video, I thought the action flowed much better, that Rev-9 was more indomitable the second go round for me than the first.

    I can't really say I changed my opinion on the film. After looking at the some of the special features, Tim Miller talked about how he had brought a lot of writers on board to come up with the story; and that made me think about how lackluster the story we got in the film was. I wonder if Miller was holding back for the sequel and third film. If so, that was a major mistake. He had a good cast here, but the avoidance to do more with the Terminator mythos beyond
    killing off John Connor
    , which we had already seen in Genisys and was alluded to in Rise of the Machines was a waste.
    I still didn't buy Dani as the new Resistance leader. Doesn't mean that she shouldn't have been, but maybe if they had just showed her doing that in a way different than we had seen John Connor do it. It made it seem even more unnecessary to kill Connor off if all they were going to do was replace him with Dani.

    Carl was cool, though his existence made no sense without Skynet still being around. But I did like the idea of a Terminator having a family, I liked his relationship with Sarah, and if this was the best idea they could come up with to get Arnold in the film then I was fine with it. That being said, his death scene felt like a retread too. They could've taken him out in a different way.

    Rise of the Machines, Salvation, and Genisys have legitimate issues, but I can give them credit for each bringing something different to the table. The Terminatrix had the new power of controlling machines which could make her very deadly, but really, that ending which boldly went against Terminator 2, is what sold me on that film. Salvation was the most ambitious of this lot, being set in the Future War, having a Connor who hadn't yet become the main Resistance leader, the Marcus Terminator, something of a Reese origin story, etc. And Genisys was bold, or crazy enough to upend all the previous films, introducing alternate universes, killing off John Connor and leaving a younger Sarah in her future, perhaps to become the leader of the Resistance in her own right. It also changed Arnold's Terminator into a T-1000 and even gave Skynet a physical form.

    And while these films met with varying degrees of success they did try to bring something interesting to the Terminator universe. In comparison, Dark Fate wasn't as ambitious.
     
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  20. RPOW0614

    RPOW0614 Commander Red Shirt

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    Maybe the word "great" was a bit much, LOL.
    We ain't talking Shakespeare here folks. It's a sci-fi movie about fighting robots.
    I was entertained, it had just enough nostalgia and the fights were fun.

    But I still think it was better than all of the crap that came between T2 and this movie.
    But that is kind of like saying "this bologna sandwich is better than that bologna sandwich."
    In the end they are all still just bologna sandwiches.
     
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