The Terminator franchise has lived on since the departure of James Cameron as director, but most would agree that the quality of the material on-screen hasn’t come close to the masterful heights of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Cameron’s Oscar-winning blockbuster not only boasted groundbreaking visual effects and dizzying amounts of action, it featured a level of character development and depth rarely seen in films of its kind. It’s no surprise that T2 has stood the test of time better than many films to come after it.
The three Terminator movies released since T2 – 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, 2009’s Terminator: Salvation, and 2015’s Terminator: Genisys – have mostly succeeded financially, but came up well-short of Cameron’s films when it came to critical reception. The next entry in the franchise, however, aims not to reclaim the magic of the first two films but put a fresh twist on T2 itself – and perhaps give new audiences an idea of how great the franchise can be.
The Facebook page for Terminator 2 put up a post (see below) on August 29 – not coincidentally, the day Skynet becomes self-aware in the Terminator movie series timeline – depicting a new one-sheet for the 1991 classic, announcing that Terminator 2 will be re-released in theaters in 3D sometime in 2017. “August 29th 1997: The day Skynet first became self aware…August 29th 2016: the day you first saw the brand new poster for Terminator 2 in 3D. Coming to theaters in 2017,” the Facebook post reads.
This not the Terminator franchise’s first foray into 3D. T2 spawned a popular attraction at Universal Studios called T2 3-D, Battle Across Time, which features stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800, Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, Robert Patrick as the T-1000, and Edward Furlong as John Connor, in a short film as part of the main attraction. The ride is described by Universal Orlando as “a spellbinding mix of live action stunts, special effects and amazing 3-D filmmaking.” The ride is still in operation at Universal Studios parks in Orlando, Fla. and Osaka, Japan, but closed at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2012. Cameron has thought about re-releasing T2 in 3D since at least 2009, when he released Avatar.
Though Terminator 2 was not originally made with 3D in mind, there are some sequences and moments that lend themselves well to a 3D adaptation. Among them: the opening post-apocalyptic battle scene from 2029, the truck/motorcycle chase through an empty aqueduct and the liquid metal T-1000 slithering throughout various locations. The re-purposing of T2 for 3D also would not be as gimmicky as films made specifically for the effect or sacrifice the story and characters that made T2 a transcendent sci-fi experience in the first place.
While it will be a great piece of nostalgia for hardcore fans of the original Terminator films and a good opportunity to introduce younger audiences to a sci-fi classic, the 3D re-release of T2 also acts as a tacit admission that the latest entries to the canon have not lived up to Cameron’s lofty standards. Though Terminator: Genisys performed well in the international box office, it essentially re-wrote the franchise’s timeline, which didn’t go over well with many fans. It’s been great to see Schwarzenegger reprise his role as the iconic cybernetic organism, but the franchise’s recent output is a painful reminder that it hasn’t been the same without Cameron’s vision.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D has no official release date, but is due sometime in 2017.