Former California governor and sequel enthusiast Arnold Schwarzenegger is starring in a fourth version of the robo-apocalypse movie series, Terminator. This installment, Genisys, dropped its first trailer today. The trailer is both exciting and incredibly disappointing at the same time.
T4 has all the ingredients of a cheap thrill: EXPLOSIONS! MOTORCYCLE CHASES! TIME TRAVEL!
But I’m worried they skipped out on a chance to continue Terminator 2: Judgment Day‘s epic philosophical message: Humans can love robots. Looking back at the 1991 blockbuster, it was a tale of how two people can come to love robots as they would a father figure.
In the movie, a young John Connor educates the Terminator on conventions of human behavior, and why it should injure enemies rather than simply kill them with unforgiving efficiency.
He also teaches the Terminator to high-five and smile:
In the scene below, John’s mother, Sarah Connor, opines on how the machine comes to be more of a father than all of his past deadbeat dads.
“Watching John with the machine, it was suddenly so clear. It would never hurt him, never shout at him or get drunk and hit him, or say it couldn’t spend time with him because it was too busy. And it would die to protect him. Of all the would-be fathers who came and went over the years, this thing, this machine, was the only one who measured up. In an insane world, it was the sanest choice.”
The final scene in T2 is the Terminator wiping away John’s tears as it destroys itself. By the end of the movie, audiences can accept as rational that the boy developed feelings of love for an inanimate object. Long before more recent movies with similar notions, such as Her, it was the first mainstream exploration of whether man and machine could love each other.
I hope I’m wrong and T4 will be just as philosophically meaningful, but I’m not betting on it.