Daniyal Zahid thinks some great sci-fi ideas from the previous century should be laid to rest

Franchises have been a prominent feature of our coverage this year. Where we have lauded Lollywood building its own in recent years, some of the most illustrious Hollywood franchises have seen their latest releases in 2019 as well. In the last three months alone, Fast and Furious and Rambo have come up with their latest offerings, with IT and Maleficent getting their high profile sequels as well.

Just as the above mentioned releases turned out to be a mixed bag in quality – even if not in profile – spinoffs, sequels and remakes of varying degrees have continued to come up as the year, and the decade, approaches its culmination.

Among those with the highest billing has been Terminator: Dark Fate. And perhaps in line with Rambo: Last Blood which we felt should’ve been the last nail for an illustrious franchise from the 1980s, it’s perhaps time that Terminator finally calls it a day as well.

Many would feel that this should perhaps have happened three films and a television series ago, with Rise of the Machines (2003), Salvation (2009), Genisys (2015), and The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008–2009) belonging to a completely different galaxy from The Terminator (1984) and Judgment Day (1991).

The aim of all the releases since the turn of the millennia – as has been the case with far too many franchises, sequels and reboots – seems to be to cash in on as much dough from towering names of the past.

A lot of these films appear to have a two-pronged target audience: the generation that lived through those classics and formed the cult that wants to revisit the heroes of the youth, and the new generation that has heard stories of how big a deal certain films and characters were, making them sufficiently intrigued so as to head to the multiplexes.

This has meant that sufficient business has been done for many of the franchises to continue to churn out films, more as merchandise replicas than any serious pieces of art. However, given the significantly underwhelming response to this latest attempt at similar commodification, Dark Fate appears to be as self-prophesying a title as Last Blood was.

Dark Fate goes back into the realm of the franchise’s first two films, disjointed from the three previous films of the Terminator series. In a way it attempts to ask the franchise’s aficionados to completely forget the three overwhelming films and think of the latest edition as continuation of the excellence, and the storyline, that the first two Terminator films offered.
Despit failures on multiple fronts, the fans of the franchise would argue that Dark Fate is still an upgrade on the three previous films. But that’s only because it continues from where Terminator 2 left off

T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) are set to combat an advanced terminator Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna), from whom human-robot merger Grace (Mackenzie Davis) is vying to protect Dani (Natalia Reyes) as well.

While the reason behind the shielding forces having been activated is obvious, why Rev-9 wants to eliminate Dani at an automobile assembly plant in Mexico City, in the first place, is something you’ll have to find out on your own – even if the film will take its time revealing it.

Even the return of James Cameron, as the film’s executive producer, doesn’t manage to save the film from its dark fate. Similarly, director Tim Miller of Deadpool fame is the latest to fail in finding the answer for the survival of sci-fi franchises from the previous century in the modern era where the unique ideas of yesteryears have become run-of-the-mill.

Terminator: Dark Fate can be summed up by the fact that further sequels for the franchise, which made all the noise in the lead up to the film’s release, have now been shelved.

Even so, it is worth mentioning that despite the failures on multiple fronts, the fans of the franchise would argue that Dark Fate is still an upgrade on the three previous films. But that’s only because it continues from where Terminator 2 left off. And that’s the primary reason why the film will continue to attack viewers, if and when it turns out to be the termination of the franchise.