There are moments in everyone’s life that cannot be replicated.
Driving for the first time, without parental supervision. Graduating from High School together with your peers. Waiting in line to see “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” (one I’d rather not relive). The anticipation of a lot of these things is what makes them great. There is raw emotion that you feel before “the event” actually happens.
Often times, we build ourselves up for those moments, and when “the event” actually happens, we’re sometimes let down. I feel that happens more-often-than-not; the “Phantom Menace” is definitely one of those experiences. I don’t want to wait in line for over 10 minutes for a movie ever again. I do remember having fun during the anticipation, but when “the event” is a let down, it tends to cloud the joy you had during the anticipation period.
Imagine waiting seven years for a sequel. Presently, Hollywood won’t even green-light a film series unless there is already a second set of scripts.
Through the 80s and early 90s before the Internet was a major part of our culture, the only entertainment news that the masses were able to get were in Hollywood featured magazines or “Entertainment Tonight.” For this next feature, I remember vaguely listening to Leeza Gibbons deliver a package on “Entertainment Tonight” while I was focused on eating my dinner. It was about the ridiculous budget that was continuing to grow and grow and grow as complications occurred during production. The numbers were outrageous, even by today’s standards, and that is probably why I made note of that in 1990, a year before its expected release.
I remember people being outraged by the decadent numbers.
“A 75 million dollar budget!? How can a movie cost that much? Now you’re telling me 75 million wasn’t enough and they needed 13 million more? Be damned if I go see it!”
I think it grew an additional 14 million dollars on top of the next 13 mill. Outrageous, right?
I feel that the early intermittent news reports regarding all of this chaos that occurred on set and during production lead to a years worth of buzz. You want to talk about anticipation? Everybody was curious, even my grandma, bless her heart.
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” was released in 1991 a year later, and everyone forgot about the laments regarding the budget. Every penny may not have been well spent (watch the making of commentaries on the Blue Rays if you don’t believe me), but the effort and nightmares of the budget were well worth it.
I confidently say that this sequel, well out does the original from script, to scope, to effects, and to the overall vision.
I find that when you hear about an outrageous budget, you need to see that money within the confines of the film itself. I remember “Waterworld” being a movie that would later break this movie’s budget records. I remember viewing “Waterworld,” which similarly benefited from the budget buzz like “Terminator 2,” and thought to myself, “What the hell cost them so much money in that piece of shit?”
Long story…”T2” held nothing back from showing where all of that money went. There are three amazing “vehicle” pursuits (the second being when the T-1000 is on foot running down a police car). The visual effects of the liquid metal T-1000 changed filmmaking. People (Hollywood people in particular) began to think differently about what was really possible with “live action” and started making ALL things possible to see on film.
The first step in making a great sequel is having the people that were a part of the first successful story be involved in the next. Actors are always the obvious ones in this endeavor, but I am talking the director, writers, crew, makeup, etc. When you have a team of people that want to have another go, you can generally be headed in the correct direction.
A little detail that I find great, may not seem like a big deal, but it proves that everyone that was involved in the passion of creating the first “Terminator” movie were involved in some of the decision making in the second.
Earl Boen is an underrated Hollywood character actor. His role as Dr. Peter Silberman in the first movie is one of my favorite parts. Silberman offers a very light moment in a pretty serious movie by calling Kyle Reese a “loon.” His line is the quote I used for my blog post on it, and it is one of the lines that has stuck with me over the years. Probably because it made my father laugh and I remember that joy. He had a great laugh.
Point being, Boen’s Silberman is back in the sequel as the doctor that is overseeing Sarah’s therapy at the state hospital. I find that he is playing the very same, cynical therapist we see in the original, until finally he witnesses what the T-800 and the T-1000 can do, and his mind is blown right before us. That is a very rewarding fan-service type moment for those of us that really enjoyed his character the first go around. It lets your audience know, “Hey, we didn’t forget the important subtleties in the midst of our chaotic production,” as they wink their eye.
Pity is not the correct word, but I do feel sorry for some of the people that cannot experience those kinds of anticipations any more. We can know about every in-and-out of all the things that are happening on a set before the movie is released in some situations. It’s getting harder and harder for people to create real stories with real surprises, thrills, suspense, and reversals. If we don’t read about it online, we’ll probably have crucial plot moments forced upon us in a trailer.
I know, I went grumpy old man there…don’t get me wrong, people like me that had to wait are why we don’t have to wait anymore. It annoyed us a little at the time and we wanted to make things easier on people that were coming up behind us. Little did we know that yes, “The waiting is the hardest part” Tom, but without it, we generally don’t get the great pay off either.