The Anti-Life, Anti-Human politics of “Terminator Genisys”By Dave Andrusko
I had missed the news that Sonny Bunch, the executive editor of the Washington Free Beacon, a former film critic for the Washington Times and assistant editor of books and arts for the Weekly Standard, is now guest blogging for the Washington Post.
Since Bunch writes about culture and politics and reviews movies for the Beacon, it’s no surprise that his guest blog today would be a review of the new “Terminator” movie.
As a good film reviewer should, Bunch talks about “Terminator Genisys” (which comes out today) in the context of the “Terminator franchise,” which includes some outstanding films, others decidedly less so.
That’s nice, but what in the world, you ask, does any of this have to do with us? Glad you asked.
Bunch begins with a far more articulate explication of something I had thought about more than once but never wrote about: “Allow me to suggest that the first two ‘Terminator’ films are, arguably, classic pro-life tracts.”
Bunch immediately adds
Not buying it? I don’t blame you! But let’s just consider the possibility for a moment.He artfully develops his thesis, reminding us of insights we didn’t know we knew. (Here is the one long quote from Bunch’s review)
After all, how is the T-800’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger) mission to go back in time and kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) described? “A sort of retroactive abortion.” “The Terminator” culminates with an impoverished single mother being impregnated following a one-night stand with a man who perishes shortly after. Despite the obvious advantages to terminating the pregnancy, she chooses to keep the baby because, well, her boy JC is the savior of the human race.
The attachment to human life is more pronounced in the second film. John Connor (Edward Furlong) spends much of his time educating the Terminator (Schwarzenegger) about the importance of not ending human life. Indeed, by the close of the picture he’s not even wounding them any longer! Quite an improvement. Philosophically, Skynet’s apocalyptic fervor is presented by JC as karmic payback for man’s propensity to do violence to each other. More strikingly, though, is Sarah’s speech to the would-be creator of Skynet, Miles Dyson (Joe Morton), about the wonder of human creation.
“F—ing men like you built the hydrogen bomb. Men like you thought it up. You think you’re so creative,” Sarah declaims. “You don’t know what it’s like to really create something, to create a life, to feel it growing inside you. All you know how to create is death and destruction!”
Since I really do want you to read the review, let me conclude with two brief thoughts.
First, judging by reviews and plot summaries I’ve read in [eager] anticipation of Terminator Genisys, the film is impossibly complicated, incoherent to the point of absurdity, whose narrative is so back and forth in time it would require script notes and a Teaching Assistant to even begin to understand what’s going on.
Second, life in all its preciousness, in all its uniqueness, in all its beauty is implicitly celebrated in the first two films. As Bunch describes the message, “Life is precious and must be protected and nurtured so that it can flower and the world can benefit from it.”
The very opposite is true of Terminator Genisys. Love? Sacrifice? The special mother/son bond? That’s so 1980s-ish. And, reading Bunch, it’s clear that this inversion is anything but subtle.
Does that say something about the peculiar challenges we face today, or what?
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Source: NRLC News