You might not know this about me, because I don’t talk about it very much, but I enjoy the films of Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s rare that I get a chance to discuss his work in great detail, so I was particularly pleased to be invited on The Auteurcast to discuss “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” As you’ll hear on the show, while it might not be my favorite Schwarzenegger movie, it nonetheless had an enormous impact on my life — it was the first R-rated movie I ever saw in the theater, and to say that I kind of enjoyed it would be like saying I kind of enjoy breathing. I became mildly obsessed. I might still be.
Hosted by Rudie Obias and West Anthony, the Auteurcast is, true to its name, a podcast about auteurs: every few weeks, they select a new filmmaker to cover and examine on a film-by-film basis; right now their subject is James Cameron. It was fun to talk with them about “T2” as it fits into the larger oeuvres of both Schwarzenegger and Cameron, and I enjoyed the way our conversation morphed, T-1000-style, from a chat about this single film into a chat about the broader ideas in their work (Yes, Schwarzenegger’s movies have ideas in them, shut up).
Though I hadn’t really thought about it much before I brought it up on the show, it is interesting to consider “Terminator 2” as a major turning point in Hollywood history. That shape-changing liquid metal Terminator was one of the first extensively computer generated movie characters, and its success paved the way for creations like Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” and Caesar in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” And “T2” is all about turning points: in wars, both present and future, and in the relationship between humanity and technology, which is really the core conflict in every movie Cameron makes. He’s dazzled by what technology can do and terrified by what it might do.