Terminator 2: Judgment Day ★★★★

The effects are godly, and deserve 5 stars on their own. The absolutely unbelievable combination of practical effects and early CGI left me stunned even 28 years later. Schwarzenegger is surprisingly funny, and is fantastic in his new role here. I liked the juxtaposition of the Terminator becoming more human as Sarah Connor becomes more like the Terminator. She has some really interesting development exploring her PTSD after the first film. I also liked the tense industrial score and the rich diversity of cinematography techniques. Very, very excellently directed.

The story is good, but the writing itself is not. I really didn't like that the Terminator becomes a literal exposition machine, and holistically, the movie is horrible with over-explanation. While I really enjoyed the character development throughout, the pacing and overall story structure is bloated and dull, especially in comparison with the relentless efficiency of the first movie. This needed some ruthless editing, but I imagine Cameron was too precious with his material. In the end, this movie this feels more like a novel sprinkled with SFX cut scenes. The kid actor does a great job sharing scenes with THE Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he's whiny, annoying, and generally not a great actor.

T2 is full of really intriguing ideas to develop the story from the first movie 7 years prior, but I wish it had the same energy. While it remains a good movie, I think Cameron the writer unfortunately weighed down Cameron the director, and ultimately, the potential for perfection is lost.

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