Honoring the Heroine: Sarah Connor

Well, Christmas is over, and it is time for the last post this year. And what better to talk about when the year nears its end and we start thinking about the good and the bad in the past year than a franchise which is all about Judgement Day?

Now, I have to admit, I am not particularly into action movies, mostly because this kind of movie tend to be unbelievable predictable and dumb. There comes the point at which you have seen the “hero rescues the world” plot so often that it becomes boring. I do appreciate the occasionally well made action movie, though. The ones which are about a little bit more than explosions, car chases and flying bullets.

The Terminator Franchise mostly counts as good. To summon it up: The first movie was great, the second one outstanding. The third one, I quite like contrary to popular opinion, though mostly because of the ballsy ending. I hated the fourth one, and it is my firm believe that at this point the only way to rescue the franchise is to ignore its existence. I didn’t watch the TV series, because to me, Linda Hamilton is not replaceable as Sarah Connor.

Speaking of which: Isn’t it telling that the show was called the Sarah Connor Chronicles and not the John Connor Chronicles? While John is the saviour of humanity, the story of his mother is just as important if not more important than his own.

But let’s talk about the first two movies, because they are the ones who established one of the best written action heroines. Actually, one of the best action heroes in general, considering that this is one of the rare cases in the action genre, in which we are treated to true character development.

Sarah-Connor

Nowadays, people tend to remember the Sarah Connor at the right, the one who expertly handles weapons and explosives and is a fighter in every sense of the word. But I think this character would only be half as great if we hadn’t meet the Sarah Connor to the left first, the waitress, who very much started out as a damsel in distress.

The first Terminator movie is very 1980s. And I don’t just mean the clothes and frankly horrible hairstyles, the whole plot reads like a typical movie from the era. At least it does for the first half. There are some unusual touches, especially the way the point-of-view of the Terminator is shown was quite innovative, but  the time travel theme was pretty much en vogue back then, and all in all it is a typical hero rescues woman in danger plot.

Sarah Connor doesn’t stay the damsel in distress, though. From the get go, she proves to be someone, who doesn’t give up, and during the movie, she starts picking up the first skills she would need to fulfil her destiny. If destiny is even the right word. One could say that she doesn’t have a choice, since she knows what she has to be in the future. But if she didn’t made the decision to be what she had to be, this future would never happen, which in turn would mean that it were her own decisions which sharped her fate – yeah, I know. This kind of convoluted logic is the reason time travel stories are always a little bit problematic.

It is also the reason the second movie has a basic problem: If Sarah changes her own future, she also changes the future of Kyle Reese, John’s father, thus influencing her own past, too. But let’s not dwell on that. As I mentioned, in the second movie Sarah has become a fighter, bend on doing what has to be done to be prepared for the future. Her determination is awesome, but it would be only half as awesome if we didn’t knew what kind of person she was before she was confronted with her own future. If we didn’t knew about the sacrifices she did, about the development she went through, she would be just another female fighter.

It is a little bit arguable, who the protagonist of the second movie is. I think I would say that Sarah is the protagonist of the first one, the Terminator the one of the second one and John the one of the third one. If the movie makers had any smarts, they would have made Kyle Reese the one of the fourth one, thus concluding the circle. Alas, the opportunity was missed and now it looks like the fifth Terminator movie will be a reboot. Whatever. Nobody will ever have the impact the first Sarah Connor had. I wish that they would not made a total reboot, but instead go for a reboot in a sense that they try again to do a post-apocalyptic trilogy. I would love to watch a movie in which John Connor meets Kyle Reese, telling him about the legendary Sarah Connor. A movie in which we get to see how everything she did during her live-time caused her to become a legend.

Quote: “Come on. Do I look like the mother of the future? I mean, am I tough, organized? I can’t even balance my check book!”

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