Two sci-fi trailers, each seeing the return of iconic actors/characters. Which one made the most excited? Let’s find out!
Terminator: Dark Fate
Designed as a soft reboot, this film is set two decades after T2: Judgement Day and is designed to shift everything from T3 onward into alternate timelines. I’m not too upset by that. Honestly, the original two were by far the best of the films, and so to see a new attempt at continuing the story from there is fine by me. James Cameron is back on board too, and directorial duties have fallen with Deadpool’s Tim Miller. So, let’s start with what we see in the trailer. Below is the actual video and a short write-up of it if you don’t have time to watch yet.
The trailer opens with a bit of action while Grace, a human-machine hybrid played by Mackenzie Davis, tries to protect her allies. Their foe is a Terminator that seems to have both the traditional metal endoskeleton and liquid abilities, even separating the two forms at one point. Just as Grace gets boxed in, Linda Hamilton turns up, reprising her role as Sarah Connor, and blows the Terminator up. From there, we get some story beats, such as Sarah questioning whether Grace is human, and the two discuss why they’re protecting Dani. We get a shot of Arnie, back in his original role, and a bunch of explosions and action scenes. Dani then asks Grace, “How do we win?” and she responds, “We win, by keeping you alive.”
That’s pretty much all you need to know. In terms of what it achieves, there’s good and bad there for me, and that pretty much falls across the entire thing. I’ll start with the technical stuff though.
The music is suitably atmospheric, but I must confess, I miss the original theme. That thing is so iconic and it’s one that I find myself humming from time to time. Visually, it looks pretty good. The explosions are suitably good, and to be fair, with what they’re going for, CG is really the only way to achieve it. To that end, the CG looks decent. From a personal standpoint though, I still prefer practical effects, so am more of a fan of the explosions than the new Terminator effects. From what little see, it looks like Mackenzie Davis is rocking it as Grace, both in terms of vocal performance and the action scenes. Linda Hamilton seems to be perfectly capable of holding her own in the action scenes too, though her delivery of some lines here seems a little off to me. I’m not even sure why they come across that way. While Gabriel Luna seems to be comfortable in his role as the Rev-9 Terminator, I’d say that he doesn’t quite have the same mechanical coldness to his expression as Arnie and Robert Patrick did, but I’m open to him being decent.
From a story standpoint, I’m glad our main hero is human, even if cybernetically enhanced. With T2, I felt that having a Terminator on the good guy side left me feeling like the heroes were in less peril. Grace goes a long way to solving that issue for me, especially with the interesting twin-form of the Rev-9. In that respect, while I have a nostalgic smile from seeing Arnie in the trailer, part of me wishes he wasn’t in it just so we could entirely avoid that ‘unstoppable’ feel on the hero side. Still, with the Rev-9 able to take on two forms at once, that may help nullify that.
I’d like to know more about why Dani is so important so that definitely felt missing from the trailer. That’s a minor thing though, as the trailer does a good job of giving us an idea of what to expect. It does seem like it’ll be more like T2 than the original film, which is a shame in my eyes, as I preferred the creeping dread of the first one. It fits well with the currently prevailing modern releases though, so it makes sense.
In all, even with my issues with the trailer, I’m happy with how this looks. Here’s hoping the next trailer builds on that and sells me on it completely.
Star Trek: Picard
Set fifteen years after the end of ST:TNG, Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Jean-Luc Picard. We’re joining a very different man to the Captain we once knew, as he’s been deeply affected by the destruction of Romulus. As with Terminator: Dark Fate, I’ll start with the actual trailer and a brief write-up.
We get some scenic shots of farmland, and a hand tending to the flowers as a voice-over kicks in. It talks about how, fifteen years ago, Picard led us out of the darkness, commanding the greatest Rescue Armada in history. It asks what the cost was: faith, in us and himself. We see some Picard wine, and the voiceover asks, “why did you leave Starfleet, Admiral?” Then, we get our first proper shot of Patrick Stewart as Picard, complete with a familiar musical burst. This segues into the logo for the series and the tagline ‘The end is only the beginning.’
Okay, so this was very good. TNG was my era of Star Trek, and Picard is always my pick for best Captain, so I’ve been excited since this was announced. The lack of any space shots was a real shame, as I’m pretty sure Picard is going to end up on a starship, but I don’t think the point was to show us what we’re getting here. It feels like this was designed to simply show us that Picard really is back, and he’s not at his happiest.
This teases us with the iconic character whiles not really giving us anything more than a brief overview of where he’s at in life. In a way, that actually works really well, because I think it’s hard not to look forward to when we learn more now. The cinematography looked beautiful, and the musical hark back to the series was perfectly placed.
So, I’m looking at this as a pseudo-prologue more than anything. It’s certainly a successful one though!
Which did it better?
This was interesting because I was looking forward to both trailers landing. In general terms, Terminator: Dark Fate did more of what I expect – and indeed want – from a trailer. Doing so let me see more of what may come across as flaws to me though. Meanwhile, Picard’s minimalist approach left me a little more excited, precisely because it didn’t give me what I want. Could that change when we get more footage from the latest Trek? Perhaps. Given the different tone of each franchise, that makes sense though, as Terminator is clearly supposed to be more action-packed than Picard. Right now though, the teasing of what to expect worked better than the in-your-face approach for me. So, for being the one that left me most excited, I give the win to Star Trek: Picard.
But what about yourselves? What did you think of the trailers? Are you looking forward to either? Do you agree with my result? Let me know in the comments below.