Most of the talk surrounding the Terminator franchise these days tends to focus on three failed reboots in the space of a decade, all of which were touted as the first installment of a brand new trilogy that would deliver worthy successors to James Cameron’s duology at long last, only for Salvation, Genisys and Dark Fate to fall flat.
As a result, it’s often overlooked that Jonathan Mostow’s Rise of the Machines might just be the best Terminator effort that wasn’t directed by Cameron. It can’t hold a candle to the first two, although very few action or sci-fi movies in history can, but it’s a damn entertaining blockbuster thrill ride that goes big on the action sequences and shocked audiences everywhere with the ending.
In a new interview with ComicBookMovie, Mostow reflected on his time at the helm of the series and admitted that while he didn’t stand a chance of emulating Cameron’s opening pair, the filmmaker tried to give his best shot as a fan of the series first and foremost.
“I very much enjoyed making Terminator 3. Terminator 2 was such a groundbreaking, seminal film. It was the first time audiences had truly seen digital effects and rendered in a way that left their jaws on the floor. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing. You can only really dazzle people like that once. It was very hard, whether it be Terminator or any other film for that matter, to come up with the visual effects that could equal the dazzling spectacle of Terminator 2.
When I made mine, I made it as a fan of the first two films trying to make the film I would have wanted to see. It’s been interesting to see subsequently different filmmakers, different producers, and even different casts coming along and reincarnating the film and extending the franchise. I haven’t really been involved with the subsequent films. I was involved in developing the screenplay for Terminator 4, but elected to do something else and directed a different film instead. I have sat back like the rest of the world and just watched the franchise continue.”
Terminator will inevitably be rebooted again as the brand holds onto its last shreds of cultural value, but maybe it’d be for the best if the killer robots from the future were to take a breather for a while. Three failed reinventions in ten years is a poor return, so maybe spending more time on development would yield much better results.