Dates and Dollars
Dark Fate opened in Belgium, France, and Switzerland on October 23, 2019. It opened in 40 countries before it made its American debut on November 1. The film cost $185 million to make. It was a box office disappointment. It made just over $63 million in the U.S. and Canada. It’s worldwide gross was over $261 million.[i] This article contains spoilers.
[i] International Movie Database, Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) - IMDb, last accessed 9/11/22.
The Premise, Plot, and Annoying Fans – Spoiler Alert
Two things guaranteed to put franchise fans in a bad mood at film’s beginning are killing off a popular character and negating the purpose of previous franchise movies. Dark Fate does both. It has the usual formula of both sides sending an entity back in time; one to protect and one to terminate. Grace (Mackenzie Davis) is an enhanced human whose objective it to protect future human leader Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes). Gabriel (Gabriel Luna) is the terminator unit. Gabriel is superior to Grace.
Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) shows up during a fight between Grace and Gabriel. The names Sarah and John Connor, and SkyNET, mean nothing to Grace. Sarah and Grace don’t trust each other so they have a tenuous working relationship. Sarah Connor has been getting tips on when Terminators will show up so she can destroy them. Grace figures out the location of the source of Sarah’s tips. At the source they find the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) that killed John Connor. This trio has to work together to prevent Dani’s termination.
Analysis – More Spoilers
Dani lives in Mexico and has an uncle who is a coyote, a person who smuggles immigrants. The movie makes a distinction between good coyotes and bad ones. This could be viewed as all Mexicans are related to, or know, someone who is a coyote.
A terminator can't be reasoned with but Gabriel attempts to reason with Dani's protectors. This leaves for speculation if Gabriel calculated a possibility of successful negotiation or calculated a high probability of failure against the protectors?
Dark Fate erases John and Sarah Connor from history. It illustrates the loss of a child to a parent. All the child could have been will never be. Dark Fate takes it a step further. Sarah knows what John would have been. John and Sarah are unknown in the new future. When Sarah looks at T-800 with Alicia (Alicia Borrachero) and Mateo (Manuel Pacific) it’s easy to picture her thinking what could have been. She, John, and a T-800 could have had a normal life in a family like setting.
The characters look right for the part. Sarah Connor has the look of, a smoker and heavy drinker, who has been fighting the battle against terminators for almost 40 years. Grace had the no nonsense look of a combat soldier. Previous Terminator movies explained T-800s’ living tissue ages comparable to humans. The robotic inside is designed to last, their performance doesn’t diminish. Dani has a young look.
Sarah assumes Dani would be mother to the resistance leader. Grace sets Sarah right. Dani will be the resistance leader. Grace tells of her first meeting with Dani.
Dani shows the leadership ability young John Connor didn’t show in Terminator 2 and 3. Technical skills in military equipment doesn’t translate into leadership. Dani has the choice of running and hiding or being bait in a “kill box”. She chooses to be bait, against Grace’s advice. The willingness to listen to conflicting advice from those more knowledgeable then making the correct choice is another trait of a great leader. Early in her resistance movement she makes a short speech to gain followers. The ability to make people believe they can rise above their circumstance is what famous, and infamous, movement leaders do. This is true in fact and fiction. In science fiction women who can inspire the populace to follow them goes back at least as far as Maria in “Metropolis”.[i]
The movie’s ending indicates Sarah and Maria will attempt to delay the inevitable. T-800 gives a high probability if a machine takeover is avoided, society will soon breakdown. This leaves the way open for an sequel about a dystopian future without a machine takeover.
Previous Terminator movies mention multiple timelines, including the original Terminator. Terminator: Genesis talks about a time traveler seeing multiple timelines. It’s feasible a T-800 could record and analyze these timelines.
Separate timelines would be like building forks in roads. This as opposed to a single timeline which would be like repaving roads. Separate timelines give the franchise a host of possibilities.
[i] Maria’s (Brigitte Helm) robot duplicate used the same ability for evil.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Robert Sacchi