A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Terminator: Dark Fate is the sixth movie in the popular Terminator series. It ignores the third, fourth, and fifth movies and brings back older characters, including Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and the original Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sci-fi/fantasy violence is intense: Expect lots of weapons, characters being shot and dying, blood, crashes, explosions, futuristic war sequences, and robots flying apart. Characters are also stabbed, sliced, run through with chunks of metal, and thrown from moving vehicles. Language is also strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "motherf----r," and more. Time travelers arrive, as always, naked; both male and female bottoms are shown, and there's a very brief, distant side view of a naked woman. A young couple is seen making out. Characters drink beer, and a character remarks that she regularly "drinks until she blacks out."
- Parents say
- Kids say
Don't waste your money on this nonsensical special effects and meandering plot.
All of it is mo... Continue reading
What's the story?
In TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) escapes with her son, John, in the year 1998, but a Terminator catches up with them anyway. Twenty-two years later, in Mexico, two new time travelers arrive. Grace (Mackenzie Davis) appears to be a superhuman fighter, and a brand-new Terminator (Gabriel Luna) seems to have the same liquid metal quality as the T-1000. They both start tracking down young Dani (Natalia Reyes), a normal girl who lives with her father and brother. The Terminator attacks Dani, and Grace swoops in to defend her. Before long, Sarah Connor herself joins the fray. Together and on the run from the deadly machine, the three women follow secret coordinates to Texas, where they hope to enlist the aid of an old foe ...
Is it any good?
This sixth Terminator movie erases the events of the previous three (dud) sequels but winds up feeling half-erased itself. It's like a dull, pale, irrelevant carbon copy of a once glorious hit. Not only does Terminator: Dark Fate reunite Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but James Cameron produced and contributed to the story (along with about half a dozen other writers). Yet none of them really seems to have a reason to be here, other than to make a few reference-tinged jokes. Their presence actually detracts from the main plot -- that of Grace and Dani -- but even if it didn't, Grace and Dani's story doesn't offer anything new or surprising.
Not even the evil Terminator in Terminator: Dark Fate offers anything new. He recycles the liquid metal idea from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, with one new power that makes no sense: He can separate his skeleton from his skin and be in two places at once. (You'd think the skin would be more vulnerable, but the movie does nothing with this idea.) Director Tim Miller, whose previous work on Deadpool was bright, colorful, and smooth, turns in sludgy, choppy action here, with a dull luster; it's often hard to tell what's going on. There's also a distinct lack of suspense and humor, except for one line in which Schwarzenegger (ironically) declares himself to be "extremely funny."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Terminator: Dark Fate's violence. How does it compare to other movies in the series on that front? How much is actually shown? How did it make you feel? Was it exciting or shocking? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Does the movie have any positive role models? What do the women contribute to the story? Do they have agency?
How does the movie's subplot about immigration reflect real-life news stories?
If you could travel back in time, what would you change?
- In theaters: November 1, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: January 14, 2020
- Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis
- Director: Tim Miller
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Robots
- Run time: 128 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence throughout, language and brief nudity
- Last updated: January 23, 2020
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