4. Scene: The Future War
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4o99k-aPKk&feature=player_embedded It all begins with a chilling narration from Sarah Connor - "3 billion human lives ended on August 29th, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgement Day. They lived only to face a new nightmare; the war against the machines " - and a thudding crush as a T-800 endoskeleton stamps on a human skull. What follows takes the modestly budgeted nightmare scenes of the original film and makes them far more harrowing and diverting, thanks to incredible special effects; laser fly everywhere, and cars are effortlessly catapulted all over the place.
5. Badass Adult John Connor
It is an image that would be re-used in both the third and fourth Terminator films, yet one that was never captured as well as in its brief few seconds in T2. It is the resonant concept that has been prevalent since the first film, that John Connor must make it to adulthood if the human race is to survive, and in the opening moments of this film, we get a brief, but memorable glimpse of an of-age Connor, scarred but determined-looking, calling the shots on the battlefield. The later entries' attempts to recapture this feeling - of Nick Stahl in old-guy makeup, and Christian Bale's well-acted but poorly-scripted effort - inexorably failed.
"As before, the resistance was able to send a lone warrior, a protector for John. It was just a question of which one of them would reach him first."
A succinct opening narration from Sarah Connor that gives you the low-down on what the next 2+ hours will bring.
7. Opening Credits
Cameron presents, at least for the relative safety of a flashy summer blockbuster, a frightening image of apocalypse during his opening credit sequence; flaming playgrounds, fire everywhere, and that culminating, horrifying image that would define the series from start to finish, though one which would also by film's end come to represent salvation, the endoskeleton. There's a poignancy here too, and that's caused primarily by the next reason on our list...
8. Brad Fiedel's Score
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=L20ysibUM7k Far away from his synthy, some might say "cheesy" work on the previous film, Brad Fiedel upped his game substantially for his second collaboration with James Cameron, beefing up the main theme with a more robust, metallic sound that has become an incredibly iconic pop-culture beat. While the main theme might provide T2 with its emotional resonance, Fiedel also did a great job creating a memorable leitmotif for the villainous T-1000, a droning, robotic sound which always made it clear that danger was near, and complimented Robert Patrick's screen presence perfectly.
While Cameron's Terminator was seemingly less fussed about its dominant aesthetic, his Aliens displayed a clear deference towards the colour that would dominate many of his works, such as The Abyss
, and even Avatar, as well as Terminator 2 - blue. The cool, metallic blue utilised in virtually every night-time scene compliments the mechanical composition of both Connor's aggressor and his saviour, and as Arnold's T-800 becomes more human, the scenes invite more light and more reddish tones, such as the New Mexico interlude, and of course, the saturated yellows and reds of the steel mill showdown.