Friday, May 22, 2009

Finding Biblical Lessons in Apocalyptic Stories

In his Christianity Today online article, Jesus and the Terminator, writer Peter Chattaway looks for biblical allusions in the Terminator stories. He notes,

In the first Terminator, Kyle is sent back in time to protect Sarah, and although he does not know it, he will also become John's father. Thus, the film portrays an annunciation of sorts. As the Terminator robot kills everyone who comes between itself and Sarah, the film evokes parallels to the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem. And just as the birth of Christ took place against the backdrop of a cosmic war in which the final outcome was never really in doubt, so too the birth of John Connor is soaked in the blood of battles he is destined to fight. (It's also tempting to suggest that John Connor's initials might have messianic parallels, but they are also the initials of writer-director James Cameron, so who knows?)

The sequels complicate matters in a number of ways, as more robotic assassins and more protectors go back in time to fight over John's life, but the allusions remain. The second film reveals that the day the war with the machines began is called Judgment Day. A spin-off television series, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, also makes explicit use of biblical themes, partly because one of its lead actors, Richard T. Jones, who plays fbi agent James Ellison, is an openly devout Christian. Read more

I have been a fan of Terminator stories since the first movie (you may ask what I am not a fan of. Well, I must confess I am not a fan of watching football. No, don't throw that stone!). I have been reading Terminators novels, have my collection of the Terminator movie DVDs and Terminator comics. I even played Terminator computer games which I have truly enjoyed.

Sarah Connors remains an enigma in the series. According to Chattaway, Sarah Connors is responsible for the whole war! He derived this from watching deleted scenes in the T1 DVD.

Just as the Terminator came back in time to kill Sarah and prevent the birth of John Connor, thereby inadvertently drawing Kyle Reese back in time and guaranteeing the birth of John Connor, so too Sarah Connor tried to destroy Cyberdyne and prevent the birth of Skynet, thereby inadvertently drawing the Terminator towards the Cyberdyne factory and guaranteeing the rise of Skynet. And this point -- this similarity between the two characters' actions, and the consequences of their actions -- is underscored by visual motifs such as the phone-book scanning.

Read his article and link to YouTube to watch the deleted scenes and decide. For me, the Sarah Connors Chronicles now showing on television is giving me headaches in the way the Terminator story universe is being abused. Nevertheless, as a faithful fan, I shall continue to watch the television series.

All this to prepare me for the Terminator movie, Terminator:Salvation. Look for my coming review of the movie in this blog. In the immortal words of the Terminator, "I'll be back!"

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Blogger Kansas Bob said...

Saw the new movie Thursday.. not a great one.. like the TV show better.. the TV John Conner has much more depth than the movie version.

12:51 AM  

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