Man Without Qualities

Friday, July 04, 2003

Davis Descending XI: The Rise Of The Recall Voters

Two events of termination have occurred that ought to be unrelated, but, because of the peculiar California political situation, are intimately related.

First: Activists seeking to oust Democratic Gov. Gray Davis said Thursday they have turned in enough signatures for a recall election.

Second: Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines is terrific - worthy of every glowing review it has received, and far better than, for example, the over-hyped, boring, pretentious Minority Report.

And a Los Angeles Times poll has simultaneously found that 51 percent of those polled want Davis out, while 42 percent would reject a recall. The rest said they didn't know what to do.

Yes, despite the most valiant efforts of the California Secretary of State and strong-arm labor unions, it appears that Governor Davis's Judgment Day is at hand, this result largely the product of the internet. Similarly, the T3 Judgment Day is born of Skynet, apparently some uber-Java-cum-Linux software that infects every computer in the world, thereby elegantly updating the Terminator franchise from the world of 1984 and 1991 where "technology" meant computer chips, to 2003, where "technology" means computer code. Yes, the human world of T3 is attacked and destroyed by open-source-software.

But while Governor Davis and his operatives seem as helpless and paralysed as the foolish government officials of T-3, that movie out-performs on so many levels! It revives a long-dormant franchise so gracefully that one doesn't even realize the franchise was dormant in the first place. It seamlessly and inevitably requires and permits a Terminator 4, but on terms that would, if necessary, permit T4 to be made with or without Arnold Schwarzenegger - should the governorship intervene in his schedule. And in a world of second-best alternatives, if one really must be extinguished by a homicidal cyberorganism from the future, please, please, please let it be a nude Kristanna Loken who does the dirty deed.

And then there is the writing - especially Mr. Schwarzenegger's lines. He must become governor if only because it is impossible to resist the prospect of Governor Schwarzenegger emerging from an inevitable train wreck surrounding the California budget, a wreck which has by then rendered scores of once-promising political careers into mere flying fragments of debris, to inform California voters in his most severe dead-pan: "We need another vehicle." And think about Mr. Schwarzenegger facing down some future whining Sacramento politico's complaint that the Governor has extended unmet promises to secure a budget deal with a cybernetically frank: "I lied."

Let it happen, Arnold, let it happen!

Viewing Note: The police shrink who debriefed John Connor's mother, Sarah, in the first movie and reappeared in T2 is again played by actor Earl Boen who seeks to comfort John's future wife in a cemetery. If you keep Boen's prior involvement in mind, what he says and does and the way he says and does it in this movie make a lot more sense - and are pretty hilarious, to boot.

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