'Terminator 2' Still Has The Best Movie Teaser Of All Time
This week marks the 30th anniversary of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, the last Terminator movie ever made in another, less chaotic timeline. It's hard to convey just how insane the hype surrounding this movie was back in 1991. There were toys, loads of t-shirts, Subway collector cup commercials -- although, in retrospect, the robot killing machine did prove to be Subway's least problematic mascot. And we can't neglect the tie-in music video in which the T-800 travels back in time to murder Guns N' Roses, presumably after being reprogrammed by Mötley Crüe.
But one of the unsung driving forces of the movie's popularity was its teaser trailer which depicted the iconic metal skeleton being assembled in a factory and even getting the "Austrian bodybuilder" deluxe living tissue treatment, before eventually revealing Arnold Schwarzenegger with the creepy red eyes of a 1980s family photo. The teaser was no small feat; the filmmakers set aside $150,000 from the budget just to film it, which was a "staggering" amount to spend on a trailer at the time. And keep in mind, this was before they had even started filming the actual movie.
The teaser accomplishes a lot in just a short amount of time. Obviously, it whet everyone's appetite for the movie, but it also did tons of narrative leg-work. First of all, it set up the idea that more Terminators can be easily constructed, hence how the killer robot from the earlier movie returns. But most importantly, it primed audiences for the big plot twist, one that the movie's opening act crafts carefully; the T-800 is John Conner's protector now, and the T-1000, the cop who seemed human, is the evil robot. The teaser was a brilliant piece of misdirection, making it seem as though yet another villainous Terminator was being built to finish the job he started in the first movie. What we don't see is the moment in the story when grizzled future John Connor reprograms him.
Unfortunately, what should have been one of the greatest twists in movie history was totally screwed over by the full theatrical trailer.
Nevertheless, that teaser was so popular it even, it seems, inspired one of the toys: the Bio-Flesh Regenerator. You know, the one where kids can give their Terminator action figures a fresh coat of Play-Doh skin?
There's nothing like that in the movie itself, just the teaser. Of course, the fact that these regenerated Terminator figures are clearly buck naked is somehow never addressed in the commercial.
Top Image: Tri-Star Pictures