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February 11, 2009

The Terminator goes to church

There's apparently more going on here than just being slain in the Spirit


Radar Online recently posted some photos from the set of Terminator: Salvation -- including this one, of a nuked-out church.

I can't recall: have we ever seen a church or any other explicitly religious prop or set in the Terminator movies? (The faith elements have been rather pronounced in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, of course. But that's a TV show.)

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Not quite the dry bones of Ezekiel's vision, I guess.

Well, there haven't been so much religious *props* a la Hellboy's Samaritan revolver and holy water bullets in the "Terminator" films, but there's the whole fact that the saviour of all mankind's initials are JC, that his father is someone from, essentially, another world, and that in "T3" he is killed - we see his funeral service being carried out - and then comes back to life. Short on visual imagery and props of a religious nature? Sure. Not short on imagery of the other sort. :)

Elly, I heartily agree -- in a review I wrote six years ago, I said of the first film: "The Terminator is a sort of R-rated version of the Nativity story. 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, and just as the birth of Christ was marked by the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem, so too the conception of John Connor is soaked in the blood of the battles he is destined to fight."

The sequels have obviously messed with that somewhat -- it seems the "final outcome" of that war really is in doubt now -- but if you treat the first film as a standalone, then the narrative parallels are quite striking.

I don't know how much I would read into John Connor's initials, though. Those happen to be James Cameron's initials, too! So the director could be referring to himself there, just as George Lucas seemed to be referring to himself when he named the hero of his sci-fi epic Luke Skywalker (i.e. "Luke S.", or "Lucas").

Do you know, it's really interesting for me to read peoples thoughts here on this, as I recently wrote about the original Terminator movie and its apocalyptic themes. I touched on a medieval Christian interpretation of the Black Death being a sort of punishment from God, and that you could read the nuclear war in Terminator in a similar way, but I hadn't really considered contemporary Christian perspectives.
If anyone is interested in reading the peice I wrote, you can see it on my blog at


All the best,