Unsuprisingly, given our comments in the dating of this movie, we hated this when it was first released. We did not then, and do not now, particularly like the portrayal of young John. A much more interesting portrayal of a young John Connor can be found in The Chronicles.
We thought that Sarah's character was very different from Sarah at the end of Terminator. This Sarah seems almost bipolar. Either she is catatonically depressed or she is making idiotic decisions. Her character is neither in keeping with the Sarah that grew in Terminator nor is it consistent. An example is her telling Silbermann that she has behaved over the past six months and therefore deserves to see her son while knowing that she recently stabbed him in the knee with a pen. What?
The theme of Sarah being haunted by visions and dreams was interesting and well portrayed, but could have been explored better. Having these cause her to lose John, to get locked up - where she maniacally rants about Judgment Day - just don't sit well with us. It is obvious to us that she has been weakened as a character in order to make John the "hero", but it just does not work for us. This is the "great Sarah Connor"? Having to be guided by her 13-year-old (10-year-old?) son? Again, a more interesting portrayal of this theme was in The Chronicles.
Unlike Terminator in which special effects are sparse and therefore more powerful, much of the movie seemed to be only about special effects and as we were much more interested in characters, and John and Sarah did not grab us, we thought the movie failed. Miles Dyson, although ably played, was also a fairly shallow character.
The new T-1000 was a marvel of special effects but we never felt the creeping horror that the first T-800 gave us. Okay, melting through the bars was a great scene and very creepy, but not to the level we felt when the first T-800 rose out of the flames. Most of the effects added nothing to the story, nor helped develop the characters. They were just explosions and flames.
We must admit, though, that the entire sequence of Sarah's escape starting from the moment the police show her pictures of the T-800 at the mall, is excellent. While not showing any reaction to the police, we can see the change in her. She steals the paper-clip, later using it to release her bonds and pick the lock. Wending her way through security using Silbermann and finally getting close to escape only to have the T-800 show up, this was wonderfully done. Her confusion as the terminator echos Kyle's words "Come with me if you want to live" and culminating in the T-1000 flowing through the bars. This sequence was marvelous and is the Sarah we wished to see. Unfortunatly, this version of Sarah only appears occassionally and inconsistently.
Young John's attempt to "humanize" the T-800 just annoyed us. "Hasta la vista" ? We did not believe the idea that John was bonding with the substitue-Dad of the T-800 at all, nor did we believe the T-800 telling us he now knows "why we cry".
Another aspect of this movie was that it completely messed up the timeline. John, as we knew, was born in early 1985. Here we have a movie, allegedly taking place in 1995 - and, of course, we believe it actually took place in 1994 - yet John is not 10 years old, he is 13.
Now, as we have watched the movie more and more, our disappointment and anger have subsided, but we still feel it is an inferior movie, certainly one of the worst of the lot. We can appreciate some of the imagery created but for the most part, we do not re-watch this as often as the other two.