Whenever James Cameron released Terminator 2: Judgment Day back in 1991, it completely changed the landscape of action/adventures, creating nearly insurmountable stakes that challenged viewers. This film, more so than WWII, instilled in me a fear of nuclear weapons, and made most other action franchises look like fluff pieces in comparison. (You are definitely way too old for this shit, Murtaugh.) Twenty-two years later, the movie still sits on its own pedestal, both in terms of Cameron films and in the Terminator franchise, and revisiting it is still a rewarding journey. But traveling back to the locations used in the film is not nearly as rewarding, as almost all of them have been either built over or removed altogether.
The fan site James Cameron Online visited many of the key locations in the film, plus plenty of others, and presented fans with a side-by-side comparison of how things have changed in the years since Cameron filmed there. I guess we can blame all these changes on urban sprawl or whatever, but I’d prefer to believe that bastard T-1000 was in on it.
We’ll be taking this short tour in order of the film’s events, so first up we have the big truck parking lot where Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hero first appeared in the buff, which has apparently turned into grass and houses. That’s followed by the biker bar where T-800 got a lot of people staring at his dong before he threw a guy on top of a cook’s hot grill.
And now we’ve got John Connor’s foster parents’ house, where T-1000 memorably put a blade through the back of that asshole dad’s throat and milk carton. Not a lot of different going on here, minus a bit of renovating. Then we have the Pescadero building where Sarah Connor was being imprisoned. This place has seen quite a bit of an adjustment, and is one of probably only a few places on Earth where a parking lot was removed in order to plant trees and grass. Well done.
Here are a few random shots. The first is of the drainage canal where the first huge chase scene takes place, and boy, those don’t change much. Then we have old Cactus Jack’s, which has seen better days. And finally, there’s Sarah’s nuclear nightmare, which takes place just beyond a playground with the skyline in the background. At least the skyline is still there.
Sure, there are a lot more locations in the film that are shown on the site, but many of them are of roads and parking garages and the like. Where will the fifth Terminator film take place? Here’s a little thinking music for you.