In 2014, Mitchell Hammond created a Batman vs Terminator short with scenes from Future War that put the setting of Terminator Salvation to shame.
Scenes from the war of the future in Terminator Hi were beaten by an independently produced short called Batman vs. the Terminator. It is no secret that the Terminator sequelae that followed in the footsteps of the 1991 inauguration Terminator 2: Judgment Day are not as popular as the first two entrees. 2009 Terminator Hi, the fourth film in the ongoing franchise, took a leap forward in the timeline to describe the early years of the legendary War on the Machines. However, the film’s washed out and brightly lit desert setting disappointed many viewers who expected locations more in keeping with the Future War footage seen in the first three. Terminator movie theater. However, Batman vs. the Terminator delivers the promise of this framework in a pretty amazing way.
Directed by Mitchell Hammond and based on an original concept by Tony Guerrero, Batman vs. the Terminator released on YouTube back in February 2014. The 5 minute short film is fully animated and features a “what if?” scenario involving Batman surviving Judgment Day 1997 by hiding in the Batcave. When he learns that a human resistance is forming to fight the machines, Bruce Wayne dons a futuristic version of his suit and heads to the rubble-filled remains of the United States to pit his wits and technology against Skynet.
While the animation of the short is straightforward, the level of detail and hard work put into the environment is highly commendable. The short film feels at home in the world of Terminator franchise, and its portrayal of the war of the future is directly inspired by how the war scenes were shown in the 1984’s The Terminator and the opening of Terminator 2. This level of authenticity places the short film in the unique position of having been more true to the spirit and tone of the original Future War than Terminator Hi was.
The greatest feature of the classic Terminator Scenes from the future war are the tone they use. The battle against the machines is depicted with dark colors and a feeling of almost black tension. The scenes take place at night, with only a few light sources casting irregular shadows on the rubble of the crumbling buildings. Most of the light comes from distant fires, and the rest comes from the occasional laser explosion of a machine when it shoots a resistance soldier. The scenes were dark, rocky and almost desperate. However, in Terminator Hi, the decision was made to shoot the film in 2018, and not in 2029 as it had been with the original scenes of Future War. This earlier setting – which would have moved further into the future in the defeated Terminator Hi 2 – allowed filmmakers to experiment with brighter sets and more open spaces, effectively abandoning the dark, claustrophobic and joyless aesthetic of war.
The Batman vs. the Terminator runs, however, embraces the darkness and dreads that Hello avoided using. Despite its short runtime and simplistic animation style, this indie short manages to capture the same tone as the original films. As Batman races through a rubble-strewn battlefield, he encounters everything from classic T-800s and massive tanks to flying Hunter Killers and Resistance Soldiers in his quest to reach Skynet’s mainframe. The short ends on a cliffhanger, but the overall impression it leaves is that its creators understand the world of The Terminator much better than some of the real movies.
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