Wouldn’t it be funny if a Terminator tried to mimic humans by smiling but got it all wrong and looked positively demented?
That joke clearly tickled Terminator: Genisys writers Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry) as well as director Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World). The lumbering T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) which has raised Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) since she was 9-year-sold in Genisys‘ positively jumbled rejiggering of Terminator continuity has been embedded among humanity longer than any other Terminator in history. When we first meet him in the movie he’s been raising Sarah for at least 11 years, teaching her how to be a soldier while she, in return, taught him how to be more human. However, he never quite gets the smiling thing down, the movie repeatedly making jokes about his unnatural smile.
Arnold had plenty of time to perfect such an imperfect smile, though. He was first asked to attempt such a thing by James Cameron back in 1991 for T2: Judgement Day. It happens in the section of the movie where the Edward Furlong John Connor is teaching the Terminator to say things like “No problemo” and “Hasta la vista, baby.” Cameron ultimately cut the scene from the movie, but it’s been available as a deleted scene for decades, re-inserted back into the movie for some home video releases like T2: The Ultimate Edition. If you’ve never seen it before, here it is, at the tail end of a scene which did make it into the theatrical release:
But what wasn’t good enough for James Cameron was clearly good enough for a recurring joke in Terminator: Genisys. I actually think it’s a funny moment in T2, and while it doesn’t work every time they use it Genisys it did get me to laugh one time.