Terminator 2: Judgment Day was my very first R-rated film. I remember, as a 10-year-old, watching it at a friend’s house. My Mom was none too pleased to find out I had seen such a violent film. For me, it was like Christmas. Even without fully understanding the finer details of the plot at that age, I knew I had seen something groundbreaking and special. We ended up watching the film twice and the opening credits even more than that. We all loved the “duh-duh-duh-duh-dum” Terminator theme. To this day it remains one of my favorite opening credits sequences.
But picking the instantly-recognizable main theme is too easy. Brad Fiedel’s Terminator 2 score has twenty tracks of varying intensity. Throughout he perfectly captures the film’s solemn thematic undertones, mind-blowing action sequences (still), and drives home just how much is on the line. When that is humanity, you kind of need that. Go all the way to track twenty, “It’s Over (‘Goodbye’)” and you have a truly touching piece of music. It admittedly gets off to a slow start, but throughout you can picture in your mind the scene in which the Terminator must say goodbye after his job is done. As a kid seeing this, it was devastating. It didn’t make sense to me that he had to go. Once the section beginning at 2:47 kicks in, it’s water works time. This track captures triumph, sadness, and inevitability unlike any other.