Cyberdyne Systems today is merely a burgeoning, "harmless" technology developer and government contractor, invites guests into its headquarters for a bit of public relations goodwill and a behind-the-scenes tour of its testing facility.
Guests are invited to don "safety goggles" as they witness a live demonstration of their newest hardware product, the Cyberdyne Series 70 Automated Fighting Infantry unit -- affectionately known at Cyberdyne as . . . the Terminators!
Imposing as they are, the T-70s are only the first wave in Cyberdyne's bid to dominate America's military defense industry, with plans already on the boards for more advanced Terminators, and the high-tech coup de grace of defense applications, Skynet. The Skynet global defense system of fully automated tactical satellites would completely remove the human element from combat, managing and deploying the Nation's defensive and offensive weapons at its automated discretion.
In short, the apocalyptic battle between man and machine that Sarah and John Connor fought to prevent (in the first two movies) is starting all over again NOW!
This attraction boasts the most thorough use of pre-show theming in the Studios -- perhaps only matched by Spiderman at IOA. Amid the queue line, authoritative Cyberdyne sales videos try to affect a friendly 'better living through technology' response in the audience, but the unmistakable cold tone of inhumanity lurks behind every frame. An unmanned kiosk contains the 3D 'safety glasses' required for the demonstration in store.
Guests next enter the Cyberdyne lobby of the Miles Bennet Dyson Memorial Auditorium -- a subtle, creepy touch indicative of the detail depth invested in this attraction, and its deliberate inclusion in the Terminator saga. The design and spartan decor of this lobby elicit a greater feeling of harsh, comfortless devotion to technology, and aside from the visitors, the only signs of "life" found are the giant video grids at one end, on which the Cyberdyne logo spins relentlessly.
Into this void steps Kimberley Duncan, Cyberdyne's Director of Community Relations and Media Control -- and if you've seen her at work, you already know that she's just "Superrrrr!" This pandering, saccharine-sweet promoter welcomes guests to Cyberdyne and invites them to view the company's latest PR propaganda video, which constantly hammers home the concept that Cyberdyne is creating the Future today.
Yet these warm, fuzzy scenes of social service and technological wonders are interwoven with ominous pieces of Sarah Connor's apocalyptic nightmare. A child is tucked in my chrome, endoskeleton arms as instructed by her mother away on business. In a humorous touch, Laker basketball star Shaquille O'Neal dons a high-tech contact lens (with Terminator red glow) to make a perfect free throw targeted directly into the basket [if only he'd kept it after the film shoot!]
And finally, a demonstration of how Cyberdyne's automated Skynet defense system will soon take total control of our country's entire military forces, able to respond to any threat with instant and total force. These images give the term "smart bomb" a chilling new meaning in light of the Terminator film saga.
As the militaristic tempo increases, the video suddenly disappears in static. Sarah Connor and her son, John, have broken into Cyberdyne's control center! They warn guests that they're taking over Cyberdyne to prevent the nuclear nightmare to be unleashed by the company in the future, and all visitors must leave to safety immediately. John Connor, postwar humanity's resistance leader who fights off the Terminator armies, runs video of the future man vs. machine holocaust that awaits if he and Sarah aren't successful in destroying Cyberdyne today.
Naturally, Cyberdyne mouthpiece Kimberley goes ballistic at this unwanted, embarrassing intrusion and quickly cuts the Connor's pirate video feed, resuming the PR video to its conclusion of a robotic Cyberdyne butterfly landing on a flower, the glowing red dot pattern in its synthetic wings resembling the harsh glare of a Terminator soldier. In a move of slick damage control, Kimberley assures guests that these criminals will be neutralized and no danger exists as she urges visitors to enter the auditorium for the product demo.
© 2001-2002 scott weitz