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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Rarely has a film so frightened an audience as "The Terminator." After
its release in 1984, the extremely low-budget sci-fi actioner broke box
office records, and gave audiences something more to fear. Through the
years, there have been stories of nature's beasts, of creatures from
another world, and so on and so forth. "Jaws" was terrifying because it
seemed so possible. And if "Jaws" is terrifying, "The Terminator" is
horrific. The realization of this hit-man machine dawned on everyone
watching the film. In a time of exceeding technology, how long will it
be before man is overtaken by the very things he created? And that is
what is particularly scary about a film like "The Terminator."
In "The Terminator," Arnold plays a cyborg, Cyberdyne system model 101, a T800, whatever that means. He has been sent back in time to assassinate the soon-to-be-mother of the future world leader, John Connor (who battles the machines in the future and leads an uprising). If Connor is killed, then there will be no one to oppose the machines of the future, and they will triumph. This would be pretty bad. So the future John Connor has sent a protector back in time, to help save his mother. Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) tells Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) about the machine that is trying to kill her. "It can't be bargained with, it can't feel pain or mercy, and it will stop at absolutely nothing until you are dead!" Talk about a bad day.
The Terminator hunts them down time after time, including the famous police station scene, where Arnie says, "I'll be back," and returns moments later, crashing through the wall in a car. He then takes on a whole squad of cops, but don't worry, Sarah and Reese escape slightly unscathed.
There are countless classic scenes in "The Terminator." You will see them spoofed your entire life. From the image of the Terminator, to the lines they speak, to the scenes they act out. Everything is spoofed. And the film is worthy of its fame.
On the special edition "T2" DVD (the second one), there is an on-set documentary for the making of the "Terminator 2" 3-D ride at Universal Studios. As the camera moves around, it shows Cameron detailing what he wants in this scene. Some guy suggests something else, and Cameron gets a tone. "No, no, that won't work. You do it like this - we come off here, he walks around..." etc. The point is, he's a perfectionist, and a demanding director. Some directors are a bit too easy, and don't really care where their films are going. But James Cameron seems to have a clear vision of what he wants, and he goes around making sure it gets done exactly the way he wants it to be done. And it shows in his work. It's hard to find any mistakes in a James Cameron film. And it's even harder to find plot holes.
Some people say "Terminator 2 - Judgment Day" is better than the original. It's hard to choose, because the two films are very different. I view "The Terminator" as more of a deep, intellectually-consuming, dark thriller. I view "Judgment Day" as an action film, with a more or less recycled plot. (The plot is still good, but it's still the same, too.) It's hard to choose a favorite because they are so different. On "T2" the budget is ten times larger, probably even more than that. But if you want a horror/thriller, "The Terminator" is better for you. If you want special-effects and a really fun time, see "T2." They're both excellent films.
"The Terminator" is a great movie. It is one of my favorites; it is terrifying, horrifying, and 100 % entertaining. And unlike a lot of other cheap actioners out there, "The Terminator" has some thought put into its plot, and that is what separates it from the rest of its kind.
Is there a better person to play a cyborg than Arnold? For this movie he
was a massively built oak tree of a man. His strange accent makes for a
perfect callous robotic sounding killing machine. It's almost like his
voice is a computer read out ( which I guess it is in one sense ).
Terminator is one of those films that started something huge. People
realize it at the time, but the careers of Arnold, Cameron and perhaps
guys like Micahel Biehn, Lance Henriksen and even Bill Paxton were
substantially started because of this film. And Cameron must have liked
working with them so much that he gave all of them substantial roles in
next film ( Aliens ).
As we all know what the story is, I'll just tell you a bit about what is so fascinating about it. First I have to mention Michael Biehn. He has the real starring role. He is the character that has to explain everything to the audience. He has to explain this complicated story so that we know what is happening and why. It is not an easy job to do something like that and still come off looking all right. But Biehn is simply awesome in this film. A microcosm of his performance can be seen when Sara bites him. Biehn ( Kyle Reese ) replies " Terminator's don't feel pain. I do. Don't do that again. " That is such a great line delivered with the perfect expression, the perfect tone and the perfect timing. Biehn is perfect for the role.
This is also the first film that I saw as a youngster that ever warned me of the dangers of nuclear war and of the rapid advancements of machinery. Perhaps I was too young and naive to fully understand all that James Cameron was trying to say, but now that I am older, I can honestly say that the two Terminators are perfect anti nuke films. And they are so passionate with what they have to say. I like it when a film has something to say. I enjoy being entertained in the process but if you can manage both then you have a masterpiece. This is a masterpiece.
Finally. there are two other reasons to enjoy this film. One, this is the first film where "I'll be back" was spoken. Now it is part of Arnolds vernacular. Secondly, Bill Paxton is in it. And he adds spark to any film that he's in. Especially here, as the idiot punk leader that really gets the hell beat out of him, he has some great lines.
A great film.
The Terminator is one of those films that no matter if you've seen it
or not, you've heard of it, heck you know at least one or two lines
without seeing it! This is the movie that blasted then new comer's
Arnold Schwartzeneggerr's career, made James Cameron a name in
Hollywood, and gave new meaning to a possible dark future that gave us
nightmares. I remember the first time I saw this movie, I was just 8
years old and my dad of course walks in saying to cover my eyes at
every "bad" scene with violence or nudity, needless to say about 70% of
the movie he covered my eyes. Finally I got to see it with my mom and I
was in love, this wasn't just an action movie, though it is one of the
best, it had a story. To think this was all based upon just a quick
nightmare that James Cameron had, he didn't have much money, but he had
a good script, a great crew on his side to make one of cinema's
greatest movies of all time.
Two men appear in Los Angeles in separate locations, manifesting in sudden, blinding flash-storms of electricity. One is heavily muscular; the other man, slim and wiry. The mysterious muscular man obtains weapons and begins hunting down all women named "Sarah Connor", using a phone book to track his targets. He successfully kills the first two of the three listed women. When he attempts to kill the last Sarah Connor, he is stopped by the other man, Kyle Reese who has been sent back in time to protect her. While hiding in a parking garage, Reese explains that the man hunting Sarah is actually a cyborg assassin called a "Terminator", built by Skynet, an artificial intelligence network created by Cyberdyne Systems. In the near future, Reese explains, Skynet gained self-awareness, initiated a global takeover of military hardware, and launched a nuclear war against humanity. Skynet ordered that a scant number of humans were to be kept alive in order to be used as slave labor. John Connor, Sarah's son, rallied the few remaining humans and led a resistance movement against the machines. After a grinding campaign, the human resistance was on the verge of victory; in a last-ditch effort, Skynet sent the Terminator back in time to kill Sarah before John was born, preventing the resistance from ever being founded and allowing the machines to win by default. Reese volunteered to follow the Terminator back in time to protect Sarah; after his use of the time transportation equipment, it was to be destroyed by the resistance in order to prevent further Terminators from going back in time. The Terminator feels no pain, has no emotions, and will stop at nothing to accomplish its mission.
The Terminator is personally one of my favorite movies of all time, I think because this movie really is something special. Yeah, the effects are very 80's, but for the time and even to this day, I think the special effects are much better than the CGI crud we get in today's cinema. This has everything: action, romance, horror, sci-fi, and even some dark humor. The reason why Arnold's "I'll be back" is so famous is not just because of his accent, but because you knew that something bad was coming. Kyle Reese's "Come with me if you want to live" is classic as well. If you haven't seen The Terminator, I highly recommend this movie, it's an incredible one that is sure to deliver entertainment to the fullest. This is one of the greatest movies of all time and I'm sure that you will not be disappointed, if you are, get a CAT scan.
I just saw a horrifying, touching, very good movie again; it's The
Terminator. Now to talk of it as great film, to compare it with American
Beauty might seem idiotic--it's an almost unrelentingly dark, violent,
frightening action movie, after all--but strip away the relentless action,
strip away the technophobia, strip away the blatant dislike of cops and
modern youth, strip away the poignant love story and, at its core, it's
about an immature, essentially mindless girl becoming a strong, determined
woman. That's a theme more movies should have if we want girls to have
strong role models.
In the course of a few hours during which Sarah Connor realises that she is running for her life from a soul-less machine in human flesh that is implacably and violently determined to kill her, she transforms from a girl who can't balance her cheque book to a woman who can order a wounded, beaten man to "get on your feet, soldier." She is clear-headed, not panicky, focused in crisis and incredibly courageous. And it's not that she has lost her essential femaleness but that she's grown up.
It's relentless, heartless violence appals and fascinates me. It's gritty depiction of our society as a prelude to an even more horrific one in 2023 darkens my heart. It's quickly developing love story touches me. Its humor makes the dark places in me smile. But most of all I am touched and fascinated by Sarah's precipitous transformation. As a good life exercise, ask yourself this: Would you have the courage to do what she does?
9.5 out of 10.
For the gift of `Aliens' and `The Terminator' I am willing to forgive
Cameron's `Titanic'. The key plot concept is beautifully simple - machines
take over the earth in the future. Machines are eventually over thrown by
one man. Machines travel back in time to kill man's mother, thus
him being born and stopping their own defeat. One human also travels back
to stop the machines from killing his leader's mother.
`The Terminator' is a classic good versus evil struggle, with little in the way of greys clouding the issue. The terminator is an unstoppable brutal remorseless killer, and it perfectly suits Arnold Schwarzenegger's limited acting abilities. His few lines, including the infamous `I'll be back' are all well judged and timed, and give a great feeling of precision and inhumanity to his character. Coupled with his chiselled features, he's the best choice for the role. Michael Biehn is playing a character type that he'd reprise two years later in Cameron's `Aliens' - the human tough guy: he's got the fight, but still the ability to love and care for people. His features are well chosen for this and although his delivery of lines is hardly exceptional - they tend to come out in the same tone of voice - he's able to carry his part. Linda Hamilton is the woman-thrown-into-chaos, somewhat reminiscent of Sigourney Weaver's Ripley character in `Alien', although Hamilton doesn't have Weaver's strength of presence. All the actors are, for an action science fiction, above average and so never distract.
It's the script, with Cameron's force behind it that lifts the movie from mediocrity. Yes, there's a certain amount of corniness - the `we loved a life time' element for example - but the movie has a real sense of conviction present. The movie believes in itself and, through its passion, will make you believe too. There's a general sense of darkness in the movie - rarely do we see daylight, and, when we do, it's often the soft light of dawn. There's a nice sense of tension in the action scenes, helped not only by Cameron's camera work but also by an excellent electronic score (including a fantastic brooding credit sequence). Sure some of the SFX look clunky in these days of `Attack of the Clones' and `The Fellowship of the Ring', but they still work. There's a certain sense of inevitability, intertwined with hope, permeating the picture that creates a mood I particularly enjoyed and that's harder to find in the current crop of science fiction movies.
`The Terminator' is not a perfect picture. The movie lags in some parts, and the romance element is fairly contrived. Despite all that the movie brims with energy and promise, a script that mostly delivers, characters you can enjoy, and the ultimate Arnie role. Well worth catching. 8/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In one of the most intelligent and unhesitating science fiction films
of the 1950s, Robert Wise equipped "The Day the Earth Stood Still" with
technical marvels, chief among them the huge robot Gortthe prototype,
Michael Rennie suggests, for a global police force... Similar
mechanical giants have been lumbering out of space-ships ever since...
In "Devil Girl from Mars," the giant refrigerator robot Chai hunts for virile Scotsmen and find John Laurie, while in 'Target Earth,' the Venusian robots imitate Gort in projecting rays from their heads but take the idea a step further and make the rays lethal...
In Stanley Kubrick's 'mythological documentary,' HAL 9000 computer is the most human character in the movie... But in James Cameron's breakthrough feature, there is, indeed, 'a storm coming in.' His 'Terminator' is a systematic metal, 'surrounded by living tissue,' an invulnerable cyborg, part man, part machine, with whom 'it can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with.'
The film opens with two naked men appearing in two different parts of Los Angeles' darkened streets... One is tall and powerfully built, the other is compact and muscular... Both men seek the same person, a small and delicate blond woman by the name of Sarah Connor...
Arnold Schwarzenegger is terrifying as the 'killer cyborg' who 'looks like Death rendered in steel.' He has searched the phone book and brutally shot to death other unfortunate women who bear the same name... He is sent back from the future to present-day (1984) to kill the mother of an unborn enemy...
Schwarzenegger moves with inhuman speed bounding like a panther, scanning methodically with dominated blue eyes his surroundings, and in a perfect simulation of voice, he is on the track of his victim... He examines his weapons with precise movements, drives expressionlessly, and kills without pity, or remorse, or fear... It is a role that suits his talent perfectly...
Michael Biehn seems scared by traumas of others wars... His face outlines a long burn scar... He tries to stop Schwarzenegger's attempts to be carried out... He is sinister in his long coat... His whole life has been combat... He identifies himself as Reese, a soldier from the future, assigned to protect Sarah at all costs... For him it is an honor, a chance to meet the legend... We feel his pain and anguish when he said: 'That terminator is out there. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead!'
Linda Hamilton is quiet convincing as the strong innocent prey, targeted for termination, momentarily disoriented, vaguely disturbed... She feels a blind panic boiling up within her, a lightning blot of terror greater than she could ever imagine... She is in a daze, paralyzed, shivering silently, uncontrollably... Her fragile personality disguises a hidden force she did't know she had...
Cameron makes a successful move behind the lens in one of the most breathtaking modern action science fiction films...
The Terminator is one of the best action movies of all time in my
opinion. It doesn't set a single foot wrong and it also kicked off a
wonderful saga. Without this, there would be no Terminator 2. Think
about that. As such, this movie is fondly remembered by many people and
it has been the subject of many quotes and spoofs over the years. Why
doesn't it set a foot wrong? It is thrilling, almost always
entertaining and filled with insane explosions, which more or less
makes a good action movie. But 'The Terminator' stands head and
shoulders above the rest of it's genre, because of it's well
thought-out plot, splendid acting and an eerily memorable music score
which gives you a reason to watch the credits at the end.
Now to analysing why the plot is so well-thought out. Well, for one thing, the concept of preventing or setting in stone the future by going back in time was one which wasn't really explored in those days. By exploring it, the Terminator was offering something different, something which has inspired films such as Back to the Future (read the plot synopsis for that film, there are a few similarities). The notion of the final battle of a future war being fought in 'our present', not in the future, between one member of opposing sides, in this case a man and a machine, is also an intriguing one and sets the stage for an exciting battle royale.
I'll run down the plot while I'm here. Sarah Connor, a young woman in her 20's, is the protagonist of the film and our two from the future, Kyle Reese and the Terminator, revolve around her. Reese, who is a battle-hardened soldier who has led a hard life in the wasteland which is the future, must protect Sarah, while the Terminator, an unstoppable cyborg, must kill her, in order to kill her unborn son, the leader of the future resistance.
All of this leads to some thrilling action scenes and insane explosions, topped off by music scores which add to the tension and excitement. The movie purrs into action quickly, but really kicks off at a disco, where Reese and the Terminator have a shootout, resulting in a city-wide drive-by chase involving the police which doesn't really let up until Reese and Sarah are arrested. During the lull in the chase scene, Reese tells Sarah about himself, the Terminator and their general predicament, which is fairly realistic.
The next action scene is the infamous police station massacre which everyone seems to talk about whenever they discuss this movie. I can understand why, too. The Terminator pretty much kills every cop in his path with the greatest of ease, either with the AK-47, his shotgun, or both. He also ends up cutting the power and setting the station on fire, again adding to the tension and excitement.
The last action scene which, like the one in T2, is a chase which leads to a final showdown in a building. It is a slight letdown, but it is still an intense scene. I will refrain from spoiling the ending, as this is too good a movie to be spoiled.
All of the acting fits the bill perfectly. As in T2, there is not a single bad performance to be found. Michael Biehn delivers a remarkably intense performance as Kyle Reese, acting like a typical human would in his situation. He displays his range of emotions at the right times, from passionate to worried to unyielding. It is a wonder that his only other major movie is 'Aliens' and that he is starring in stuff like 'Clockstoppers' these days. Linda Hamilton again does well as Sarah Connor, displaying an innocent woman who shows over the course of the film why she is John Connor's mother, displaying previously unheralded steel at the crunch. The support cast isn't too bad either (Dr. Silberman makes his first appearance). But again, the best performance in the film belongs to the bad guy, in this case, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He acts like a killing machine should; incredibly cold, sterile, soulless and unyielding. His facial expression never changes throughout the film and his physical appearance makes him slightly more imposing and intimidating than the Liquid Terminator. He also commences his famous one-liners which have been the subject of many a spoof, including (no, especially) "I'll be back." This is undoubtedly his best performance, even though it is not his only good one.
I will compliment all involved on making a movie which still manages to look good despite having a low budget. I've seen pretty bad-looking movies with fairly high budgets (read: Scooby-Doo), but never good-looking movies with low budgets.
In the end, The Terminator is a masterful action movie which laid the groundwork for the equally brilliant Terminator 2. If you asked me whether I preferred The Terminator or T2, I would say T2 because I am more familiar with it, otherwise, these two would be on a level footing. If you haven't seen this movie and are an action movie fan, then see it immediately. You won't be disappointed. Trust me.
It was funny to read that this film nearly avoided coming to our
screens. With many number of studios rejecting the script and story,
Terminator was nearly terminated before getting of the ground. However,
one company, ORION pictures, the last resort for this movie, loved the
premise of a robot running around as a man, trying to kill the mother
of the savior of planet earth. Thank goodness they saw that it was a
good script, because it become one of the great films of the 1980's.
In 2029, giant super computers dominate the planet, hell bent on exterminating the human race! And to destroy man's future by changing the past they send an indestructible cyborg a terminator back in time to kill Sarah Connor, the woman who's unborn son will become mankind's only hope. Can Sarah protect herself from this unstoppable menace to save the life of her unborn child? Or will the human race be extinguished by one mean hunk of mutant metal?
Well this film is a real blast. The cast is extraordinary. This is probably Arnold Schwarzenegger's most popular role. I cannot see why it isn't. He was great as the Cyborg that was walking around, as a killing machine. His facial expressions are sketched in my memory for life. I love the scene where see a close of his face in the police car, it was brilliant. Schwarzenegger, originally a body builder, he has had a wonderful career in the movie industry. His other great films include Predator, End Of Days, Total Recall, Eraser and was impressive in his role as Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin. His career was on hold for sometime a while back, due to injury, but he is back and I hope we get to see more of his acting talents.
Then you have the others in the cast. The other stand out in this film for me is Linda Hamilton. She was suited perfectly to the role of the feeble Sarah Connor, who is going to be the mother of the child who is going to save the world. Hamilton has had a mixed career, with her filmography including the enjoyable Dante's Peak. The good guy in Terminator was Michael Biehn, who played out the role of Sarah Connor's protector, Reese Kyle. He was very good in his role. His other movies include Aliens, The Rock, Crash and an uncredited role in the great musical, Grease.
The director of Terminator, namely James Cameron, did a great job with this film. Considering he thought up the idea from a sick bed, had it rejected that many times, it is a great credit to him. Most directors would have given up on it, but he stuck with it till he got to our screens. Thank goodness he did. The story of the Terminator is an interesting one. It has a very biblical feel to it. One man sent to help save the world, with the initials J.C., fascinated me immensely. Cameron and Co writer Gale Anne Hurd did a fantastic script for this film.
There are some unbelievable scenes in this movie. None more so then the vision we see of the metal Cyborg walking from the truck fire. The vision we see from this scene is one of the main reasons why we have the Terminator. James Cameron explained that he wanted a scene in a movie that has a machine walking from a fire in menacing fashion. He got this spot on, if you ask me. Then there are some other great scenes such as the tense stand offs that the evil cyborg has with all the humans he comes into contact with, including the first confrontation with Sarah, in addition to the meeting he has with Reese. I also enjoyed the scene where he goes through the police station. Of course this scene has one of Hollywood's most famous lines in it, that of Arnie's 'I'll be back', a classic. The final confrontation between Sarah and the Cyborg is another tension filled scene of this great movie.
So, what more can I say about this movie? It is simply brilliant. I have asked many people their opinion on this film. One such response about it was, that is too 'eightish', and that comment is fair enough. If you have the chance, grab a copy of Terminator on DVD, as it is a great 2 disc set. I must admit the first time I saw it, I did not appreciate Terminator like I do now. Perhaps I found it a tad violent, but that is to be expected of a film that is called Terminator. This movie was a great success and deserved to be with all the great work that was put into it. However more was to come, a film that was to become one of the greatest sequels in movie history. Arnie was to deliver on his promise of 'I'll be back'!
Rating: 4.5 stars or 9/10
Terminator is an extremely low budget movie. In fact, just about
everything used in it didn't cost much at all, but it is a very
effective movie. Back in the '70's and 80's, movies could be very low
budget, but still be great(think of John Carpenter's Halloween).
The Terminator is a story about how nuclear war causes the end to mankind and the end result could be the start of an even greater tragedy than the war its self. The entire message of The Terminator is an anti nuclear war message.
Many people think that a few parts in the beginning of the movie are just some random things thrown in. I can understand why, but these seemingly random scenes actually do have a lot to do with the story.
Arnold does a great job as the cyborg who is programmed to kill without mercy or remorse. For those who don't know, this is the movie where the line "I'll be back" was spoken. The other actors do a good job in this. Linda Hamilton made a great choice doing this movie and she really improved her career through it(the movie she made before this was the horrible Children Of The Corn).
This is better than Terminator 2(which is still great by the way), because this movie has more of a story and is more involved. I would recommend watching this movie at any time, it is very well paced and never gets boring, and if you have the time, watch T2 right after this.
There are actors,and there are movie stars.Arnold Schwarzenegger is without question a movie star,because every time he is on screen, he is,well,Arnold.There is a different Arnold in this film,and this is what I like about it.He,for once,is playing the villain,and to perfection,I might add.He makes for one of the best screen villains ever in cinema history.It's a pity that his "good guy" image won't allow him to play the bad seed more often,but that's Hollywood, I guess.Aside from the thrilling sequel,this is perhaps Arnold's best work.
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