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This is a featurette found on the 2-Disc Special Edition DVD of The Terminator. It's also one of the best and most memorable that I've ever seen(I freely admit that part of that may be due to me very much liking and enjoying the film itself). Technically speaking, it's well-done. It consists of clips from the movie, interviews(at times these seem odd, since some of the people had multiple interviews from different times) and footage from the making of it, as well as storyboards and conceptual art. Members of every aspect of putting it together get to speak, and you see all three stages of production(pre, during and post, for the uninitiated). I wouldn't complain if Biehn had gotten to talk more, but I simply find him so cool, I'm not sure there is an upper limit to that. Many of the crew and actors have interesting and good things to say, and the anecdotes are just great. They are a big reason for this being such a marvelous documentary. Several of them are rather funny, and among those told are genuinely inspiring ones. There is a bit of the usual love-fest, but it isn't too bad, nor is there a terrible lot of it. There are some disturbing images in this, mainly from the title, or in the concepts for it. I recommend this to fans of Jim, Michael, "and the rest", not to mention anyone wanting to know about the creating of the piece. 7/10
I get the feeling that this retrospective documentary was made as a TV
spot in response to the tremendous success of Terminator 2, which was
released the year before this documentary was made. As is almost always
the case with these making-of or retrospective documentaries that often
accompany movies on DVD, this one has garnered a ridiculously and
inexplicably low user rating on the IMDb. Once again, here is a
documentary that is vastly superior to the rating that people have
given it on this site.
Whenever I rate one of these documentaries, because they vary so much in their subject matter, I always try to concentrate mostly on whether or not it succeeds in delivering what it sets out to deliver, especially according to the title. What I can't stand is when someone makes a documentary and then gives it a clever sounding title that ends up having almost nothing to do with what is actually in it (see "Making the Earth Stand Still").
This one is exactly what it claims to be, a documentary about the creation of the Terminator, the distinction from "making" the Terminator being that this is not about the making of the movie as much as it is about the conceptualization of the character and some of the things that Arnold and James Cameron discussed during production as far as who the Terminator should be and how he should act.
James Cameron came up with the idea of the Terminator while he was down with the sickness in a Rome hotel room, so he was able to relate to Reese and the Terminator being in a foreign environment since they were from the future. They both tell some pretty interesting stories about production, such as the fact that the hardest thing for Arnold was not any of the extensive stunt work but the few scenes where he had acid poured over him so that he would be smoking, as well as the fact that the production offices wanted more of the movie to take place at night to save money on shooting, but Cameron held out because he thought it was important for the style of the movie that it take place mostly at night. Good thing, too!
All in all this is a very interesting documentary , even though it is simply made. All it really is is a conversation between Cameron and Arnold as they talk about the movie and their experiences involved with it, with various clips from the film edited in to complement what they are talking about. I am always suspicious of supplemental documentaries that include too much footage from the movie you just finished watching, but they are provided in a very complementary way in this documentary. Arnold and Cameron are talking about the production of the concept of the movie just as much as the shooting process itself, so it's not a problem that there is no behind-the-scenes footage. Very informative and interesting.
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