James Cameron has directed a number of great feature films and some less than great, but it all started with this one (if you ignore Piranha II). The plot combines traditional horror hunts with a surprisingly well-thought-out dystopian future and time travel to create something at once scary, thrilling, and unique, especially for 1984.
I think the main reason for its success was not Linda Hamilton as Sarah or Michael Biehn as Reese (though both do an excellent job) but Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will forever be the Terminator. If great acting involves simply being steely enough to intimidate both the characters and the audience, then the former governor of California is a master. Many critics said the role was perfect for him because he didn’t have to speak much. He’s so integral to the franchise that he’ll even be in the reboot next year.
The film itself is a thrill ride with great focus put on the car chases. My VC, who likes the film too, actually thought the chase scenes ran on rather long. The part involving Reese and Sarah’s romance in the hotel room slowed it down a bit too much, in addition to throwing in unnecessary nudity.
Overall, it is certainly an R-rated movie. There’s profanity, tons of shooting and deaths (though Cameron could have made it worse), the nudity, and that icky scene with the Terminator’s eye, which is mitigated by the fact that it’s obviously an animatronic. Yet The Terminator is also a gold standard for sci-fi fans with cool effects and some truly awesome explosions and is a definite part of popular culture. I’ve already reviewed the third one and this is the first, so all I can say for the Terminator is that he’ll “be back.”
Best line: (you guessed it; the Terminator) “I’ll be back.”Artistry: 7 Characters/Actors: 8 Entertainment: 8 Visual effects: 6 Originality: 10 Watchability: 7 Other (violence, language, nudity, etc.) -6 TOTAL: 40 out of 60
Next: #216 – Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
© 2014 S. G. Liput
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