Saturday, July 11, 2009
The Terminator (1984, James Cameron)
This review is hard and easy at the same time. How do you successfully review a movie you have loved for half of your life? Many of my reviews are for movies I have just seen for the first time. Movies I am unbiased towards, for the most part. I'll just do the best I can I guess. Back in 1991 when I was about 10 years old, I wanted to see T2 (Terminator 2 for those who are stupid) so badly. Of course my mother wouldn't let me but I did end up catching it on video about a year later. I loved it and begged my mother to let me rent the first one. She was working as a Meat Wrapper in the local supermarket with three foul mouthed guys who told her that The Terminator was not appropriate for her 11 year old son (swearing, nudity, violence and everything else that is great about the movie). Finally I couldn't take it anymore and I tricked my dad into letting me buy a copy for sale at a nearby video store. When my mother found out she was pissed but let me keep it (she was never very good at discipline). Anyway, I watched it. Then watched it again. Then watched it again and again and again and it soon became my favorite movie.
The year is 2029. The world is run by machines who are trying to eliminate the few remaining humans who survived after a nuclear war caused by the machines. One man named John Connor rose up to lead the survivors in a fight against the machines. The machines sent a half man/half machine called a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back to the year 1984 to kill John Connor's mother, Sarah (Linda Hamilton) in effect erasing his existence. The humans then sent through a young resistance fighter named Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) to try to protect Sarah against the Terminator.
The Terminator rules in every possible way. The story is thought provoking (fuck those who gripe about the impossibility of the film's events - it's Science Fiction for Crissakes!), the characters are brilliant and the action is non-stop. The special effects are cutting edge (for the time) and still pack quite a punch, courtesy of the late, great Stan Winston. Seeing it on the big screen, I was really impressed by the car chases and just how loud the movie was, something I'd never felt before watching it on home video. The shotgun blasts, the screeching car tires, the futuristic machines...everything. The relationship between Reese and Sarah is probably the thing I love most about this movie. They are just so perfect together I wish Hamilton and Biehn were in a hundred movies together (or even just two - not counting the criminally deleted scene from T2). Oh yeah...then there's Ah-nold as The Terminator. Easily his best role and you can just tell he doesn't give a shit about anyone or anything other than killing Sarah. Let's also not forget the music - Brad Feidel's electronic score and the cheesy 80's pop songs that I so love, as well as the perfectly-casted supporting actors (Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Bess Motta, Rick Rossovich, Bill Paxton and (of course) Dick Miller). I could go on and on discussing every single thing about this film, but I'll leave it at that. The Terminator rules.