Ten Thousand Bytes of Cinematic Critique
Terminator is one of the most important science fiction films of all time, setting the standard of all "let's go back in time to prevent a terrible future which to some extent involves robots" movies.Although the film is basically one big chase sequence, what makes it work is the fact that the cast is just so damn fantastic. Linda Hamilton may have wasted her talent on a lackluster career, but she really shines in Terminator. Michael Biehn is compelling as the crazy guy from the future who really isn't crazy in his best performance outside of Johnny Ringo in Tombstone. It's a joke that acting like a robot isn't a stretch for Arnold Schwarzenegger, but if you've seen some of the other Terminator films, no one has really done it right (ignoring Robert Patrick's great performance in the sequel). Schwarzenegger is just sinister as a soulless, focuses killing machine. Tack on Lance Henriksen, Paul Winfield and Earl Boen, and you have a very competent supporting cast. If you're going to make a movie about a killer cyborg actually work, besides a great cast you need great special effects and a great script. As far as the special effects go, for 1984 they were top notch. The stop motion, model heads and animatronics may seem a little dated today, but at the time they were on the frontline of special effects. If you can watch Raiders of the Lost Ark without griping, then you can watch Terminator. If you can't watch either, God help you. The script does not get glowing praise. It is good, especially for the genre, but it is not without its faults. Character development is handled as best as possible, but when dealing with killer robots, you're not going to get deep drama. Writer and director James Cameron handled things as best as possible with the film, and that's all you can really expect. I love the synth theme and some of the other music, although some of it just doesn't work. Some fit the mood, some don't. I consider the keyboard orchestra in films like this and Blade Runner to be part of the time, like groovy funk in blaxploitation films, but my beef isn't in the medium, but how it was used. Again, it was hit and miss. Overall, though, Terminator is a great film for the action and sci fi genres, and definitely worth it if you want a thrilling, suspenseful extravaganza.
I feel bad for the robots whenever they wonder why the "huge pincher hands" thing never gets very popular. I like giant pincher hands.Woah, Michael Biehn has been in a bunch of stuff that I am technically aware of but didn't really realize he was in. T2 3-D? The Omega Code 2? Law & Order? Good for him.Women had terrible hair in the 80's. That's the only real downside to re-watching Terminator. But then you see Schwarzenegger break open a car window with his bare elbow knowing that it's real glass, and it's all worth it.
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