The Terminator (James Cameron, 1984)
In 2029, artificially intelligent machines are attempting to exterminate what is left of the human race. Two beings from this era travel back in time to 1984 Los Angeles: One is a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a cyborg assassin programmed to kill a woman named Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton); the other is Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), a human resistance fighter sent to protect her. After the Terminator kills two other Sarah Connors listed in the telephone directory, it eventually tracks down its target to a nightclub. Kyle shows up and saves Sarah from the Terminator's attack and the two make an escape.
There’s something about Science-fiction films of the 1980’s that gets me. Maybe because it is the time I was born and grew up but I have a fascination towards this time when special effects were still puppets and made with stop motion techniques. It might be one of the many reasons why I liked The Terminator. This cult classic of one of the most successful film franchise ever has some of the most iconic moments of the action film genre. It is a blend of genres that James Cameron likes to do and he succeeds quite well with action films and science-fiction. However, I tend to think that he has some troubles dealing with romance and women in general in his films.
The fact that his love story is predictable and that the relationships portrayed by Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese is stereotypical doesn’t help the action genre to help it raise to a point where it is more seriously regarded. It feels like a movie written by a young boy who has women issues. Nonetheless, the boy in me really liked the action sequences and the many gunfights. Unlike his Aliens, the special effects have handled quite well the test of time and Arnold is still one of the best villains as the immortal terminator. As with many franchises, the first chapter is often the most iconic and the most genuine. With Terminator, the second chapter has almost shadowed the first with its state of the art special effects and the return of Arnold on the side of Sarah and John Connor.
Finally, I must admit being one of the James Cameron detractors and having never watched Avatar and Titanic, I was proud to loath his films. But with The Terminator there’s a door that’s been opened for me to actually enjoy his films. It is fresh, fun, and watched on the Blu-Ray edition it’s as good as if it was released lately but made 30 years ago.