The Terminator Review

So I watched The Terminator…

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With the release of Terminator: Genisys coming up in a few days I thought it would fun to travel down memory lane to the bloodshed and monosyllabic awesomeness that is the Terminator Franchise.

Okay, basic plot: in the year 2029, man and machine are engaged in a worldwide war that has scorched the Earth. With the humans on the brink of victory over the evil Skynet, the machines send back a Terminator (an advanced cybernetic killing machine that was apparently built in Austria) to kill the mother of the leader of the human resistance – Sarah Connor. The human resistance manages to send back a protector for Sarah and her unborn son – Kyle Reese, a resistance fighter who isn’t nearly as powerful or as cool as The Terminator.

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Let me start this review off by typing a set of words that aren’t often thought (well at least not without a hint of sarcasm) – how good is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting in this movie? A lifeless, emotionless killing machine with very little dialogue – he was born to play this role. Plus he’s playing a villain which is a breakaway from the hordes of action flicks that he’s built his career on. I love how efficient and determined The Terminator is. He doesn’t waste time with niceties, he isn’t looking to break into a monologue to give our heroes time to escape – he’s programmed to kill and he does that. It’s great to see a villain who’s proactive and actually focused on getting the job done.

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Linda Hamilton’s actor was also an amazing part of this movie. The fragility and vulnerability she shows serve as this movie’s heart and soul. All the characters around her are focused killers and soldiers and she’s the port through which the audience connects to the story. Her acting is even more impressive when you compare it to the upcoming transformation of her character in judgement Day. Seeing this kind of juxtaposition and progression in one character really adds depth and makes the weight of the story more significant.

I found MIchael Biehn’s performance a little too inconsistent and erratic. I get that he’s a soldier who’s been forced to fight since the day he was born and this has frayed his wires and created a certain manic energy; but I couldn’t get a fix on his character. He was all over the place and it just seemed like he wasn’t in control of what kind of character he wanted Kyle Reese to be.

Speaking of things that are a little inconsistent and erratic – Brad Fiedel’s score left much to be desired. I watched this with a friend and more than once we looked at each other and said that the music didn’t quite match the tone of the movie or the scene it was placed in. There are sections of the score that are absolutely amazing and iconic but there are pieces in between that just seem out of place. I feel his score (like everything in this movie). improved with the sequel.

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Speaking of things that needed improvement, the special effects in this movie feel very dated. I can’t really hold this against the movie because it was hamstrung by the technology of the time. There are moments, however, where the special effects defy their time and are absolutely outstanding. Stan Winston’s animatronic work with the Terminator skeleton being chief among these. Winston would later go on to do amazing work with the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park so it’s great seeing his earlier work.

Overall, this movie is just one of those movies you have to see at least once in your life. The Terminator and the characters in it are iconic and I loved watching it and I suggest you do the same. 8/10

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8 thoughts on “The Terminator Review

    1. Definitely agree that T2 is superior. The Terminator is like looking at your first kiss – sloppy in some places, lacking a polished finished but always memorable. It led to better things and can’t be forgotten. Well that was a strange analogy…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha. An interesting one. But I do agree that the basic idea behind the film deserves praise and the fact that Cameron put Schwarzenneger- who lets face wasn’t a particularly good actor – into that role and made him so iconic is commendable achievement in itself.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Ugh, this movie was utter garbage. Time travel? Really? The most childish and utterly ridiculous trope in Science Fiction? Gag. Not to mention how utterly stilted Schwarzenneger’s acting is. And the character of Sarah Conner is nothing but a typical sexist Hollywood damsel, which they tried to make up for by turning her into a typical sexist Hollywood sexy warrior.This movie makes me sick. It makes me angry. It makes my stomach drop, eyes water, jaw clench, and bowls move just thinking about it.

    The most overrated movie of all time, next to it’s sequel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well time travel always bothers me because of the paradox it creates. But the idea of killer robots wrapped in organic matter to fool humans is pretty cool. Sarah Connor is a damsel but I think they needed to show how weak she was in the beginning so her transformation in the next movie would mean more. Sorry you didn’t like this one man but thanks for reading.

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    1. I loved it when the T800 busts into the police station and tears it apart. Submachine gun in one hand, shotgun in the other. Utter destruction.

      Liked by 1 person

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