MOVIE REVIEW: “The Terminator” stars Arnold Schwarzenegger (Jingle All the Way, Predator), Michael Biehn (Aliens, The Abyss), Linda Hamilton (Dante’s Peak, Beauty and the Beast [1987 TV series]), Paul Winfield (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Mars Attacks!), Lance Henriksen (Millennium [TV series], AVP: Alien vs. Predator), Rick Rossovich (Top Gun, Roxanne), Bess Motta (You Talkin’ to Me?, Broken Angel), and Earl Boen (The Toy Warrior, Clifford’s Really Big Movie). It is co-written and directed by James Cameron (Avatar, Aliens). The year is 2029. Earth is a war zone pitting humans versus cyborgs after the creation of a machine that began to think for itself many years prior. The machines would’ve thought that they would have won already, but the humans’ leader, John Conner, is relentless. Because they can’t destroy him, they send one of their own cyborgs, a terminator (Schwarzenegger), back in time to 1984 to kill his mother so he would cease to exist. It won’t be easy though because John notices this and asks for a volunteer to go back in time to save his mom from the powerful cyborg. That man is Kyle Reese (Biehn) and he will do whatever it takes to keep Sarah Conner (Hamilton, John’s mother, alive for their existence depends on it.
“Come with me if you want to live!” No, I haven’t seen this film before in my life, nor have I ever seen a Terminator movie. Well, scratch that, I’ve seen “Terminator Salvation” a long time ago. Anyway, it’s not because I didn’t want to but because I didn’t find any time to watch it. There are plenty of films that are classics I haven’t seen (like “Alien” or “The Godfather”) so it was on a long list of movies to get since the only way I can watch old films is to buy them. That brings me to saying that even though I wanted to make this a marathon, I don’t have all of the film’s at the moment. I also didn’t want to wait to post this, so here it is (enough small talk)! I wanted to state that this movie has taken up the name of cult classic. Granted, the second film in the Terminator franchise, “Terminator 2: Judgement Day,” has gotten more glory, but everyone still respects the first entry. It had a lot on its shoulders and needed to meet hefty expectations. To be honest, I thought it was great. The eighties, although a disaster of an era for the Oscars, has blessed us with quite a bit of spectacular classics (“Back to the Future” to name one) as well as blunders that I wish were never made (sorry “Mannequin”), and this film never misses a beat, joining the group of classics in my book. The first aspect I want to discuss on my list of pros is the plot. Co-written by James Cameron himself, this story’s plot line is extremely original, for its time anyway. Of course talk about machines taking over has long been discussed, but this uniqueness of a story has never been foretold. Everything about the story I liked. Sure, there were some mishaps, but overall it was fantastic. It all came together like a puzzle the deeper you got into the movie and left me feeling good with a satisfying ending. Surprisingly enough, this movie was funny at times. Besides me chuckling at some outdated special effects (which I will discuss later on), this movie had some funny jokes and physical humor in it that caught me off guard, but I loved it. It pulled me away from the all too serious story and it needed it because, let’s be real here, there are moments that seem very far-fetched and you don’t want to completely sanitize this film with complete seriousness to the point of exhaustion. It needs a break, and that it delivers. The writing is genius and the directing is even better. James Cameron is a visionary behind the camera, giving great shots and cool action scenes that leave me wanting more. The cinematography was forceful and to the point, with enough slow pans and less quick shots in action scenes so that I can understand what is going on. Besides the directing, the acting was pretty good too. There were a handful of weak performances, but there were good ones too. Arnold is the most controversial however. This was in his very early days of acting, so he wasn’t well-experienced, and it shows. Thankfully they didn’t give him many lines and he played a cyborg, so it’s okay to not have emotion. I will admit though, he has a very rad aura around him and when he says “I’ll be back” for the first time it just makes me feel epic. The performances I said that were weak were mainly background people who had lines or some minor roles that got quite a bit of lines. It wasn’t too bad of a dilemma. Another aspect that can be controversial is the special effects. I’ve stated before that James Cameron didn’t have much to work with, and I mean it. All the action and shooting scenes with explosions were awesome and well-made, but the visual effects that took more effort were shoddy. One of the main concerns is when Arnold takes out his eye in front of the mirror after getting demolished. The first cut shows him regularly looking at his reflection. The next cut shows a front view of him cutting away his eye, but it is clearly noticeable that he is wearing a mask. So noticeable, in fact, that I laughed a little. Another concern is when his skin falls apart to the point where he is only a metal exoskeleton. You can tell where they put stop-motion and tried to green screen it in with the regular cast because of the glowing around the real characters outlines. I won’t take off a lot of points for it though because I understand the time that this was filmed and how special effects were hard to come by. They didn’t heavily rely on these anyway so it wasn’t a huge hassle to deal with. When you’re talking about essential cons, though, I don’t have many major ones. Any issue I have revolves around details in the story that don’t make sense. One example being when Sarah and Kyle are under a bridge and Kyle is wounded. Sarah pulls out a medical kit which I didn’t even see her grab from anywhere so it was a noticeable plot hole. Any more I describe will most likely ruin the movie for those who are interested and haven’t seen it yet, so I’ll leave it at that. Overall this is a terrific film which the story is original and fun. I recommend anyone who is a sci-fi or action fan to check this one out! FINAL SCORE: 92%= Juicy Popcorn
The score of this movie has been changed. It does not affect the running of the Movie of the Year for 2015.
Here is the trailer: