It's hard to talk about science fiction without talking about The Terminator. Especially me who up until a few days ago had never seen it from beginning to end. I know blasphemy you say. Well it's true. But with a new movie coming out this year I thought I would finally watch the movie that in all intensive purposes will be rewritten by this new film.
I must preface this with the fact that before this viewing I did have a cliffnotes understanding of what this movie's plot was. Maybe not a full plot summery but enough to get me through viewings of other films in the series. Also spoilers for a over 30 year old movie.
A Very Rear-Ended Intro
The first thing that came to mind when viewing was the shot of Arnie's ass. All we know is that he appeared out of nowhere completely in the nude. He's followed by a guy who I knew watching it as Kyle Reese, also in the nude. Pretty cryptic to be perfectly honest but it gets you right into what your about to see. So many questions already in the first 8 min of film that you want to know what the hell is going on. You're probably wondering what about that block of text that plays in the beginning? Well I'll get to that in a little bit.
So we get introduced to Sarah Connor our heroine of the film. And well lets just say she's still trying to get her shit together. She's got a shitty job, living in a shitty apartment, with a shitty boyfriend who bails out on a double date night with her girlfriend/roommate. Oh, and she has a pet lizard to show that she cares about living things. It's not ham fisted in this introduction to our main character and actually feels genuine when it brings things up in conversation.
Totally 80's Man
In case you didn't already know this movie takes place in the 80's and boy does it ever feel that way. But unlike some movies that totally feel of their time Terminator sets everything up as a time travel future characters traveling back to the 80's. It's kind of on that weird level of "Wait this feels 80's cause it's set in the 80's. Not because it was actually shot in the same time period." It's dated but a good kind of dated.
Speaking of dated I seem to have almost forgot about my only problem with the film and its the exposition dump that takes place while in the parking deck. Reese is hot wiring a car while explaining to Sarah why both him and Arnie's Terminator are here.
This should have been all we needed to understand what was going on and we should have started with Arnold coming into the picture followed by the opening titles then cut to Kyle coming in. The audience keeps guessing until we hit that 20 min mark when this expo dump happens and everyone, audience and Sarah, get caught up to speed. Yes, its me being nitpicky about the way the film flows but its something that honestly from what I saw was an unnecesary introduction to everything. Keep your audience questioning what's going on why are the two male characters hunting down people named Sarah Connor? It's something that I think an audience can handle for 20 mins of an almost 2 hour run time.
Genysis of Love
All joking aside throughout the movie you see that Sarah is truly falling in love with Kyle. This lies solely on Linda Hamilton's performance as Sarah. It's all in her eyes. You can see it when she's at the police station that she's falling for him not to mention believing everything he's saying about the future.
Then we get that great flash-forward midway through the film of Kyle in the future and he has a picture of Sarah. We don't know why but he just does. Again this movie proposes questions that are answered later on when he tells Sarah everything. This includes the fact that he fell in love with her just from that one picture that was given to him by John. And cue sex scene with some tasteful 2 seconds of full on boob...okay so I'm a younger guy with a healthy labitto, sue me.
Man Vs Machine
Then here comes a damn piece of great film. We have the now just endosuit of the terminator chasing down Kyle and Sarah. It's got some great creepy stop motion effects work that honestly with the stiltedness of the animation adds to the tension of the scene.All of this slow and calculated movement is great. It's not too slow but not exactly fast enough to count as a pure action scene.
It all comes down to Kyle blowing the terminator up with a stick of hand made dynamite. After everything goes boom we have Sarah pull a shard of metal from her leg and hobble over to see that Kyle is dead. But syke our little menace just won't quit as it chases her through the machine plant and almost gets her as she presses the switch crushing the thing.
And so that was Terminator overall it deserves all the praise it gets. It's a science fiction movie that is set in the past or in the case of when it was made the present. Unlike it's sequels it doesn't like to dive into much of the time travel mumbo jumbo that a lot of its predecessors have done.
With an new Genysis coming to us in July, I'm hoping that we will get something great. But if not at least we will always have the original classic.