Thursday, June 11, 2015

Movie Review: "The Terminator" (1984)

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Movie"The Terminator"
Director: James Cameron
Year: 1984
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

In the future, artificially intelligent machines rule the world. A human resistance has risen up, led by John Connor, and has fought back and is on the brink of victory. In an effort to stop the resistance before it starts, the machines send a human-looking machine called a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back in time to 1984 to kill John Connor's mother, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), before he is ever born. The humans, in return, send back a soldier named Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) to protect Sarah, stop the Terminator and save the resistance. 

"The Terminator" is one of those classic sci-fi films you can't say enough good things about. It went on to spawn one fantastic sequel and a series of less than fantastic sequels, the latest of which is coming out this year (we're projecting on the most recent one, but you get the picture). Despite Hollywood's incessant attempts to ruin the characters through an endless onslaught of sequels and time travel paradoxes, this really is an exciting and wholly entertaining film that is just as good today as it was 30 years ago. The overall concept of artificially intelligent machines overthrowing mankind is one that is still used heavily in movies even today, but at the time, wasn't so overused and over-saturated in the movie marketplace. Aiding this great concept is the fact that it was shot in a guerrilla style, often without permits that might necessitate a "flee the situation" scenario, making it feel all the more realistic. Arnold Schwarzenegger is fantastic as the Terminator and offers up a truly intimidating presence while in the prime condition of his action movie career. Linda Hamilton is phenomenal, too, as she is forced to transition from a meek and timid waitress into a full-fledged badass. She does so effortlessly and amazingly, and we're still pissed she didn't get nominated for a best actress Oscar award, because she should have been. Michael Biehn is very good as Kyle Reese, the man sent back to protect Sarah Connor from the Terminator. He has a gruff exterior that offers the look of a semi-malnourished, battle-torn soldier from the future and he feeds his curt, frank attitude into this part with tremendous ease. Cameron really could not have asked for a better cast.

Considering the time in which this movie was made, the special effects and make-up work were quite impressive and still hold up as a pinnacle of greatness. The internal metal skeleton of the T-800 is such an iconic and creepy image, and it is one that has stood the test of time. When these special effects and this brilliant story are combined with an amazing amount of R-rated action sequences, cheesy but fitting one-liners, a spectacular directorial and written effort on the part of James Cameron, and a chillingly wonderful soundtrack, "The Terminator" houses a recipe for instant, lasting success and it has been part of our American culture ever since.

My Rating: 10/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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