Terminator  (1984)

 D: James Cameron W: James Cameron P: John Daly, Gale Anne Hurd C: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn. 1h 47m. USA.

This timeless science fiction classic from James Cameron amounts to the perfect combination of the modern fear of a robotic apocalypse and time travel. Since the H G Wells novella published in 1895 The Time Machine the unlimited possibilities of time travel and its effects have been fully explored and probed but never with such sharp violence and ultimate bad ass villain.
It is a remorseless on screen adaptation of good vs evil but it’s an evil that we created in our attempts to play god, which see’s a modern heroine in develop from a fragile waitress into a tough bitch making bombs, dressing wounds and learning some awesome kill skills.

Before levelling up Sarah Connor (Hamilton) is a fragile waitress who couldn’t handle a butter knife. Gradually she notices women with her name are are being slaughtered around her town. Unknown to her; a Terminator T-800, a robot covered with human skin and flesh has been transported from the future to kill her before she spawns John Connor who will lead a revolution against the machines in the future. Luckily the resistance have discovered this diabolical plan and have managed to send back Kyle Reese (Biehn) to save Sarah. But due to the terminator’s uncanny human mimicry (it even had bad breath and sweats),  Kyle has to wait for it to try and kill Sarah before he acts. Soon the pair team up and both spend a wild night running for their lives from the ultimate killing machine.

The plan required something that felt no pity No pain. No fear. Something unstoppable, They created THE TERMINATOR!

The cast is surprisingly small and even the bit part characters like Lance Henriksen’s quirky cop character can’t be forgotten just from this one liners and I still want to know more about the afghan case. It was a huge breakthrough for Hamilton, showing that she could really develop a believable tough character, casting Arnie as the cyborg was a stroke of good luck as it’s easy to believe that there is a machine hiding inside his massive muscular frame somewhere and he gets to his now forgotten catchphrase, and Biehn proved that he can save the world in hobo pants, but what really stole the show was Cameron’s attention to detail. There aren’t a huge amount of special effects used throughout the movie, especially compared to modern efforts, there are some genius animatronics near the end of the film, but each time the terminators metallic skeletal frame is unveiled it’s incredible, even the final showdown which does look a little bit Harryhausen but still gives me the creeps, it’s as if the shuffling metal beast takes on a demonic persona with it’s red glowing eyes, after shedding its fleshy bits.

Despite spawning a long line of inferior sequels this original movie stands out from the rest they all developed as mankind fighting the machines and lost the chase aspect that gives Terminator it’s 80’s fast paced edginess. It didn’t need a Guns and Roses OST or CGI fluid robots to make the hard to swallow story hit home and to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
Its really hard to find any fault with Terminator and it makes it into my Holy Trinity of Sci Fi.

Rating –  10/10

R:  Terminator 2 (1991), Running Man (1987), The Time Machine (1960)
L– 1980’s Sci Fi, Sci Fi A-Z Volume 1, Holy Trinity of Hollywood Sci Fi.
5s – Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron
A – My love affair with Terminator
My favourite Scene

One thought on “Terminator  (1984)”

  1. I agree that The Terminator is a practically flawless and entertaining sci-fi adventure. There are many stories surrounding casting. Supposedly Henriksen was first choice for Terminator role. It is a cool cast – I’ve met several of them at cons. Henriksen was very friendly and interesting to talk to. Hamilton took a tug of my beard.

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