It’s funny don’t you think, the amount of movies you always mean to get around to and don’t? You know the plots, the famous lines, and the reasons people adore them years after they are made but you just never seem to fit them in to your viewing schedule. The Terminator is one of those movies for me. It came out a year before I was born and I’ve even seen other movies in the series – Judgment Day, the weird 3rd one with Claire Danes that I didn’t think worked all that well. I even recall a 3D movie based on the film at Universal Studios – I’ve only been there twice though so that might have been awhile ago that attraction existed. I always thought I should watch the original though; always good to know where all the jokes start.
So, we all know the story right? The Terminator is a cyborg sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor because her unborn son will someday lead the resistance against Skynet, the evil computer that controls the cyborgs. In return, John Connor sends one of his fighters, Kyle Reece, back in time as well to protect his mother. Lots of running, death and explosions follow along with some nifty storytelling that only works in a world where time travel is a possibility.
By today’s special effects standards, the movie is pretty old-school. The robotic Terminator that appears in the end of the movie is quite laughable in terms of believability. But that’s not why I kept watching – the film was well written and, and this is a key for a good action film, well paced. Cameron and his fellow writers clearly understood how to use explosions as needed, not as it seems in today’s movies at times, just for the hell of it. Each murder, each explosion, and each ridiculous chase scene has a purpose and moves the story forward. Actually, for such sparse dialogue, the story didn’t leave me with any major questions. In the end, you understand the logic of the story of this segment of the trilogy (well, I guess it’s beyond that now huh? Didn’t they try to reboot this not too long ago?). But I mean, we understand why they wanted Sarah Connor dead, we know why her son sent Kyle Reece to protect her, and we know, without a doubt, that it’s not over yet. The movie gives glimpses to the future – is that still the future now that Sarah Connor lives or has that altered as well?
As I live in a world where the next two movies have been made, I know the answer. I need to see that latest one to see what they’ve added to the mythology. But I liked it, the original Terminator. It’s always fun to see what the famous lines were actually in there for and to laugh at the bad special effects. But the story holds up so I would recommend a watch if you’re like and managed to miss out on it this long.
(PS – I just couldn’t post a movie poster for the film here – Arnold in all his 1980s glory was just a bit too much for me…LOL)