The Terminator

by Alan Rapp on October 31, 2005

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Terminator
  • IMDB: link

the-terminator-dvdTerminator 2: Judgement Day is a superior action flick with huge stunts and explosions.  Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is actually a very well thought out science fiction film that fits the events of the series into perspective.  The first in the series however, The Terminator, is perhaps the most perfect monster movie of all time.  The unstoppable killing machine sent from the future who must kill Sarah Connor and any who get in its way.

In the future the world has been taken over by machines bent on ruling and destroying what is left of humanity.  The war between human and machine rages on until the year 2029 when the humans led John Connor finally defeat the machines.

Unable to admit defeat a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a robotic killing machine covered in flesh and blood to resemble a human, is sent back in time to kill off the leader of the rebelling humans before he is ever born.  Too late to stop them, the humans send one soldier, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), back in time to protect Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and protect history.  The only question is who will get to her first?

My main problem with most monster movies is the monster itself, its powers and limitations, its origins and its reason for killing are never truly thought out or explained.  That’s what makes this film so great.  Because it’s built on a sci-fi premise with a robotic killing machine we know what the monster is, what it is capable of, and when nothing can stop him we understand why.

Schwarzenegger is an inspired choice for this unstoppable force that will never surrender or give up.  He’s also large enough, and robotic enough in his speech and mannerisms, to easily accept him as a robot.  He has no compunction or self doubt; he was built to kill.

Linda Hamilton has the harder role of running for her life and struggling to accept that a monstrous robot from the future is really trying to kill her for a baby she hasn’t even conceived yet.  She pulls it off brilliantly.  Michael Biehn as the soldier willing to give his life to save the future of humanity does a great job balancing his need to protect and care for his charge and his need to perform his duty.

For the Special Edition DVD we get some goodies.  The best of these is the documentary The Terminator: A Retrospective which includes interviews with James Cameron and Arnold reminiscing together about the film—one nifty bit of info related here is Arnold was originally slated to play Reese the hero and not the Terminator.  The other documentary, Other Voices, is a collection of those involved (cast, crew, production, writing, art and special effects) recollections of the creation to the filming of the movie.

Damn, this movie is great!  The movie works well on its own merits as well as the opening chapter of The Terminator series.  The special effects still hold up after twenty years and so does the suspense (eat your heart out Freddy and Jason).  The movie made huge names out of Hamilton, Schwarzenegger, and director James Cameron.  The Special Edition has some nice extras to make this a great little DVD to add to your collection.  What a terrific little monster movie; if only all could be so well made.

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