Skip to main content

Summer of Schwarzenegger - "The Terminator" (1984)


Pretty much every big Arnold quote comes from a few select movies, and ignore a huge part of his oeuvre. But there's a series of movies that are the most notorious offenders with this, and one that ironically starts with him being a remorseless killing machine. Yep, it's time we talk about The Terminator, which completely cemented Schwarzenegger as a star, and established what I consider to be one of the best science-fiction narratives ever committed to film. Not kidding, actually, sci-fi films don't get much better than this series. Well, the series as a whole, that is.

As for the first one? It's, uh... it's okay. Read on before you decide to crucify me.


I really like The Terminator, okay? I'm not saying it's a bad movie. It's far from it. It's probably one of the most important and influential movies of the 80's, in terms of what it did for the cinematic landscape at large. In the middle of horrible slasher movies and beefy action flicks, James Cameron showed that something could be both scary and exciting without being overwrought and hammy. We got to see time travel done right, setting the stage for later movies to capitalize on the concept. There were cool special effects and some really great scenes that still creep me out just thinking about them. For all intents and purposes, this is a really important, groundbreaking film.

But, uh, is it good by today's standards? I mean, yes, it's still a good movie and all, but is it fun to watch? Honestly? I would say not as much as it used to be for me. See, The Terminator crawls along at a very molasses pace, and while some might call that a slow burn, I call it dull. There are some parts of this movie that kind of bore me out of my skull today, and even though I would still defend it as a really great movie, I wouldn't defend it as a fun watch. It honestly takes about half-way through to get good, and even then, it has some serious rough patches after that point. Like, if I were to think of a movie to sit around for fun and rewatch, this would probably be at the very bottom of the list. Which is, uh, why I didn't rewatch it considering I did so less than a year ago and didn't want to do it again. My blog, my rules.

Deal with it.
So, yes, I would argue that this is a really dated movie, what with the odd pacing and soundtrack that is really, really cheesy by today's standards. But despite that, there's no doubt that Arnold provides an incredible air of menace to the titular murder machine. This is a dude who gets shot, stabbed, blown up, skinned and burned to a crisp, but doesn't fucking let up on account of him being a cyborg and everything. Jason and Freddy and Michael? They were all human at some point. They had feelings and psychoses and other varying shit that led to them being homicidal maniacs. Not the T-1000, though. He was created with the sole purpose of murdering the living shit out of Sarah Connor, and gave fuck-all about anybody who dared to stand in the way of that. There's no rhyme or reason other than his programming, which is set firmly to "kill anything."

What makes him truly terrifying, though, are his attempts at replicating human behavior. He copies and pastes basic phrases, the terror lying in the innocuousness of his speech. This is epitomized when he asks an old woman her name, only to gun her down when she reveals herself to be another Sarah Connor, or when he promises to return to the police station, only to fucking crash through the wall and murder the attendant at the front desk. He has the speech and understanding of a small child, but the destructive capabilities of a small army. Honestly, I chalk it up to luck that Sarah Connor managed to survive one-on-one against this thing, as she doesn't really go full-on badass until the sequel.

Speaking of which, I think that's what makes The Terminator so hard to watch today without getting bored. I've seen the sequel, which is... ugh. It's fucking amazing, okay? Terminator 2 is one of the best movies to ever be released, and it forever changed the standards by which I judge movies, and that unfortunately includes all of the others in this series. The thing is, you can't skip this one. You need to watch it to understand and enjoy the follow-up, so... yeah. Tough luck.

Again, this isn't a bad movie. I still like it. I just don't love it, not like I used to, anyway. This is one of my shorter write-ups, but I don't really have much to say about this one. it's a fine movie, and it's worth watching at least once to see where the whole "Ah'll be bahck" schtick came from. Moving right along...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yellow Snow: "Frozen" and the Cult of Elsanna

Anybody who's read my top picks for the best movies of last year knows that I have very strong feelings about Frozen, a frankly epic masterpiece of animated cinema, if not cinema in general. It rights a lot of wrongs that Disney films have historically perpetrated, from featuring two female characters that aren't defined by men, to sending an ultimately positive message to both children and adults. If you haven't seen it, I encourage you to stop reading this and go shell out your money for a ticket. Hell, maybe even two, as I've already seen the damn thing three times, and will probably see it once or twice more for the fuck of it. It's okay, I can wait.
But on a serious note, a disturbing trend has been occurring, as brought to my attention by a wonderful yet disheartening news post on Nerve. It's become quite popular, it seems, to pair up the two main sisters, two of the strongest female protagonists in recent films, and put them together in an incestuous le…

Fried Take - "Sadako 3D 2" (2013)

The Ring franchise is easily one of my favorites out there, and its terrifying antagonist Sadako is a movie monster that I just can't help but love. Even being a fan of the series and its lore, though, couldn't make me forgive some egregious mistakes made my 2012's Sadako 3D. It was a clunky, gimmicky and all-around uninspired mess of a movie that broke canon and turned into pure schlock halfway through, despite a strong concept and some solid acting. So it would make sense, then, that I didn't have much hope for the sequel, which changed up the screenwriters but kept the same continuity and director, and seemed to focus more on grandiose scares than the low-key chills of older entries.

Being a huge fan, though, I felt obligated to at least give this one a try. Maybe it could wash the bad taste of forced 3D gimmicks and moronic sub-plots out. Or perhaps it would further ruin this once-great franchise, and be a moronic waste of my time. Read on to find out my thoughts …

My Top 12 Games of 2017

This year has been peak video gaming, right? Like, it's crazy how good everything got all of a sudden. This generation went from middling to one of the best in recent memory in the span of twelve months, at least to me. Sure, that's not to say the industry hasn't been up to its usual garbage, arguably more so than usual - to the point where games might get taken to court again. Crazy.

Anyway. I've found my tastes changing a lot this year, especially after I quit professional games writing for the time being, and I've been reevaluating what "good" or "bad" games are to me. That's partially what inspired my recent list of personal all-time greats. With that in mind, take this list as a representation of my newfound tastes, and a harbinger of what you'll see me talking about going forward.

Let's kick things off with some honorable mentions.



Honorable Mentions and Junk, In No Order


Quake Champions

Quake Champions is the arena shooter that L…