Posted on 5/02/10 11:39 PM
(Spoilers contained within)
The Terminator is now my number one favorite film of all time. Terminator offers grim realism coupled with fantasy adversity -- and -- as the tabloids and other reviews likely told you, "it does not let up for a minute!!" One of my favorite parts is the opening sequence of the film where you see the letters moving across the screen and you hear the Terminator song for the first time -- "dun dun dun, Dun... dun... dun..." This movie put Arnold Schwarzenegger on the map and also James Cameron -- James would go on to direct the sci-fi epic "Aliens"
I think my most important task is to first establish why I think this movie is superior to Terminator 2 -- a movie that is held high by many including myself. In Terminator we see the progression of the antagonist toward systematically eliminating his target and dealing with troubles that arise. The Terminator cuts out his own eyeball in a gruesome scene where we see him repairing himself. This is part of the "grim realism."
The Terminator brutally murders people. We see the surgical precision of this cybernetic organism -- moving from target to target and then relentlessly chasing Sarah Connor. We see efficiency -- the Terminator can use the voices of others, he is stronger than anyone, he never sleeps and he is impervious to bullets. Nothing stands in his way. Again, these are more examples of the "grim realism" and also the general "film noir" feel that this movie has.
Terminator 2 did not offer the same quality of grim reality and fantasy drama that this film had -- instead of one scene in the future HERE we get several, instead of having an antagonist that only moves against the enemy we have an adversary that is tough and is still beyond the weaponry of everyone and then offers us some insight into the flaws and perilous profile of "The Terminator," where it is from and also how it operates (strategically as well as electronically/mechanically)
Michael Biehn does a fantastic job as Kyle Reese, the man sent back through time to protect Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) from the Terminator. His flaw is that he is human and has come with nothing to help Sarah Connor with the Terminator -- nothing other than himself. His survival technique and his inferiority to the Terminator drive him to rescue Sarah and explain to her what is going on and establish credibility with her enough that she can trust him. The scenes with Kyle and Sarah offer great drama! It is very clear that they are both very afraid as their survival is constantly threatened. At number 1 on my all time sci-fi list I really have to say - this is an incredible ride that does not disappoint!!
For James Cameron: I think Aliens was a great attempt to reproduce the grim realism that Terminator had, but after this when you went to a less grim and violent and real construct for your epic fantasy/sci-fi films, your films in general were not as good... I don't know what this means but I guess it is important to say that I hope when you do Battle Angel it is as grim and real and crazy as this film was. I know you can do it James as you don't have a bad film on your entire resume (except for the first one which you could do nothing about) I also think that you should not do future installments of Avatar unless you plan to produce something along the lines of Irvin Kershner's "Empire Strikes Back"
..That's not a tall order..
**** out of ****