The Terminator (1984)

The Terminator
Directed by James Cameron
Written by Gale Anne Hurd, James Cameron and additional dialogue by William Wisher Jr.
(number 319)

Now, this is one of those movies which I know I must have seen, and I know most of the story from the later movies, but… I don’t know if I’ve ever just sat down and watched it start to finish. This list has been good for getting me to watch that kind of film.

It’s a bit of a pity I watched Robocop before I watched this, because it seems like it owes a lot to this film. I kept watching it and thinking ‘this is like Robocop’ but of course it’s the other way around. I found this a tighter movie all round though. Maybe it’s because the premise is a bit harder, a bit tougher but also because it involves time travel it seems like… easier to buy into. Maybe it’s just that the special effects are better.

I really enjoyed this actually, and I kept on thinking that this is structured exactly like a standard horror film. I found I liked it more once I made that connection, like I knew the expected story beats so I could relax some. It’s a brilliantly realised film, very well written with natural dialogue and I always felt like Sarah’s actions, decisions and reactions made sense.

We did get some laughs out of the incredibly intrusive 80s music and the awesomely on point eighties hair and fashions. Just.. such giant hair.

Does it make me love the people? Absolutely it does. I love Sarah most of all, and I did start to feel things for Kyle Reese as well. I was pretty upset when Ginger died and although he was a bit of an asshole, Matt too. I also appreciated the ‘seen it all before’ cop dude as well.

Bechdel test: I believe so. Sarah talks to a woman at her work, although I had to check the cast list to see if that woman was named. She’s possibly Nancy, in which case the film passes very early by having them talk about ice cream and the murders on the news report. It also passes later when Sarah talks to Ginger about where her lizard is and if she’s checked the phone messages, also what should Sarah do when her date stands her up. Nice work Terminator! Having a main woman character certainly helps.

Best line:

Ginger Ventura: That bum. So what if he has a Porsche? He can’t treat you like this. It’s Friday night, for Christ’s sake.
Sarah Connor: [slumping] I’ll live.
Ginger Ventura: I’ll break his kneecaps.

Terminator: I’ll be back

Reese: Come with me if you want to live.

State of Mind: I enjoyed this way more than I expected to. Bring on T2!

Watched movie count

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