Terminator Franchise: THE TERMINATOR, 1984 Movie Review

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Terminator Franchise: The TERMINATOR - Photo credit:  edition by Amber255 via bitLanders

THE TERMINATOR. This word has long become a nominal name, implying not only the greatest fantastical action movie of all times and people but also a whole trend in world fiction, a milestone in the history of cinema, the craze for robotics and the cult of more than one generation, inextricably linked to James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who gave us the immortal image of the cyborg killer from the future - the Terminator.

The film is a bit old, yet it is more than thirty years old. Well, when you are already rich and famous, scriptwriters offer their works, sponsors and producers hustle around you - in general, when the name is already working for you. And when all this is still ahead, and today almost no one knows you yet, and the budget for filming is a very, very modest, what to do? How to create a fantastic masterpiece that everyone would gasp?

Genius knows. And the genius creates. Where there is little material, the filling is compensated by ideas, and such that shake any imagination.

The philosophically social trick is in the idea of the uprising of the robots against its creators, which is fueled by the fact that we are more and more dependent on technology.


THE TERMINATOR, Official Trailer - Video credit: youtube

THE TERMINATOR Against The Third World War? 

Or world cinema as a tool for changing reality and saving the world.

In September 1983, the USSR was threatened with a mass missile strike. I obtained all the data from open sources.

It is known that the idea of the movie THE TERMINATOR literally came in a dream to James Cameron. In 1981, in Rome, working on his first major film Piranha 2, Cameron fell ill with fever. And in fever agony, he saw the plot of THE TERMINATOR.

But why am I comparing these two times' points?

Kyle Reese : There was a nuclear war. A few years from now, all this, this whole place, everything, it's gone. Just gone. There were survivors. Here, there. Nobody even knew who started it. It was the machines, Sarah.

Credit: imdb

One of the new informational messages of THE TERMINATOR has become the information that the defense computers will launch the Third World Nuclear War.

In turn, in 1983, a personnel Soviet officer committed an incredible deed, for a person strictly following the protocol, charter, and instructions. At 0:15, a computer signal was heard: a ballistic missile was launched from the United States towards the USSR. Next came after the second, then third, and so with an interval of a couple of minutes. He was waiting. He saved the Earth.

In short, the essence of the situation is about the following: a computerized missile attack warning system issued a warning about a massive missile attack from the United States. It was the full coincidence of all indicators.

Petrov was obliged to give confirmation to the General Staff. And it would be just a few minutes before pressing the red button, and the United States would have been wiped off the face of the Earth, however, like the USSR, and most states, regardless of whether the computer was wrong or not. The USA would undoubtedly have time to strike back after got the first wave.


 THE TERMINATOR franchise - Photo credit: youtube

Lieutenant Colonel Petrov prevented a nuclear catastrophe without giving confirmation of the alarm received from defense computers. At the risk of being either a hero or a traitor. After all, many people still remember very well how the equalization system worked in the 1980s in the USSR.

If someone is interested in details, then in 2014 a good artistic documentary film The Man Who Saved the World was shot about the fate of Lieutenant Colonel Petrov. But actually, let's get back from the hero to the situation. Ballistic missiles, which the computer system clearly showed, confidently followed the course of the USSR for a while and suddenly, before going on the radar,s disappeared without a trace.

In 1981, in some magical way, the thought of the possibility of an almost identical situation occurred to James Cameron, and perhaps, not to him alone, but Cameron was able to bring it to the collective consciousness of the population of the Earth creating one of the most popular films of the time. It is obvious that at that time, such ideas were not taken seriously by the powerful of the world. But later, the situation began to change.

Our subconscious mind was attacked by the following parts of THE TERMINATOR describing in detail the scenarios that could lead to the victory of the machines. Then the Matrix followed, and so on to the present days. And this whole stream of fiction on a clearly formulated subject was brought to the population of our planet as much as possible. And the question, if computers can start a nuclear war, is still open.


THE TERMINATOR soundtrack, Main Theme - Video credit: youtube

The Plot

Mankind tried so hard to create artificial intelligence that once overdid it. Artificial intelligence has become smarter than people and decided to destroy them. The future of mankind is a real hell, where every day is the struggle for life with robots.

One of these robots (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in the guise of a person to merge with the crowd, comes to the past with the help of a time machine - to the 80s - to kill young defenseless waitress Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton). Because in 2029 her son John Connor will win the war of people against robots. At the same time, Connor himself sent Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) to save Sarah from the Terminator.

 Will they die or survive a fight with the machine? What will happen to mankind in the future? Answers to these questions, we learn by watching the movie.

Now there are a lot of films on the theme of the uprising of machines and artificial intelligence. A similar idea already was used in the films, and movie THE TERMINATOR may seem beaten in terms of the plot after such a variety. But in the 80s, when the film was shot, the idea was new and original for the cinema. The film has it all - futuristic fantasy, drama, love, intrigue, tension, even funny moments. 


bitLanders AI-Themed blogging - THE TERMINATOR movie review - Photo credit: blog.elitmozi

The First Idea - Location Of the filming

James Cameron didn’t follow the obviously losing way, didn’t start building the world of the future or other planetary systems from cheap cardboard ( the film is not for adolescents), but transferred all the main events to today when he could shoot just around himself.

The viewer sees Los Angeles so big and so different. A lot of places of huge and a great city. We see day vanity with an endless stream of cars and night lights and huge, breathtaking panoramas. We see small gateways with punks and dirty vagrants. We see sparkling clubs, where deafening music and youth dance drive do not stop until the morning. We see quiet one-story suburbs with tiny motels and cafes with five tables.

All events are going on these wide boulevards and in dirty narrow lanes, where even two pedestrians find it difficult to pass one another.

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The Second Idea - Android, Humanoid Robot

And what if the android will be no different from people at all? Why all these funny sceneries, if you can just invite the proper human.

No, not just so, a man who will be higher all others, which by his mere appearance, the gaze of huge deep eyes and the width of giant shoulders, can make even the boldest hearts tremble and captivate the mind of millions of viewers forever.

But where is the intrigue, where is the fantasy, where is the robot itself, which amazes the imagination?

It is inside, under a mountain of powerful and strong muscles like steel itself, only once presented to the viewer in all the beauty of its metal mechanisms.


bitLanders AI-Themed blogging - THE TERMINATOR movie review - Photo credit: twitter

The Third Idea - Situation

The film is literally crammed with a play on all sorts of contrasts, where the usual sour everyday life, like a red-hot knife in warm oil, literally bursts in dizzying events, plunging all random participants into panic and shock.

Here there is a cynical shooting in the crowded entertainment club and the merciless night murders of innocent and full of life young people, handsome people, simply because they accidentally fell under the circumstances and cold-blooded execution of a whole team of law servants right in the building of the police department.

The terminator promised to become one of the best sci-if films ever, and it doesn't lie. With an interesting premise, a cool end and a satisfying result, The terminator deserves the most prestigious awards of this kind of films.

Credit: metacritic

The Fourth Idea - Romance

She waited, carefully hoped, and believed that her prince would come for her. If not on a white horse, then on a white Porsche, but he never arrived, citing some urgent matters.

Because it was not a prince, but only her own imagination. She could not even think what the man he would be, and where, behind what turn of fate and on what road of the huge noisy city he would find her, protect, calm and warm, love and fill her life with great meaning, remaining in her heart forever.

Despite all the trash and dirt of the gateways, on blood, death, pain, despair, and fear, James Cameron found a place in his film for romance and love. As it should be in any film, not devoid of the meaning of life; otherwise what to fight for and why then live?


The film about cyborgs THE TERMINATOR - Photo credit: imdb  

The Fifth Idea - Music

The music needs such that we would remember it immediately and for all life, like the Caprice of the Paganini, like Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata or Belle's Elise, the Mozart's Eleventh Sonata, Bach's Toccata and Fugue, or Chopin's funeral march. And James Cameron found such music!

I constantly hear it for many years now, but I tremble every time already at the first chords, and the goosebumps run from my head to the back.

This music is so gorgeous and versatile that it can be called omnipresent. It has everything that makes a man a man: notes of fate and hope, the pain of suffering and a cautious belief in salvation, despair, hatred, and fear, but at the same time kindness, justice and love.

How can all this fit in one, even a very successful melody? You just listen to it and understand everything at once. It is not surprising that it is perfectly suited as the main theme, and for the bed scene, and for the last credits.


THE TERMINATOR review - Photo credit: twitter

The Sixth Idea - Pathos

Pathos is there everywhere. Car windows are knocked out with bare hands, and bodies are pierced many times. Eyes are cut out with a scalpel, and cold-blooded murders are performed almost every five minutes. You will see everything, that should be in any self-respecting action movie.

 The police deal with clouds of smoke, and we see so hot firefights that, it seems, you smell the smell of burning rubber, gunpowder, and blood with your nose. You feel the burning touches of the red-hot cartridge cases and hear death cries of despair.

The robot cannot be broken; it cannot be bribed or frightened; it cannot be persuaded or cause its compassion; it will stop at nothing. Like us, people, in the endless pursuit of vicious passions. This machine just gives us what we deserve. It rewards rightly and flawlessly.


THE TERMINATOR review - Photo credit: imdb 

The picture is not devoid of deep philosophy and serious meaning.

The Eight Idea - Characters

The characters are so different and so bright. 

The distracted girl, who herself does not yet know what she wants from life. She does not even know what events await her, and what fate is destined to her. And most importantly, how strong and decisive she is inside.

Self-assured police, caught in the events, too brave just to beat down them. The ironic doctor, who secretly considers himself the master of human destinies, is in reality only a pitiful dogmatist, unable to see beyond his nose. 

A great warrior, desperate and courageous, intelligent and decisive, resourceful and strong, can completely abandon all his needs, except for the only one - the need to love and protect, half-matched with his combat mission.

And among all these people, the implacable and invincible android rises as a giant impregnable rock, Terminator, Cyborg T-800. It is furious and pushing through, tactically competent and able to foresee any attempts by pitiful people to stop him, but at the same time, imperturbable outside and with stony calm on his face.


The film about cyborgs THE TERMINATOR - Photo credit: imdb

Is A Robot An Ideal Citizen?

The terminator is a cyborg. Despite that he is human-like, he is a robot, killing machine deprived of all emotion. It is a smart android. Impenetrable and inevitable, driven not by malice, nor by the desire to kill everyone, but simply by the program embedded in it. Powerfully. Intriguing.

Terminator is a perfect fighting machine from the future, absolutely autonomous and, moreover, self-learning. Wherever it goes, it would adapt to the conditions and complete the task. It is strong and durable. If to think, this is just a military dream. It does not ask too many questions and is ready to fulfill any order. It's a perfect soldier.

Terminator is created by the image and likeness of man. Its brain is the CPU. Its senses are sensors. Like a person, the robot has a skeleton, skin, muscle tissue, and blood. It sweats and breathes. It is made so that it is very difficult to distinguish it from a person. And this is the main advantage of the Terminator, and it is also the main danger to people.

The final picture is really scary and involuntarily makes you think. Obsessed with murder, sweeping away everything in its path, crippled, with its legs torn off, the cyborg, in spite of everything, continues to pursue its victim, guided only by its program to eliminate it. And there is no place to wait for salvation. Everything that happens in the film is shown as an inevitability, as a part of fate, which cannot be changed. And even the destruction of the Terminator does not change anything because “The storm is coming” - says the Mexican boy in the final of the picture.

James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd at an event for The Terminator (1984) - Photo credit: imdb

In THE TERMINATOR people in pursuit of armament eventually created artificial intelligence (AI), and the AI came to the conclusion that people often make mistakes and in general they are a weak link in the system and decided to destroy them. To top it off, the artificial intelligence created a Terminator. It is the Terminator that personifies the technogenic development, as well as the replacement for the imperfect person. The film shows one of the possible results of the thoughtless technogenic development of mankind.

Another important question asked in the film: Is it possible to change the course of time and is it possible to change the future? The film unequivocally answers this question - no, it is impossible. Machines wanted to change the future, and people - to prevent them, but the course of those and others was already predetermined. If Terminator had not been sent to the past, there would have been no war; if Kyle Reese would not have been sent to the past — there would have been no leader of resistance from people. It is not by chance that the final battle takes place in a computer factory: The Terminator has come to where everything should have started. The circle is closed.

Intuitively, the Terminator is not bad and not good, it’s just a machine with a clear program. Of course, Terminator is a smart machine, even brilliant, but still losing in some kind to the person. It is symbolic that in the end, people use other machines to destroy the Terminator. Because any machine can serve good purposes - it depends on in which hands it is.

Terminator Franchise: THE TERMINATOR, 1984 Movie Review - Photo credit: imdb

On The Final Note 

James Cameron found a lot of great ideas. Therefore, he is my favorite director, the greatest ruler of human minds and hearts, an immortal genius, and this film, in my opinion, is the best and indisputable testimony of his genius and a unique masterpiece for centuries.

THE TERMINATOR - a masterpiece in almost all respects, the benchmark of the genre. It is a huge leap in the development of cinema in general and fiction in particular. One of the best films in the history of cinema, which can be viewed endlessly.

I recommend everybody to watch THE TERMINATOR despite that the film is already a bit outdated, yet it is neither more nor less than thirty-five years. And those who, like me, have already watched it many times, I recommend to check it again and again, like the smile of Gioconda and the best sculptures by Michelangelo. We do not care that they, too, are already very old. The true art is not a subject of time.

The Terminator is a very influential, smart, thrilling and important film. Arnold Schwarzenegger pulls off iconic lines as well as being perfect as the Terminator.   

Credit: rottentomatoes

My rating: 9.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 100/100
Metacritic: 84/100
Critics average: 89/100
IMDb: 8.0/10

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