Deep Dive - The Terminator
Updated: Nov 24
Film: The Terminator
Release Date: October 26, 1984
Rotten Tomato - TOMATOMETER: 100%
Rotten Tomato - Audience: 89%
Opening Weekend: $4,020,663
Gross US: $38,400,000
Gross Worldwide: $40,000,000
Synopsis: A seemingly indestructible android is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.
Analysis: This film paces out perfectly. Not only is its foundation built off of a giant chase sequence, but they take the perfect amount of breaks for the audience to catch their breath as they build context about time travel. They throw a ton of fancy smancy words at the audience, but they keep the main beats simple enough for the audience to know what's going on.
Analysis: Killer robots. Time Travel. Future Savior of Mankind. They are throwing a lot at Sarah Connor in this film. For as wild as this plot is, nothing about Linda Hamilton's performance feels over the top. She takes on every twist and emotion with a certain level of realism. This makes her journey from innocent bystander to a badass Terminator slayer believable for the audience.
Bio: The T-800 Terminator was Skynet's first cybernetic organism, with living tissue over a hyperalloy endoskeleton. This made it Skynet's first successful Infiltrator unit, capable of infiltrating the Resistance.
Evil Plan: Travel back in time to eliminate Sarah Connor, who would ultimately mother John Connor, the future leader of the Resistance.
Analysis: Every time I think back to this character I'm reminding of his arc in the sequel. Rewatching this film I'm reminded how truly terrifying the original version was.
Hold onto your butts
Dr. Cash Grab
Analysis: Ginger Ventura was out of control in this film. Tricking people into talking to an answering machine. Doing LITerally everything while blasting her walkman. Threatening iguanas..but I digress. Kyle Reese is amazing in this movie and his chemistry with Sarah Connor is great. Every other character has a limited runway, but does a nice job moving the story along.
Analysis: Any time a film's foundation is built off of time travel it's standing on a slippery slope. One plot hole can unravel the whole thing. This film didn't just play around with the idea, they went all in. The main plot of Kyle Reese going back in time to protect the existence of John Connor is a cool idea. Creating a perfect time loop that Kyle Reese is the reason for John Connor's existence is a brilliant idea.
Apparently the only footage of this scene online is in Spanish, but it will not be let go. Fast forward to the 1:35 mark in this video. What a savage move by this little brat.
Come with me if you want to live
Not too shabby for '84
I want my phone call
Analysis: The success of the of sequel may overshadow how great this movie is. Sure, there are some elements that feel dated upon rewatch. Any movie set in the prime of the 80's is going to have its own type of style. There were also a few wide shots of the T-800 that they could have done without to help. That being said, every other part of this film fits together perfectly. It's incredible the world building they did in a single movie, yet still found a way to tell a perfect singular story.