The Terminator (1984) from Tuna

I am sure all of you know about it, but Big Arnold plays a terminator android sent from the machines of the future to kill the woman who is the mother of the human who defeats them. The father also comes back to save her. Of course, while he is there, Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton have sex, which is how Michael's father is conceived. I don't know a lot about time travel, but I don't see how the son could exist in the future if his parents had not yet made nice-nice in the past, but maybe I am too picky.  
I didn't like this film as much as most people do, but Sci Fi action is not my favorite genre. They did a good job with Arnold, since his English skills were still developing, and he had not yet learned to act. They gave him zero personality, and the ability to mimic other people's voices, so most of  his difficult dialogue was looped in post production by the other cast  members.

I must be the only one who was not impressed, as Maltin's 3 1/2  stars is typical of the critical response. 

The DVD is loaded with special features, but the transfer is a little dark and grainy.


Linda Hamilton's breasts are seen. 

The love scene is dark, and a post prod blue filter was used to darken it further. 

Scoop's notes:

Tuna seems to hate time travel as much as I hate vampires. I have to agree with him in the sense that time travel paradoxes never make any sense. The mere act of your going back to the past may upset the balance of circumstances that enabled inventors to create time-travel devices. Oops! But if you do that, you couldn't have gone back, could you?

On the other hand, you can argue that no matter what you do in the past, it can't change anything, since the past already contains the fact that you visited it from the future. In fact, it already contains a complete record of how it turned out, so why bother going? Just read the history books. But if you don't go ... it won't be there. The really tricky thing would be to read the history books, find out that they had a visit from you in your century, and you really screwed some shit up. Then try NOT to go!

Talk about predetermination! 

Obviously, there can be no going back in time. What's past is past. So you have to suspend your disbelief and accept whatever loony premise they shoot at you.

I guess the film opens up the question of which sequels were better than the original.

  • Terminator 2 (8.0) is rated above The Terminator (7.8) at IMDb, and I'd agree. 
  • Road Warrior (7.5) is clearly a better movie than Mad Max (6.9)
  • I believe that The Godfather, Part 2 (8.9) is a better film than The Godfather (9.0), but the IMDb has the original slightly better (and the best of all time, therefore tough to beat)
  • I am more impressed with The Empire Strikes Back (8.6) than with the first Star Wars (8.8), but once again, as with the Godfathers,  the original is way up there, and it's more a case of "about as good as"
  • Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan (7.4) is clearly far better than Star Trek, the Motion Picture (5.5), but that wasn't a very high hurdle to clear. They basically beat it when they removed the lens cap.


DVD info from Amazon.

  • special edition, new stereo audio mix

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • deleted scenes

  • two recently made documentaries, including James Cameron interviews

There are probably many more that you can tell me about.

It is rare, indeed for a #3 to be better than the original, although The Search for Spock is better than "ST, the MP". Again, that is a statistical outlier, because of the unique circumstances. Most movies have sequels because the movies themselves are good, while ST had sequels for other reasons. Thus, in most cases, the original sets a high bar over which the sequel must pole-vault. In the case of ST it was more like jumping over a limbo bar.

Good movies have rarely produced a good number 3. Return of the Jedi was a large drop from the others, as was Godfather 3. Thunderdome is certainly nothing to write home about. 

Number Three in a series can often be better than number two (The Dream Warriors comes to mind), but to my immediate recollection, there is no case where #3 has beaten both #1 and #2. Terminator 3 comes out in about a year, trying to break the curse. 

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.8, just out of the all-time top 150 
  • With their dollars ... took in $36 million on a $7 million budget
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, I say C+ for a popular genre film. 

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