The Terminator is an action thriller by James Cameron that takes no prisoners.
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn, re-watching this 1984 classic in 2020 is quite surprising. The story, actor performances, cinematography and effects (most of them) all hold up very well today and evoke the desired emotions that are equally effective as they were in theatres in 1984.
The post-apocalyptic opening action scene is fantastic even by today’s standards and sets the stakes early. Failure is not an option. We are then greeted by the wonderfully synthetic, and now iconic, soundtrack by Brad Fiedel.
Arnold’s T-800 Terminator is absolutely intimidating and terrifying in this film! Something that is missing in later instalments of this franchise are the horror and thriller elements that made you clutch the edge of your seat when the T-800 picks it’s target.
This action-thriller is extremely 80’s. It’s so 80’s that watching it retrospectively it feels like a post-modern production to have it stylised. I absolutely love it! This film oozes character.
One of the my all time favourite movie scenes, and one which perfectly showcases this character, is the Tech Noir nightclub and the adjacent Nancy scene.
Sarah Conner hides out in a nightclub (or disco if you’re in 1980) while the T-800 lurks through the crowd like a shark seeking it’s helpless prey. The perfect use of slight slow-motion, the sound design, the music, the production design, and just absolutely everything in this scene evokes the real emotions of an unstoppable force hunting you down until it’s dying moments.
The Terminator is a story that has more significance today than ever with the real life threat of artificial intelligence rather than an abstract idea in the 1980’s during the dawn of digital technology.
If you love action packed thrillers, or an 80’s bug, this film is a must watch!