Sometimes, a film looks great when it is first released, but falls stale years later. Other times, a film is panned in it’s initial release only to become a cult classic and deemed ahead of its time (we’re looking at you, “Scarface!”). Every week, we will re-watch a film that is at least 15 years old and determine just how good the film would be with today’s standards.
Year Released: 1984
Director: James Cameron
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
Legacy: No. 209 on IMDB’s Top 250
In 1984, Cameron put a whole new twist on David and Goliath. Schwarzenegger, who has since become the most famous bodybuilder ever, stars as the titular character, a cyborg sent from the future to destroy Sarah Connor (Hamilton), the mother of John Connor, the future resistance leader of men against machines. Kyle Reese (Biehn) comes from the future to rescue Connor and stop the Terminator.
The film was a smash hit, generating $78.4 million on just a $6.4 million budget. Since then, four sequels have been made with two more planned to be produced along with a television show that lasted only two seasons despite much fan support.
What makes this film is the storyline, which takes an incredibly fresh look on a biblical tale. The Terminator has no emotion, and therefore will not give into to reason or sympathy. He is on a mission to kill and will not be stopped until his mission is complete. While Reese understands the Terminator’s motivation, even he has no clue on how to stop it.
The one part of the film, however, that fails the test of time is the special effects. Much has changed over the past 30 years and older sci-fi films have suffered because of it. By today’s standards, “The Terminator” looks cheap and fake from the special effect perspective despite being seen as cutting edge at the time.
Upon initial viewing, I was also unhappy with the film’s score, which reeked of ’80s nostalgia, but I softened on this view after remembering that the film does in fact take place in 1984 and therefore the film fits the score.
As a whole, the film is still fantastic. The only real negative that can be pegged on “The Terminator” is that James Cameron outdid himself with the sequel seven years later. Watching “The Terminator” today is still a better option than the many films who have tried to copy it since.
Final Rating: 8/10