The Terminator

-MGM (1984)

 

 

Summary

An evil kill-bot from the future goes back in time to stop his parents from marrying each other. Wait… not his parents… this other guy's parents… oh never mind.

My Thoughts

The Terminator is one of the few truly great 80s sci-fi films. It was a huge hit when it was released and has become a permanent fixture in pop culture, but is now shadowed by its more popular sequel T2. Despite this, The Terminator still has a lot to offer and has always been one of my favorite films.

I don't know anyone that doesn't know the plot of the film, but here I go anyway. Kyle Reese, played by the ever popular Michael Biehn, is sent to the "present" to stop a super robot assassin from Kyle’s own time from killing a woman named Sarah Conner. Sarah, played by Linda Hamilton, will give birth to humanity's only hope in the oncoming war with the machines. Together Sarah and Kyle do a lot of running away to try and escape the evil robot hunting them down. There are tons of great action sequences that still manage to thrill. There's even some sweet love action for the ladies to help separate this film from the muck of most action adventure fare. After screaming in her face for half the film about death-borgs, Kyle manages to get it on with Sarah, just proving that there's hope for every lonely psycho out there!

There are a few things that date the film like some of the electronic elements in the soundtrack and the hip 80s fashions, but these aren't too distracting overall. The special effects have held up fairly well except for some of the model effects. When Arnold cuts out his damaged eye I don't think it could look any more fake, but it was a nice effort and still looks passable. There's also some fake-looking stop motion animation, but again, the Terminator still looks menacing, even if he's all jerky when he walks.

This DVD edition is awesome. The motion menus are simple yet eye catching. The 5.1 surround mix is fantastic. The original mono mix is not as impressive of course, but it's great to have the original just in case you want to hear what the film sounded like on release. The Terminator seems a little grainy at times, which makes me wonder if the film stock might need a bit of clean-up work, but overall it isn't that bad. If you're not convinced that this edition is worth your time, the case is also shiny!


Grab your favorite beanbag chair, some popcorn, and put in this DVD!


Extras

There's a whole boat-load of extras on this special edition to keep any Terminator fan happy. I'm actually impressed with the amount of extras for this edition and it looks like MGM went out of their way to make sure that this would be a must-have disc.

First of all, the only real negative I can come up with is that it is a two disc special edition, but it comes on a two sided disc. On one side is the film, and on the other are the special features.  This must have saved some production costs, but I hate two sided discs. I'm always worried that I'm going to scratch one side. Regardless, there's a bunch of stuff here, like the rather extensive “Trailers & TV” spots section.

There are also two documentaries included. The first is mostly James Cameron and Arnold  Schwarzenegger talking about the film. The second, one of the best special features on this edition, is the extensive documentary entitled, “Other Voices.” It is simply a must see for any Terminator fan.

Another great feature is the deleted scenes with optional commentary. Most of the scenes are rather ho-hum snippets, but there are some meatier ones as well. In one scene, Sarah tries to get Reese to go on a mission to destroy Cyberdyne before the evil company can cause a series of events that leads to the end of the world. This is an amazing cut scene, because it totally sets up her plan in T2. Another great snippet is at the end of the film. A man picks up the remains of the Terminator's computer chip and gives it to an employee to have R&D check it out. Outside, as paramedics put Sarah in an ambulance, the camera pans up to reveal that the final confrontation took place in a factory that is owned by none other than Cyberdyne systems. This is another direct tie-in to T2 that got my nerd juices flowing.

I'm a fan of the written portion of filmmaking so I was pleased to see that the original treatment was provided for my reading enjoyment. As an added bonus, two drafts of the screenplay are on the DVD Rom bonus features.

To round out the extras, there are a whole slew of production and promotional pictures that are worth taking a look at.

In the end, this is an awesome edition for anyone interested in super killer destructobots from the future.

Score

Film: 8.5

Extras: 9.5

Edition: 9.5

-Paul