Reviewed by: Brett Willis
“The Terminator” series paints a rather bleak picture of the future of mankind. What’s the truth? Is there HOPE for humanity? Answer
Death in the Bible
VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer
|Featuring||Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Rick Rossovich, Bess Motta, Earl Boen|
|Producer||Gale Anne Hurd, Bruce M. Kerner, John Daly, Derek Gibson|
This ground-breaking Sci-Fi film is known as “The role Schwarzenegger was born to play.” Arnold wisely declined the “starring” role of Reese and opted for the title role instead.
In 2029, at the end of a war between humans and a network of AI computers, the computers send a Model T-101 Terminator Cyborg (Schwarzenegger) back to 1984 to change the future by killing Sarah Connor, the mother of the humans’ leader, before he can be born. Since only living things can be sent through time, they send a Terminator covered with living tissue rather than a naked, C-3PO type one. The humans send a Protector back in time, to counteract the Terminator. Who will get to Sarah first?
The film contains several actors who will become James Cameron “repeaters.” Besides the obvious ones, watch for Bill Paxton in a punk hairdo in the opening sequence.
Technical: Compared to Cameron’s later work, including the 1991 sequel, this is positively low-budget. Many of the shootings and car-chases are done with quick cutaways. And the stop-motion animation of the full-body Terminator robot isn’t materially different from that of the skeletons in “Jason and the Argonauts.” My, how we’ve been spoiled since then by CG effects. But Cameron’s eye for developing sympathetic characters within an atmosphere of conflict, and for strong female leads, shows through nonetheless.
Blasphemous Christological Theme: Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) represents both Gabriel and the Holy Ghost; he comes as a messenger to tell Sarah (Linda Hamilton) that she’ll have a son who is to be the savior of mankind (see Luke 1:26-35). He even tells her her son’s name. [Spoiler: He also has something to do with her son being conceived.] And the enemy waits to kill her child as soon as he’s born (Rev. 12:4), if not sooner. This apocalyptic message begins to convert Sarah from a semi-airhead into the warrior that she’s prophesied to be (and that she’s blossomed into in the sequel).
Content Warnings: The Terminator cold-bloodedly kills several people including Sarah’s roommate, two other women named Sarah Connor, seventeen police officers, and assorted innocent bystanders. The profanity is extreme; even the Terminator is programmed to use profanity so he can pass for a human (played for comic relief). There are a couple of simulated sex scenes, one including visible nudity and touching. Some gross-out scenes as the damaged Terminator performs operations on himself. The final showdown sequence was the most relentless of its type ever put on film up to that time, but Cameron has topped himself since then.
I can’t recommend this as good entertainment; but for those who enjoy this type of film it’s “good of kind.”
Followed by: “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991) and “Terminator 3” (scheduled for 2003).