The Terminator probably would’ve made the list based solely on its visual effects, but thankfully it became a huge box office hit in the process, and thus we were graced with a new hit franchise from the well-regarded director of Piranha II: The Spawning. James Cameron is a legendary name nowadays, and it all started with this classic sci-fi that made the names of everyone involved, from Cameron to Schwarzenegger to even Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn.
The visual effects for this film were groundbreaking for the time, and despite a few technical glitches in the presentation, they hold up surprisingly well, especially the practical effects with the Terminator operating on itself. The rest of the film feels rather dated, however; there’s a very 1980’s feel to it, as entertaining as it still is. Schwarzenegger’s rather wooden acting skills were perfectly suited to play a half-man, half-machine, and it’s still suffice to say that he absolutely nailed it, albeit with minimal effort on his part it seems. I hadn’t seen this in a while, but even the first time I saw it, I was a little surprised by Sarah Connor. For a woman who claims herself to be rather smart, she takes to the whole “I’ve come from the future to save you from a cybernetic human-machine” story rather quickly. That and the film does very little to set up the romantic relationship between Connor and Kyle Reese before it happens, but in a film like this, we are much more willing to suspend disbelief, especially during the highly technical ending sequence.
I don’t think I’ve met anyone who hasn’t seen this one, but if you haven’t, you’re missing out on not just a cultural milestone film, but a pretty good one as well. Make the time to see this, and the sequel (which I’ll get to in a bit), if you have yet to; you’re missing out on a hell of a lot, and you owe it to yourself. Cameron’s career only went up from here, and he started off on a high note to begin with.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10