Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Phased-Plasma Rifle In the Forty Watt Range

We’ve been enjoying the Sarah Conner Chronicles here at Casa de Swinebread, but my SO was having some trouble with the context of the show. She couldn’t really remember the movies and to make matters worse, FX had been showing Terminator 3 over and over again, which is totally ignored by the TV show, so she was confused even more. It’s been a while for me too for that matter.

Freddy’s was having a DVD sale so I picked up the first Terminator movie for seven bucks and we watched it this last weekend. I gotta’ say, Man, what a great piece of Sci-fi fun! I’m really getting CG’ed and kungfu-ed out, so it was nice to watch something made on a smaller budget with straightforward action. In fact, by today’s standards the look of movie seems almost grindhouse, but that's part of the appeal IMO. After all these years, I still enjoy the performances and I also realized I prefer Arnie as a robotic killing machine rather then a sympathetic hero (or Governor?). My SO really enjoyed the film too and the whole Sarah Conner and Son thing was finally cleared up for her.

Since we’ve gotten some chorological distance from ‘80s, I’ve noticed another aspect of the film I don’t think I could have recognized when I was younger. The Terminator is also a horror film of sorts. Think about it. A mindless killer, that can’t die, keeps coming back over and over. Sounds like any number of slasher flicks from the 80s and 70s to me. But this film works much better than any Slasher flick because it actually has a plot and an inventive use (for the time) of sci-fi tropes. Who, isn’t bored by the dumb ingénue that’s alone in the dark, but with Terminator, it could be night or day with lots of people around and the killer is still there chasing you. I feel the film also taps into fears of gun violence, which is much more of a real concern than a guy cutting you up in your dreams.

So, after all this time and all the special effects that have come down the pike, I like the first one the best. The Terminator is an excellent science fiction film and maybe that’s because the one-liners are actually delivered by a “robot.” This picture is also different too, because motherhood is seen as a strength and the brief romance between Sarah and Kyle is must if humanity is to survive. In fact, the only thing I don’t like about this film is Sarah Conner’s hairstyle… that’s one part of the eighties that didn’t age every well.


On a side note, Dynamite Entertainment is currently doing a 4-issue crossover between their Painkiller Jane and Terminator 2 Infinity comics and it's surprisingly entertaining. We get a strike team invading Skynet, John Conner in command, and another Terminator randomly sent into the past. The first two issues are out now with last two next month.



Eaglewing said...

T1 and T2 are a couple of my all time faves. T3 sucked except for Arnie, but the first two are solid and hold up today. I'm burned out on today's CGI as well, so its great to rewatch some old fashioned stunt work.

Haven't checked out the TV series yet. Heard they went with a whiny emo John Conner, and I lost interest.

And hey, if we live long enough, every style will come back around. Everyone will be sporting Conner hair in 2085. Imagine that.

Randal Graves said...

I wholeheartedly concur. The first one was a brilliant action flick and the second was one of those rare sequels that was actually good.

Interesting angle on the horror elements. Despite my love of horror flicks, I've never really thought about it, but you're right. A mechanical Michael Myers, yet light isn't a deterrent to the mayhem.

Arkonbey said...

I agree with the consensus on T1. It has aged remarkably well. You're right, it is as much of a horror film as it is a sci-fi film.

T2, however, is pretty good, but not among my top ten.

The suckiness of T3 is without a doubt.

What is interesting is the messages I got:

T1: Destiny is possibly changeable
T2: Destiny is definitely changeable
T3: Destiny is unchangeable. Sucker.

pissed off patricia said...

Having seen none of them due to the fact that I'm not into blood and guts kind of things, I'll just sit here and eat the popcorn. :)

Don Snabulus said...

I saw T1 and I am pretty sure T2, but not T3. I do, however, remember Linda Hamilton remarkably well.

T4 is, of course, the endorsement of John McCain, where the entire world becomes a giant Linda Hamilton and McCain is the phased plasma rifle.

Dean Wormer said...

Funny, I just watched T1 recently. My son is the age when I'm starting to share all these R rated flicks that I loved when I was younger. I'm getting a real kick out of watching him discover them. We've watched the Terminator films, Robocop, Caddyshack, etc.

I think you nailed T1 perfectly. It is more of a horror flick and Arnie only has a couple of lines in the whole movie. The tone is completely different than the last two movies in the series. A LOT of innocent people get killed in this movie and Cameron isn't afraid to have that happen on camera.

Cameron did the same thing with T2 that he did with Aliens in that he changed it into more of an action movie than a horror film. It works for the most part but I think the kindler, gentler Terminator also translates into a film in which there's less of a sense of menace.

T3 is an interesting movie because it's an action flick without much action. Other than the crackerjack firetruck chase scene in the middle of the movie there's not much more big scale action. I'm sure it had an obscene budget but you just don't see that on screen.

Doctor Smoke said...

I have only ever seen T2 (I've got it on really old videocassette) and I loved it.



Arkonbey said...

just a comment about the Painkiller Jane covers:

Boring. They look less like a human battling for her life with a relentless cyborg than two fashion models towards the end of an all-day shoot; bored and apathetic.

Swinebread said...

EW – Your thoughts are reflective of mine, and T3 was awful although I did like the Female terminator to some extent, but I couldn’t stand the plot or all the actor changes, and what hell was up with killing off Sarah off screen?

I think emo is a too strong a word to use for John. He’s just being a typical teenager IMO. Well, a typical teenager that robots are trying to kill. The focus is mostly on the Sarah character where it belongs.

Randal – It’s been a long time since I watched T1 so the horror aspect just popped out at me this time while when I was younger it seemed like a straight up action flick.

Arkonbey – you nailed it!

POP – yeah that’s a tough one, although there’s not as much gore as a typical horror film T1 does have a high body count like a war movie, which in some sense T1 is that style as well.

Snab – T1 and T2 is all you need.

Dean – that’s why T1 is my favorite. Although well done I just didn’t like the nice Arnie as much as the killer Arnie. As for what Cameron did to the franchise, I agree. Maybe he should have made the 3rd film. It’s cool that dean jr. is getting to see all these films now!

Dr. S – You should check out T1, it’s a good film and it’s interesting to compare T1 with Robocop as Robo was made just three years later.

Arkonebey – lol, I kinda’ thought they looked like they were dancing. ☺

Arkonbey said...

every time I've seen this post, the 'Terminator Theme' goes through my head. That drum/banging on bits of metal sound:

ChunChunChun Ch-Chun!
ChunChunChun Ch-Chun!

Swinebread said...

it's a good one and makes a nice soundtrack for an RPG session

cool new avatar

Nick said...

Something I always wondered personally.....why they never had Dolph Lundgren as a Terminator later on....seriously, the guy seems made for the role of a Terminator....maybe they will later on in the show...there are after all a couple more eps left.

Dr. Zaius said...

Sarah Conner in T2 is one of my favorite girls with guns!

Swinebread said...

Nick – Arnie was just so connected to the series that the idea of anybody else being a big terminator was out… I always wanted to see other actor play a T-800. We finally get that in the new TV show.

Dr. Zaius – Me too… Although, I think I like Ripley better…