The Terminator

Published December 9, 2009

The Terminator

Film info

  • Title The Terminator
  • Director James Cameron
  • Year 1984
  • Run time 1hr 47m
  • Genres Thriller, Science Fiction, Action
  • Tagline Your future is in its hands

A cyborg (part man, part machine) is sent from the 21st century to present-day Los Angeles to assassinate a seemingly innocent woman whose child will play an important part in the world from which the killer came.

Live blog

Time Comment
0:55 Ooh, 2029. I love films that have such a distant future that is now actually not that far away.
2:58 Someone gets a special mention for the Terminator’s individual effects? They must be good.
4:52 Goodness me, is there ever a need for naked Arnie?
7:03 Whoever that is doesn’t seem to have handled the transition quite so well.
8:11 That is really bad 80s keyboard music.
13:40 That could be a new motto for life: “In 100 years, who’s going to care?”
14:54 What does sawing off a shotgun actually do?
23:52 A lizard called Pugsley? Really?
43:13 He’s kinda handsome, I’d do what he says.
55:55 Films where people take out their own eyeballs should come with a HEALTH WARNING.
59:46 That’s the “I’ll be back?” Somewhat underwhelming, I gotta say.
1:06:06 I’ve decided he’s not so dishy. He didn’t offer his her coat or anything.
1:13:33 If life was like that, I’d offer to travel through time too.
1:13:55 He gave her his coat! Yay!
1:17:07 Of course the only thing to do when you are being chased by a crazy terminator fella is to divulge your whereabouts.
1:21:18 So, he’s going to turn out to be the father of John Connor, I see that. Isn’t it going to be some kind of paradox?
1:22:15 I’m not an expert on being chased by a Terminator, clearly, but I think all that kissing and stuff might let your guard down a bit.
1:31:57 Worst animated robot ever! For this they got a special credits mention?
1:37:05 Umm… now I feel bad for going on about the coat business.
1:42:50 It would be better if she didn’t tell him anything then the decision would be easy.


The Terminator was another iTunes 99p Film of the Week, and Mr C’s eyes lit up when I told him so. It was clear that this was going to be next film, and considering all I know is the “I’ll be back,” line, I was curious.

Despite the fact that this film is so very dated, and the special effects are nothing to write home about, it did strike a chord with me. The time travel element was good. However, I got a bit bored by the ‘just won’t die’ element of the Terminator. A bit like the slasher films when they always get back up again. Still, I’ll put Terminator 2 on my list.

Revisited - December 2014

Despite the amount of grief I got for my criticisms of the film, I stand by it on a second viewing (five years after the first, where the heck has that time gone?). I really enjoyed it, probably more than I did the first time, right up to the point where they ruined it with the cartoon robot. And it’s not that the effects are bad, because there are plenty of dated effects throughout the film that are fine because they fit. It’s that the robot is so jarringly different and unbelievable that I have a hard time taking it seriously.

Watching it this time with Mr C was better, because he pointed out that it’s a frame rate issue that really makes the robot Terminator struggle to blend in. When there are the close ups and animatronics instead, they are perfectly acceptable, good in fact.

In more positive news, I thought the death scenes were really well done. Good use of shots so as not to show the gore in too much detail, but show the effects brilliantly. Like biting his hand, you see the beginning of the bite, then you see the blood on her mouth and you put two and two together. Expertly done. On a second viewing, I think Reese is more handsome than ever, and that’s actually saying quite a lot because it’s not often you find anyone being particularly attractive in the eighties.

I also thought the heartbeat that accompanies the Terminator around was fabulous. The music is pretty good really, if you can accept the dodgy eighties keyboards that sometimes appear. The threatening heartbeat sound was perfectly chilling in exactly the right places.

So to sum up, I think the film without the last few scenes is worth a 4 out of 5, but I still can’t go above a 3 because fuzzy cartoon Terminator really, really bugs me.

(Additional note: If you don’t mind amusing not-to-be-taken-to-heart criticism of films, I enjoyed this video: Everything wrong with The Terminator in 6 minutes or less.)

Rating: 3 / 5

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