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The Terminator (1984)

 
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:26 pm    Post subject: The Terminator (1984) Reply with quote




Believe it or not, I didn't realize this movie was made by James Cameron until after T2: Judgement Day came out! And I was actually surprised, because this movie really hadn't impress me very much!

Come on, now . . . let's be honest, folks. The Terminator just doesn't have the slick look, the gorgeous photography, and the flawless special effects of T2. The story is great . . . but the presentation looks like a B movie compared to the stunning sequel.

Yeah, yeah, I know — the budget was lower, and the filmmakers did the best they could, so blah blah blah. Rolling Eyes

But hell's bell, I can't like the look of a low-budget movie more just because it would have looked better IF it had a larger budget!

That's like saying your blind date was really pretty . . . except for her big nose, her buck teeth, and her face filled with pimples! Shocked

Still, The Terminator certainly impressed a lot of people more than it impressed me, and the story is very strong. Linda Hamilton is a dynamic actress, and by the time she starred in the sequel, her talent had benefited from her experience.

One thing I find very interesting when comparing these two movies is that despite my life-long love for stop-motion animation, Stan Winston's earnest efforts to create the steel-skeleton robot after the fire burns away the flesh just didn't impress me. Sad

But the robots at the beginning T2 were created with practical effects, and they look much better. Plus the ground-breaking CGI effects dazzled me and won my foolish heart completely.

So, with apologies to all the folks who enjoyed this movie the way I truly wish I had, I'd judge it to be the weakest of all the Terminator movies by quite a wide margin.


__________________ The Terminator - trailer


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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Sun Aug 13, 2023 8:10 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Skullislander
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the intensity and low budget verve of this movie — the sequel is a mega-blockbuster in comparison but I like them both equally for different reasons.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

I posted a fan-made trailer for The Last Starfighter (1984) on the thread for that movie, and the trailer had this amusing message at the beginning.






I wondered just how true the claim at the bottom was, so I made a list of 1980s science fiction films that I thought were good, just to see if that decade really did produce a significant number of “the best” sci-fi movies.

This movie is on the list I made. I know what I like about the film (and a few things I don’t like), but I’d like to hear the pros and cons from the rest of you folks.

So, what do you think, guys? Cool

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Bogmeister
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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_____________________ Terminator Trailer


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It's difficult now to appreciate what an impact this film had on the rest of the eighties and nineties, and continues to have. Witness the new Terminator series, The Sarah Connor Chronicles and the recent 4th Terminator film.

Director James Cameron, in his first real directing feature (he's also credited for Piranha 2 a few years before this), managed to craft a nearly-flawless action thriller on a small budget (about $6 million), with the science fiction elements of time travel and artificial intelligence thrown into the mix.

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I remember the attitudes about this film even before it was released, when trailers were playing in theaters. Audiences laughed at the sight of Arnold, playing some grim killer. Not many were laughing during the actual film. Some still needed to be convinced. When Arnold casually breaks a tough bouncer's hand at the start of the infamous disco scene, I heard a guy in back of me groan in disbelief (c'mon, not even Arnold, playing some weird soldier of the future, can be that tough).

At this point, not everyone was aware of the full story. The big reveal came right after the disco scene, in the back alley, when Arnold's point-of-view was unveiled — a mechanized, robotic view.

I heard the 'ohs' and 'ahhs' all over the theater. This is what thrilling film-making was all about. Or it used to be.





The film managed to throw all these curves at the audience, unnerving them, unbalancing them, and keeping them on their toes. No one can deny this film has a sense of humor when we see, in the beginning, Arnold strolling in the nude towards some street punks (one of whom is Bill Paxton in an early role). It's amusing.

Yet, in the next minute, Arnold becomes the source of a kind of horror and we feel pity for these punks, whom we despised a minute earlier. The film later surprises the audience not once but twice with scenes of carnage at places usually designated as safe — the crowded disco and, even more, the police station.

This was breaking all the rules. I suppose, if anyone could do it, it would be Arnold the cyborg.

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The action was overlaid with a haunting theme of time lost, love, and the absolute danger of ever-advancing science. It all seemed simple at first. Arnold is here from the future on a mission of murder; his target is a young waitress (Linda Hamilton). Another scruffy time traveler (Biehn) is on his own mission; we're not sure what, at first. And soon, events and circumstance spiral into unexpected directions, which sometimes happens when human nature is involved.

Revelations about the dark future of year 2029 are given a poignant allure due to further reveals. Famed writer Harlan Ellison, who wrote his own story about a soldier from the future (see the Outer Limits episode "Soldier"), was acknowledged in the credits after he threatened to sue. Hell, this movie even has a scene of Dick Miller selling guns to Arnold. You can't go wrong with that.

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The sequel was Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), a humongous slick sci-fi action picture which was the most expensive at that time. It was the biggest film of the year and rightfully so: it expanded on the original's themes & story, and was a great thriller itself, using its money and new FX quite well. But, the groundwork was laid here . . . tonight.

BoG's Score: 10 out of 10

Terminator Trivia: OJ Simpson was originally intended for the Terminator role and Arnold was slated for the human fighter (Reese) role; the character of the Terminator had only about 100 words of dialog




BoG
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2020 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

IMDB has 209 trivia items for this movie. Here’s a few of the ones I found the most interesting, in the blue text. Very Happy
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~ Contrary to popular belief, Lance Henriksen was never going to be the Terminator. However, James Cameron based some of his early sketches of the Terminator on Henriksen's likeness.

He also helped Cameron pitching the film's idea to the producers in a rather unique way: He prepared himself for the meeting by dressing up in some leathers, adding a cut on his head and putting gold foil on his teeth. Fifteen minutes before the meeting, he kicked the door to the office in. He then just silently sat there and stared at the producers, which made them gradually uncomfortable. When Cameron arrived, Henriksen left the room.

He later overheard that one of the producers even said "I don't care who you use for the Terminator, not him."


Note from me: This sounds exactly like something the brilliant Mr. Cameron would do to sell his idea. I hope it's actually true.

~ O.J. Simpson was considered for the Terminator, but the producers feared he was "too nice" to be taken seriously as a cold-blooded killer. In 1990 (before Simpson's first trial) Dark Horse Comics printed issues using his likeness.

Note from me: Funny! Macabre as hell . . . but still funny. Laughing

~ Near the beginning of the movie, when Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) receives a message on her answering machine breaking her date, the voice on the machine is James Cameron's. Years later, Hamilton and Cameron got married and subsequently divorced.

Note from me: So, was it sort of a breakup message from the future? One can't help but wonder . . . Shocked

~ James Cameron's original story idea was much more elaborate, and involved Skynet sending two Terminators back in time: the first one was a cyborg that would be defeated by a human also sent back in time (the Resistance actually sent two men, but one was to die during the time travel).

A second Terminator, one consisting of liquid metal that would be able to shape-shift, would be sent by Skynet in response (reluctantly, as it is so experimental that it may alter the past beyond Skynet's intentions).

Cameron briefly considered clay-animation in dark shots to portray this shape-shifter, but he soon realized that the concept was too ambitious for what he could achieve with contemporary techniques. He also knew that his reputation at the time wasn't big enough to sell a story of such scope to a studio, so he used only the first half of it.

When a completely computer-generated special effect proved to be a success in Cameron's The Abyss (1989), he revived the idea of the liquid Terminator for the sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).


Note from me: Cameron is clearly a man ahead of his time. Kind of like a Terminator! Laughing

~ The initial draft for the movie was sold to Gale Anne Hurd, James Cameron's production partner and former collaborator at New World Pictures, for the price of only $1.00.

The symbolic gesture came with a 'blood oath': Hurd had to promise to do everything in her power to get the film produced, but with Cameron as director. She kept her word, and dismissed every studio that showed interest but wanted to ditch Cameron.

He and Hurd would get romantically involved during production of this movie, made Aliens (1986) and The Abyss (1989) together, and were married from 1985 to 1989 (they had separated by the time they made The Abyss).


Note from me: Cameron has been married five times, twice to women he was working closely with on Terminator projects. One can't help thinking that Jimmy boy sort of slept his way to the top! Wink

~ According to a 2008 interview with Lance Henriksen, James Cameron had no agent and was either living in his car or sleeping on the couch of a friend when he wrote the script for the film. Cameron had actually fired his agent because he didn't like the story idea Cameron had conceived for this film.

Note from me: I can't hear the brief phone call from Cameron to his agent. "This is Jim. You're terminated, f*cker!"

~ Mel Gibson turned down the role of the Terminator, simply feeling he wasn't right for the part. After seeing the film, he praised Arnold Schwarzenegger as a much better choice.

Note from me: I'm fan of Mel's work, but having him abandon all his charm and facial animation (as in the Lethal Weapon movies) to play an unemotional machine would be like casting Dolly Pardon as a flat-chested girl with a Boston accent!

~ Science fiction author Harlan Ellison sued James Cameron, claiming that while he hugely enjoyed the film, he felt the story was plagiarized from the two The Outer Limits (1963) episodes that he had written, namely The Outer Limits: Soldier (1964) and The Outer Limits: Demon with a Glass Hand (1964).

The concept of "Skynet" could also have been borrowed from an Ellison short story called "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream".

The suit was settled out of court and newer prints of the film acknowledge Ellison. Cameron has claimed that this settlement was forced upon him by the producers, who refused to support him. He felt that Ellison made invalid and opportunistic claims, and wanted the case to go on trial.

However, the insurance company told him that he would be held personally responsible for financial damages in the event that he lost the trial. Since he was short on money at the time, Cameron couldn't take the risk, so he had no choice but to accept the settlement, a fact that he has always resented.


Note from me: This is typical of Harlan Ellison. Just because two basic premises are somewhat similar doesn't mean the original creator can claim he copyrighted a concept. For God's safe, is there any story that hasn't been influenced by other stories the writer admired? Rolling Eyes

~ The original treatment by James Cameron included the detail that the Terminator needed to eat periodically in order for his human flesh to survive.

A scene is included where the Terminator eats a candy bar, wrapper and all. This detail was incorporated into the script for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), with the Terminator selecting Arnold Schwarzenegger's favorite Austrian chocolate wafer.

When fans learned that a scene had been shot where the Terminator ate chocolate, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative and the scene was omitted.


Note from me: Although I like the concept concerning the "renewal" of the pseudo-body around the robot, I understand the fans' objection to seeing the soulless robot killer suddenly taking a Kit-Kat break! Laughing

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Krel
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a magazine, I think it was "Sci-Fi Universe", when the editor talked about where "The Terminator" came from.

He was working with James Cameron on a movie version of "Second Variety" and the story's sequel "Jon's World" (I think that's the title), that never happened. He said that Cameron got the idea for the Terminator while working on this production.

I've read "Second Variety", but I've never found "Jon's World", although I did find a synopsis. Although neither story is like "The Terminator", I can see where the two stories could have inspired "The Terminator".

David.
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Eadie
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2020 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Variety

Second Variety is a science fiction novelette by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in Space Science Fiction magazine, in May 1953. Set in a world where war between the Soviet Union and United Nations has reduced most of the world to a barren wasteland, the story concerns the discovery, by the few remaining soldiers left, that self-replicating robots originally built to assassinate Soviet agents have gained sentience and are now plotting against both sides. It is one of many stories by Dick to examine the implications of nuclear war, particularly after it has destroyed much or all of the planet.

The story was adapted into the movie Screamers in 1995.

The short story "Jon's World", written in 1954, serves as a sequel.

Translations

German Das Zeitschiff 1986

Italian Il mondo di Jon 1994

French Le monde de Jon 1995

German Jons Welt 2014

Japanese ジョンの世界? [as by フィリップ・K・ディック?
]

Check out http://www.openculture.com/2012/01/free_stories_by_philip_k_dick.html

An alternate title is Job, The Last of the Masters

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Maurice
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
Note from me: This is typical of Harlan Ellison. Just because two basic premises are somewhat similar doesn't mean the original creator can claim he copyrighted a concept. For God's safe, is there any story that hasn't been influenced by other stories the writer admired? Rolling Eyes

Everyone who repeats this story never bothers to check it. Ellison apparently never actually sued: He threatened to file suit, and in part because Cameron reportedly said . . . well here's a decent account of the situation (link).
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2022 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

__________________________________________________

I'm sure I wasn't the only one amused by the IMDB trivia item below, which I first listed in my previous post.
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~ O.J. Simpson was considered for the Terminator, but the producers feared he was "too nice" to be taken seriously as a cold-blooded killer. In 1990 (before Simpson's first trial) Dark Horse Comics printed issues using his likeness.

Note from me: Funny! Macabre as hell . . . but still funny. Laughing
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Krel
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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2023 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James Cameron wanted Lance Henriksen to play the Terminator. Henriksen had starred in Cameron's first movie and Cameron's idea was that the Terminator would look like the survivors, thin and gaunt.

Lance Henriklsen said that he went with Cameron to pitch the movie. He dressed in black leather, wore dark sunglasses, covered his teeth with silver foil, and just sat in the chair, silent, not moving. He said that he freaked out the poor Secretary.

Unfortunately for Lance Henriksen, the studio wanted a name for the Terminator role. As a consolation, Cameron gave him a role as a Detective.

In the third Terminator movie Lance Henriksen was suppose to reprise his role as the Detective who was wheelchair bound because of his injuries in the first movie. I can't remember why it never happened.

Bill Paxton (RIP) was a good friend of Cameron who worked with him at Roger Corman's studio. Cameron was in design and effects, and Paxton was a set dresser.

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2023 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skullislander wrote:
I love the intensity and low budget verve of this movie — the sequel is a mega-blockbuster in comparison but I like them both equally for different reasons.

I watched this movie again today with my nephew, an intelligent young man whose never seen any of the Terminator movies until now!

This is a young man who lives in a house in which he can control various functions with voice commands. His profession is the servicing of the computer systems in the schools of a North Carolina county! He is much more computer savvy than I am.

And yet he simply never got around to the Terminator series because there are so many movies to watch these days!

Fortunately, his awesome home entertainment center gives him access to all the Terminator movies in hi-def — and many others. So, he and I plan to share the Terminator series together on a weekly basis.

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~ The Space Children (1958)
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Krel
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2023 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Concept art by James Cameron for his film pitch with Lance Henricksen as the Terminator.



David.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2023 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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That's a powerful work of art! Cool

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