“CATCHING UP” #3 – Terminator


Terminator (1984)

James Cameron

After playing Conan for two movies (two more to add to the list, shamefully), muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger played what is arguably his most iconic role: a badass robot from the future. [Make your own joke about him getting elected governor of California here; I used my one in the Twitter Report.]
Featuring memorable lines like “I’ll be back,” and “Come with me if you want to live!”, which have worked themselves into the Pop Culture Phrasebook, this is one I’m really kicking myself for not having seen earlier. I mean, I’ve seen T2 in German, but I’ve only seen bits and pieces of this first film in the Terminator franchise on TV when G4 started airing it.
There’s a bin in my parents’ garage full of Terminator action figures from when I was a kid; I was also addicted to special effects tell-all TV shows as a kid, and they frequently showed techniques used in the first two Terminator movies. I guess it’s time I stopped being a goddamn poser.

-CATCHING UP! Now watching Terminator.
-We start with a grim future, ruled by what appears to be models in stop motion.
-This guy’s vocabulary seems to consist solely of “what the hell?”
-Telescopes are punk rawk!
-Hey product placement. Nice Nikes.
-Oh wow. The future has mullets. No wonder humanity’s doomed.
-I don’t know what’s harder to believe: that that man ran for office, or that he actually won.
-I don’t care who you are or who you’re calling; you never start a phone call with attempted phone sex.
-Best way to pick up a lady? Stalk her. Only difference between then and now is Facebook.
-I’d make fun of her for dancing around with her headphones on, bit let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. Don’t lie. You’re doing it now.
-I can barely make conversation in a bar due to the noise, let alone make a phone call. the 80s were truly a simpler time
-That’s some REAL bad ADR.
-You know, the crazy stuff in TV and movies always happens in NY or LA. I will never move to either. Fuck cyborgs.
-This movie is like the New Testament cranked up to 11. I’d so go back to church if they started reading from the Gospel of James Cameron.
-If you’re going back in time, at least have a cover story.
-Okay, seriously? I don’t do well with the whole eyeball/knife combination.
-Robots on PCP? Sounds like a Warren Ellis story.
-Judging by that one shot, the Terminator’s optical sensors are somewhere between his pecs.
-I don’t know what’d be worse: hearing that you have to raise your kid to be a badass and save the future, or that he’s a d-bag.
-…less stress if he’s a d-bag, I guess.
-For a dream, that seems to be a spot-on depiction of the future.
-“Yeah, I learned to make nitro growing up on Paper Street.”
-Even in the future, men are goddamn oblivious.
-Really? Falling in love with a picture? That really just proves my earlier point about Facebook.
-I’ve never seen a Chinese fire drill happen inside a car before.
-That’s right, you’ll be safest running from the truck in the middle of the road. I sure as hell hope that the savior of humanity learns that
-Ray Harryhausen called. He wants his armatures back.
-I’m not sure whether that factory is frightening or arousing to the terminator.
-All that excitement can’t be good for the baby.
-Oh, pshaw! Time paradoxes are fun to think about.
-And the movie ends with ominous dialogue and a matte painting.

AFTER THE FACT (may contain spoilers):
I’m no huge horror buff. I’m not adverse to the genre. That said, this is probably my new favorite (replacing The People Under the Stairs).
I finally understand the context of the aforementioned famous phrases, and I have to say, I laughed at how “I’ll be back” was actually used more than I should have.
For its time the effects were surprisingly decent. Yes, puppets and matte paintings and stop motion isn’t as “convincing” or “realistic” or “cheap” as CGI, but I sure as hell miss ’em*. Even though it’s twenty-five years old, the climactic chase through factory was still suspenseful; and the crawling, zombie-like, half-a-Terminator was still menacing and terrible in ways that would have given the seven-year-old me awful dreams.
Even more so than the two previous films I’ve watched for “Catching Up!”, I’m really freaking surprised I hadn’t watched this before. What’s better is that I can’t wait to watch it again.

*Shameless plug: Check out “We Are The Strange” by M dot Strange. It’s a crazy, crazy movie featuring stop motion and CGI in a candy-colored landscape that will trick your brain into thinking it’s on drugs. …and he put it on bittorrent himself, so there’s no excuse not to dowload it.

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: