I've seen the second Terminator many times already - the one you might consider the best of all, figured it was time to give the true original a chance too, and all these years later - forty years exactly real soon - it still holds!
The story itself's an age-old one, both timeless and relevant now more than ever - and more and more with each passing day. The fact that it came out in 1984 isn't lose on me either. The action's gritty, the soundtrack's memorable, and the scripting's good. It flows well. It explains well. It breaks the pace occasionally, but never long enough it doesn't still feel panicked - as it should when there's a merciless cyborg from the future on the chase (a theme for many a B-movie both before and after this - just goes to show how well they made this one when not once does that feel like a joke).
The special effects aged well too (if there were any? Maybe they're real effects? The props aren't always as ageless as the effects - you spot the transition when Arnold's working on his eye all too easy - and there's plenty of stopmotion involved at the end - but it does look good enough to not destroy the experience overall), and the typography, the title screen... everything's thorough. Although most at the start. After a while it's not all as authentic-looking, even if it's still great. The angles are great. The beads of sweat, spay of gasoline, the blood falling in the water...
Brad Fiedel composed some truly iconic music for this too! I thought Carpenter scored this - seemed psychedelic enough to be his style. Plus the same era.
And props Harlan Ellison for the backstory - at least certain inspirations of which they based these movies.
I'm really close to giving this a top score, but it's not all the way there after all. It is initially. For its time it still is a friggin' masterpiece - and though the moments in present time are the ones I enjoy the most - I'm especially impressed with how well they manage making the flashbacks so seamlessly dystopian and futuristic. There's not a prop to be spotted there. It looks raw. It looks real.
It's a glimpse into the future that'll make you appreciate what you got, too. The fire in the TV's a nice touch.
I'm impressed with the transitions, and the cast, the chase, the commotion, how well they manage to build the atmosphere and sense of despair that stays with you for the full duration of the film... it's almost friggin' awesome all the way.
Iconic film. Compared the second one... Arnold one really is almost not Arnold after all. So cold. In some ways this probably was better than the second. Burning his eyebrows really makes him look all the more a machine, and the scene where he's surveying the scene from the cop car, and faking voices - a simple trick to do but ohmygawd the chilling effect that gives! They were ahead of their time there too. I could go on but...
rated 4.5/5: almost awesome
I probably will watch this at least once again way down the line too.
Hope it still holds then.