Contents [ show ] Synopsis The film opens with the depiction of the year —a possible future where mankind has been oppressed by artificially intelligent machines, lead by the rebellious computer system Skynet.
Although The Terminator was not a box office hit, several months after its release the new video rental industry showed what it could do for films that were not big hits in their theatrical runs. Through video rentals the film built momentum and became a cult smash hit, making a national superstar out of Schwarzenegger.
When offered a choice of roles between the heroic Kyle Reese and the villainous Terminator, Schwarzenegger chose to play the Terminator.
As it turned out, this was a career enhancing choice—but one that, as will be seen, Schwarzenegger nevertheless came to have doubts about. Programmed to have creative intelligence and learning capabilities, Skynet succeeds beyond expectations.
Drunk with its own power, and evidently jealous as well, Skynet decides that humans must be exterminated. Through a nuclear conflagration, Skynet is largely successful in this task but, nevertheless, a small group of surviving human resistance fighters threatens to overcome the network.
Having learned of this dastardly intention, the resistance fighters send a human from their group, Kyle Reese Michael Biehnback to the same time period to destroy the Terminator before it can destroy Sarah Conner. Examined from any perspective, this plot presents itself as a colossal absurdity.
Audiences are asked to believe that a computer intelligence superior to human intelligence has decided, among its range of available rational options, that the best plan for defeating the resistance is to send an agent back in time to destroy the mother of the leader of the resistance.
Why would not Skynet, using its supreme intelligence, figure out how to defeat the small and technologically inferior resistance in the more familiar frame of present time than take the chance that by eliminating the mother of the resistance leader it might also inadvertently eliminate itself through an unforeseen glitch in the alternate future created?
The lack of control regarding the unfolding of alternate futures—implicit in the assumption that the future can be changed at all by an alteration of the past—makes the option chosen by the network seem highly desperate if not wholly irrational.
The audience is asked to believe that a state of the art computer has not posed itself the question: What if the Terminator gets the wrong woman? The audience is forced to embrace the convenient but unlikely presumption that the death of these women—not to mention the reckless slaughter of other innocents and the wide swath of wanton destruction the Terminator leaves in his wake—will have no unwanted effects on the new future desired by Skynet.
Much more could be said about the absurdities of the plot, but these shortcomings only serve to illustrate that details of plot must be counted as irrelevant in the search for any real substance in the film.
In the quest for this generic substance Horsley correctly observes, The Terminator is, like Alien, a horror movie with a sci-fi setting.
The psychic liabilities of the slasher genre as an essentially male fantasy are examined elsewhere see here. The mythic progenitor and inspiration for the grandiose apocalyptic twist to the storyline resides in a particular version of the Christ story.
In this version, Satan carries the sins of the world, and Christ substitutes for us in dealing with Satan Christ dies for our sins. In making The Terminator, the director, Cameron, feeling an apocalyptic itch and sensing its commercial potential, may have said something of the following sort to his scriptwriting team: Since the conduit for action is the main objective, the extent to which it is framed in a situation that is contrived, artlessly stitched together, and unrealistic is of comparatively little importance.
The carnage along the path of the conflict is the real show and it will distract the audience sufficiently from any failings in the credibility of the details of the plot.
Offering a thinly developed and contrived plot with excessive emphasis on the accumulation of scenes of graphic violence, The Terminator becomes the violent analogue to a pornographic film—serving up violence much like the porn film serves up sex.
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But however skeletal, confused, and irrelevant the details and logic of the plot may be, the overall structure of the plot remains enormously significant. Just as the plot in a pornographic film may be insignificant in its details, it figures significantly in its structure through the way in which it may orient the attitudes of male and female viewers toward sex and each other.Technically, The Terminator says more than Arnold's 17 sentences, but one is an overdubbed voice of a cop, and the other is in Sarah Connor's mother's voice, when the Terminator was trying to.
The popularity of the Terminator character in the first film is a direct function of the film's success in achieving audience arousal effects with the exceptional emphasis on unremitting sequences of well choreographed, visually . The "Terminator" franchise is a series of time loops that are change somewhat during each iteration -- in this particular loop, Kyle is John's father, but in .
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles features incidental music composed by Bear McCreary. For financial reasons, the main theme of the Terminator film series, originally composed by Brad Fiedel, is featured only briefly in . The Terminator franchise, most notably James Cameron's original films, The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, has had a significant impact on popular culture.
The film franchise placed #17 on the top 25 greatest film franchises by IGN  and is also in the top 30 highest-grossing attheheels.com: List of Terminator comics.
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