The Terminator

The Terminator ★★★★

Terminator feels like one of those little-movies-that-could. Essentially a b-movie elevated by high concept sci-fi, skillful filmmaking and state of the art special effects. Compared to later James Cameron films his breakout hit feels very stripped down and stylistically pure. Focused entirely on its central characters, no comic relief or over indulgent detours and a very serious tone. In many ways the film carries something of a John Carpenter influence in its commitment to tone with simple, but effective cinematography underscored by a synth soundtrack. Not to mention certain similarities between the unstoppable Terminator and Michael Myers. In many ways Terminator feels more like a slasher than an action movie and I love it. I just wish less of the film involved car chases running away from Arnold and more variation, like the police station shootout. I love how much this film relies on visual storytelling first, usually bookending sequences with exposition dumps to make sure the audience got it, but they’re hardly necessary most of the time. And those flashbacks/forwards to the future still look amazing. It’s a shame none of Camerons later films would retain the grittyness of Terminator, because it’s really a gorgeous looking filn