The Terminator (Blu-ray)
A naked cyborg is sent back 40 years in time to the year 1984 with one objective: Terminate Sarah Connor. With three Sarah Connor’s in the phone book, the cyborg starts killing the Sarah’s in alphabetical order to verify the mission complete. Unknown to the cyborg, a soldier by the name of Kyle Reese has also been sent back (naked of course) to protect Sarah. Why all the hubbub over Miss Connor? Unknown to her she will one day give birth to a son who will become a revolutionary leader in the human’s fight against machines. Will the cyborg’s mission be a success? Or will Reese be able to protect Sarah?
The first in the growing franchise, THE TERMINATOR is a classic. With special effects that were once considered groundbreaking, awesome costuming, romance, and action, this picture’s got it all. Watching it almost 30 years after its initial release, the effects feel dated and a bit cheesy, almost making the viewing experience more enjoyable. It is slightly nostalgic, seeing how far filmmakers have improved over time. Parts that terrified me when younger did not make me cover my face this go around. But I cannot help but get creeped out at the skeleton cyborg with red eyes and an eerie smile or the machines driving over skeletons and skulls when we are flashed forward to the scenes in the future. I guess there are still some elements that will not go away with time.
One thing I realized while watching THE TERMINATOR was how much I like Michael Biehn as an actor. He really does a fantastic job as Reese. But I laughed out loud when he expresses his feelings toward Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton)… why does he sound so angry? That moment aside, as a rugged and rough soldier from the future, he holds his own when arguing with cops during his interrogation. He makes the action moments entertaining and you cannot help but root for him as he risks everything to save Sarah. Linda Hamilton’s Connor is so great! I love the doe-eyed naïve and soft spoken character she plays in this first film; perhaps because I know how wonderfully her character develops in the second picture in the franchise. When Sarah realizes there is a spree of murders and all the victims share her name, she freaks out perfectly.
Of course, one cannot say TERMINATOR without thinking of a gun wielding, sunglasses and leather jacket wearing Arnold Schwarzenegger. As the cyborg terminator, Arnold balances his character’s blank robot emotion with great intensity and focus for his mission. Though there are only a handful of moments when he speaks, I think those are some of the best one liner’s. I especially enjoy the iconic “I’ll be back” phrase he delivers before crashing into the police station. That is a brilliant moment on several levels. The majority of the special effects are in relation to his character. Getting glimpses of the mechanical skeleton through his torn flesh on his forearm, or seeing the prosthetic face with the eyeball being removed really make me squeamish but I can’t help but delight in those scenes.
THE TERMINATOR is one of those films that no matter how dated it might feel, in the end it is a fun action flick that delivers every time you watch.
Video (1.85:1): Good transfer to Blu-ray.
Audio (5.1 Dolby Digital): The action scenes were perfectly loud but in a few dialogue driven scenes I found it hard to hear what Sarah and Reese were whispering.
Creating the Terminator: Visual Effects & Music (12:58): Interesting stories from both the teams who created the visual effects and music that help round out this picture.
TERMINATOR: A retrospective (20:31): Starting with a trailer for the film, this feature includes a variety interviews with James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The two share some entertaining stories about the filmmaking process.
Terminated Scenes (Approximately 10 minutes): Seven deleted scenes without a play all button. The filmmakers were wise to cut these scenes, especially the one where Sarah fights back.