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The Terminator (SE)
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
The Terminator (SE) order
Director:
James Cameron

Actors:
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Michael Biehn
Linda Hamilton

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
From a not-too-distant post apocalyptic world comes a deadly machine hell-bent on eradicating the mother of a man yet to be born, who is to become the savior of mankind in a last gasp fight against the world-dominant computers. Itís 1984 and the world is about to be changed forever. Hang on to your ass and get ready for some gun-totiní action!
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I remember seeing this movie for the first time in the mid-eighties when I visited my godfather in Manhattan. I was 9 years old and was about to be born again. Itís a testament to this film that 17 years after it was made and 25 movies later, The Terminator is still what comes to most peopleís mind when they hear Arnold Schwarzenegger's name. This movie has science-fiction, action, romance, good guys, bad guys, cops, punks and rancid eighties clothing, all fitting into one of the most original plots to come out of James Cameronís over-rated head.

Arnie is fantastic and genuinely scary as the unbelievably relentless T-800 model Terminator, a cyborg sent from beyond to delete Sarah Connor (Hamilton) before she can give birth to Eddie Furlong. Michael Biehn is also very believable as Kyle Reese, a human who follows Arnold into the past to defend the mother of the unborn savior. The dark setting of this movie as well as the special effects, which for that time were simply stunning, help you really get into this one, but the clincher is Arnold himself. This character fits him like a glove and not only do you get to see his rock-hard ass at the beginning, but you get to really admire him for going through almost 2 hours of shoot Ďem up action without showing even one glimmer of emotion.

I am one of those people who actually preferred this installment to the 1991 sequel TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (which was awesome in itís own right) simply because I enjoyed seeing Arnold as a bad guy and at the time, I was happy to finally hear what he sounded like after sitting through both Conan episodes without hearing him say two words. Kids, take my word for it, if youíve been living in a cave for the past 20 years and havenít seen this one yet, I beg of you to put yourselves out of your misery and run (donít walk) to your nearest video store right now!
THE EXTRAS
This DVD is chock full of extras, which you can access through a kick-arse interactive menu. You begin with the usual trailers except you have a few more that usual: a teaser, the theatrical trailer, a foreign theatrical trailer (in English) and two TV spots. Theyíre cool to watch although theyíre a bit cheesier (the music especially) than what youíd expect from the movie, although one has to keep in mind that this film was shot during the decade of cheese.

You also find two good documentaries. The first one, entitled ďThe Terminator: A Retrospective DocumentaryĒ is mostly a sit-down chat between James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, interlaced with some film footage and an older interview with Cameron. Itís pretty standard stuff but it really conveys a genuine enthusiasm that they both felt for this movie.

The second documentary is called ďOther Voices: Back Through TimeĒ and it successfully chronicles the movieís making from beginning to end. Various cast & crewmembers discuss the experience of shooting this film guerrilla style and you really get a feel for how ďinto itĒ everyone got. Thereís a whole segment devoted to the story of how this film was first conceived and how it got off the ground as well as some interesting stories about the casting decisions that were made (poor, poor Lance Henrikson) and all involved talk about some hiccups they encountered during filming. Thereís also the whole explanation of special visual effects and score, which were fascinating and in my opinion, worth infinite times more than any computer generated artifice. The documentary runs a bit long and gets a bit repetitive, but some really good information comes out of it.

You can also find some deleted scenes, which you can play with or without Cameronís commentary. You can really understand why they were left out of the movie because some of them are frankly not very good, but itís interesting to listen to Cameronís reasons for not including them. He really comes off as a smart filmmaker who trusts his audience.

Last but not least, you can find some really cool still pics and a copy of the original treatment written by James Cameron. It goes a long way in showing how the story didnít change much from the time that it was conceived to the time you saw it on the screen.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Fantastic movie and DVD. This is the ultimate re-watch film and with such a great DVD, I strongly suggest a purchase over a rental. The features also take up a lot more time than you could get out of just renting, so if you want to really appreciate the entire package, bring this badass home. For the older crowd, you can reminisce about the first time your dad sneaked it home under your momís guard and let you watch it. The younger of you can appreciate pre-computer filmmaking. Great DVD experience.
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