Yesterday, this column reviewed "Mr. Peabody and Sherman," a newly-released film with a plot that hinges on the characters' ability to travel to the past and to the future. Over the years, many filmmakers have incorporated time travel elements into their films. One of the most memorable of these is "The Terminator," which was released in 1984.
"The Terminator" begins in a bleak future where much of earth's population has died in nuclear war. A cyborg called a terminator, disguised as a human (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger), is sent to the year 1984 to kill Sara Connor (played by Linda Hamilton), a young, struggling waitress. She will give birth to John Connor, who will become a key figure in the future war. The goal is to kill Sara before she can give birth to John. To protect her, Kyle Reese (played by Michael Biehn), a well-trained human soldier, is sent back to destroy the terminator.
This film was the first successful movie directed by James Cameron. He shows here that he is an expert in creating suspenseful action scenes. In the scene where the terminator first tries to kill Sara, we get hints to the filmmaking prowess that will make Cameron a coveted director. It is sent at a nightclub, and Kyle gets to her just in time to save her. This scene is a good one because before, the audience is unclear if Kyle is a good guy or a bad guy.
"The Terminator" features one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's best performances. His character is a machine, and he talks like one. He is a very scary villain. But there are moments of comic relief as he encounters some of earth's realities.
"The Terminator" is a must-see for any fan of suspense, action, of science fiction. It is the best film of the franchise.