Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Obsession With "The Terminator" Series or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned To Love The Robot

HA! I started this back when Terminator: Salvation was in the theaters. I suck. Sorry! Mame and I will try to get back to regular posting again soon. We've both been so busy! SORRY.

So, there's a new Terminator movie out! Yay! I am a total FREAK for the Terminator movies (Well, for the first two movies, anyway). The way some people are about Star Trek? I'm that way about The Terminator. I first saw The Terminator when I was about 6 years old. It made quite an impression on me and remains to this day, my favorite movie. Unfortunately, I am ridiculously geeky about it and am fiercely protective of the characters. I managed about half of one episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles because turning it off because it didn't fit into my view of that particular fictional universe. I know, I know. (But...BUT!!! John Connor is NOT a whiny little bitch! Kyle Reese did NOT have a BROTHER. Sarah Connor would NOT shack up with Ryan O'Reily, OK.)

Sorry about that. Anyway, The Terminator is a sci-fi action film set in the early 80s. Linda Hamilton plays Sarah Connor, a regular girl with a crappy waitressing job and a jerk boyfriend. (Later in the series, it's stated that Sarah is 19 years old. Which I'll go with that since the movie tells me so, but Hamilton was a good 10 years older than that when they made the film. Just sayin'.) She's not especially tough or ass-kicking. She's cute and funny and nice and has a hilarious 80s shag haircut. But that's about it. But there are two men looking for her, one a giant Austrian bodybuilder (Played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) and the other an intense blond guy a trench coat and messy hair (Paging EGT! More about him later, I promise). Both men are dodgy and heavily armed. We see that the enormous Austrian is killing all the ladies in the phone book named Sarah Connor. This is not looking good for our girl.

So, after many bullets fly and several women mistaken for Sarah Connor are dead, the hot blond guy (Did I forget to mention that he is HOT?) finds Sarah and saves her life. His name is Kyle Reese and he's a soldier sent from the future to protect her. The guy trying to kill her is a Terminator, a metal robot wearing a person suit, also sent from the future. She has been "targeted for termination" because she will give birth to John Connor who will lead the human revolution in the war against the machines. Sarah is understandably dubious regarding this turn of events. But Kyle convinces her and they go on to kick ass, our girl Sarah finding all sorts of reserves of strength and awesomeness that she didn't know she had.

It's SUCH a great movie; tightly plotted, action-packed, well-written and suspenseful. There is not an ounce of fat on this screenplay, everything that is in it is there for a reason. It handles the time travel aspect extremely well and in an innovative way. Also, there is quite a bit of exposition that has to be delivered and I feel like it's done really well. There's tons of information that the viewer needs to know about this particular apocalyptic future and that could get boring fast and it doesn't. As for the Terminator effects...well. It WAS made 25 years ago (DAMN. 25 YEARS AGO?!) and you kind of have to make allowances for that. But the Terminator endoskeleton is still TERRIFYING.

Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese are great characters. Kyle Reese was my first love, seriously, when I was a little girl. He's tough, hot, smart, TOTALLY BADASS and not afraid to defer to a woman or allow her to take charge. (I appreciated similar qualities in another character that Michael Biehn played, Cpl. Hicks in Aliens. Call me, Michael Biehn*!) Kyle protects Sarah and teaches her how to blow shit up, but never condescends to her. It's awesome.

And Sarah Connor. Oh, Sarah Connor, you have been the pinnacle of badass women for over 25 years. You have shown sexually confused girls the way toward happy bisexualism ( I've heard). You are the perfect balance of mother/warrior. That's one of the best things about Sarah. She's not just famous for giving birth to The Legend John Connor. She didn't just gestate him and then hand him over to like, a team of ninjas. She raised him and taught him all his badass robot-destroying skills. And she was just a regular girl before the Terminator showed up on her doorstep. She didn't now how to load a gun or blow up a warehouse or steal a credit card. She learned, taught her son and then he will save the world.

Now, I know some people will insist that Terminator 2 is the superior movie. To those people, I say, "BAH." The effects are superior and they are still pretty damned astonishing. But there're some plot holes there and too much Arnold and it's just, to me, not as good at the first. The third movie was...better than I expected. It's not awesome, but it's not terrible either. There's a really interesting story there about John Connor living off the grid, as a homeless dude because he's totally adrift that his life's mission has been averted. Unfortunately, that's not the story the filmmaker wanted to tell. Alas.

I can't wait for Terminator: Salvation to come out on DVD! Christian Bale and Sam Worthington! WOOOO!

*I met Michael Biehn at a horror con over the summer. I know, I'm a total nerd. It was pretty great. He was really nice and I managed not to be creepy at him. Success!


EG said...

Okay, so you kept saying he was blonde and I was like, "Really? Would we call him blonde?" And then I clicked on the link, and yes, totally blonde. Because I realized that IN MY HEAD HE WAS MISHA COLLINS.

ANYWAY, I never knew the plot to this movie, having never seen it, since it's, you know, a movie. So thank you!

EGT said...

Oops. Totally just left a comment as "EG." I rock.

Auntie Mame said...

You *failed* to mention that Linda Hamilton's IDENTICAL TWIN SISTER was my nurse in the hospital when I was a teen.
I woke up, saw her, leaned over to my mother and said, "I think I'm hallucinating: Sarah Conner is here?" Turns out, her name is Lindsay, she's an RN, and lives two towns over from where Bea and I grew up. Small world.

Andie's Husband said...

"The future is garbagey and blue..."-Andie

"Lady" Bea said...

Misha Collins is not the only man to wear a trench coat, EGT! Nor David Tennant!

And you're welcome for the plot! You should watch the movie sometime! If you ever decide to try those newfangled picture shows.

"Lady" Bea said...

HA! Mame, I forgot about that when I wrote the post! I waited on her at Arby's once!

"Lady" Bea said...

HA, Sid! That was PRICELESS.