The Terminator (1984)

(Second viewing, On DVD, June 2003) Once you see beyond a few dated special-effects shots, this movie holds up amazingly well almost two decades later. This first instalment in the series looks good for its low budget and presents, almost in a nutshell, all the ideas that would later pop up in the sequel. Arnold Schwarzenegger looks too young (and has too much hair), but ably demonstrates his star qualities in a role that seems almost custom-built for his (limited) talents. Linda Hamilton is adorable as the fluffy Sarah Connor and the eighties setting now seems almost emblematic rather than dated. The Special Edition DVD presents plenty of extras, including fascinating deleted scenes (further showing the way to the second film) and a revealing look behind the scenes of Cameron’s “true” first film. We may be tempted to see this film merely as the first volume of a series but it’s actually quite good as a standalone film of the era.

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