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Terminator, The

Entry updated 16 February 2017. Tagged: Film.


Film (1984). Cinema '84/Pacific Western/Orion. Produced by Gale Anne Hurd. Directed by James Cameron. Written by Cameron, Hurd. Cast includes Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger. 107 minutes. Colour.

In 2029 CE a vicious Future War between humans and Machines is raging. To ensure their victory, the machines send back a Cyborg Terminator (apparently human, with flesh and blood coating a metal armature and electronic implants) via Time Travel to Los Angeles (see California) in 1984 to murder the mother (Hamilton) of the human leader, thus deleting him from history (see Changewar). The humans send back a man to protect her. Their desperate efforts to escape the inexorable Terminator form the main part of this virtuoso film, which also has remarkably vivid if modestly budgeted sequences of the future war. A virtue is made of Schwarzenegger's rather robotic appearance as the Terminator; when reduced to metal, the still-stalking creature – now an actual Robot – is as designed by Stan Winston (1946-2008), who specialized in convincing, nasty aliens (see Aliens; Predator 2).

A lawsuit against the production company was brought by Harlan Ellison, alleging similarities with several of his teleplays, notably Soldier from The Outer Limits (1964). It was settled out of court and a credit to Ellison was inserted into prints of The Terminator. The novelization is The Terminator (1985) by Randall Frakes and Bill Wisher. The sequels to date are Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) and Terminator: Salvation (2009); a television spinoff is Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009). A franchise reboot was initiated with Terminator Genisys (2015). [PN]

see also: Cinema; SF Music.


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