#23 From the Twitter archives, parts 8A and B: The Terminator
Notes on the first film, plus some further thoughts on how the franchise represents the postmodern condition.
If 1984’s The Terminator has a political subtext it is perhaps the expression of a deep unease about Reagan’s hawkish approach to the reheated Cold War. But by James Cameron’s later standards this subtext is postively subterranean. Consider Avatar. In contrast to the heavy-handed polemical approach he would take with his 2009 film, with this first feature the director wisely chose not to shovel politics down the viewer’s throat. In fact The Terminator is pretty ambiguous. The film isn’t simply anti-technology, since we learn the surviving remnants of humanity have smashed Skynet in the post-nuclear future. Presumably their high-tech future will be bright.
Nice night for a walk
The film is one of slow reveals and defied expectations. Take the scene where a naked Arnold encounters the delinquent punks, the latter wielding chains and flick-knives. Rising crime has conditioned us to fear these types. Despite his muscles, things look bad for the naked fella.
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