AI week starts with a look back at the 1984 James Cameron classic THE TERMINATOR. Set in a dystopian future where machines have taken over the world, and the remnants of humanity are fighting for their survival, the film follows a cyborg assassin (Arnold Schwarzenegger) sent back in time by rogue defence network Skynet in order to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the mother of a future resistance leader and key to humanity's victory. Along the way, Sarah is protected by Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) a human soldier sent back in time to prevent the cyborg from completing its mission.
THE TERMINATOR blends genres masterfully, being equal parts action, sci-fi, horror, and slasher. It has iconic characters, thought-provoking themes about the dangers of technology, and the concept of fate, and features groundbreaking special effects and model work. The movie immediately establishes a tantalizing world that future franchise entries will explore to varying degrees of success. Linda Hamilton is convincingly wide-eyed as her character transforms from an overworked waitress to a tough survivor, but it's Arnold who steals the show with his impressive acting chops (and I say that sincerely). Fun fact: the role of the Terminator almost went to a number of surprising contenders, including OJ Simpson, Nick Nolte, and Tom Selleck.
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Sidey: AI stuff. We're doing all kinds of AI stuff this week, and we're kicking that off with the Terminator 9 19 84, the Terminator.
Reegs: 1984. Yeah. 1985. 1984. Hang on. That is terrible. The first question, and I've got it wrong. and I even used an AI to help me in my research side.
Sidey: Same here, because I've been actually using AI to become even more lazy by getting into the bits of my work for me. And so we thought it might be amusing slash just interesting for us at least to find out what we could get AI to do for the podcast this week.
Reegs: Yeah, it's a bit experimental, I would say. So, we've got chat. G p T is sort of here along with us. That's open AI's artificial intelligence language model. And it's gonna be assisting us throughout this review and the main sort of weekly show. that's coming up, so that's quite interesting.
But yeah, I didn't do enough to tell me what year the fucking movie was made in 1980.
Sidey: this I, when I think back is probably the. The film that most focused my mind on there being a thing like ai. Obviously you've seen AI in films before, but this was the first one certainly with the like evil, you know, malevolent AI taking over the world type scenario with Skynet.
Reegs: Yeah, that is the premise. Absolutely. The premise of this movie, you know. Deposits, a world where the machines have already, the, the machines, the artificial intelligence, Skynet, which a rogue defense network that became self-aware has already lost the conflict and is in fact sending back a a assassin through time to stop the leader of the human resistance from ever being born.
So that's really the core of the movie.
Sidey: And it does it, the movie. In an interesting way because we see like lightning and a ball of energy and people being transported or certainly arriving in New York, I wanna say, and it's kind of unclear which one's the goody and which one's the baddy at first, there's an ambiguity
Reegs: yeah, absolutely. Watching, watching this movie this time round. It's really clear how James Cameron, this was I think his second movie on after the classic Piran two. And he definitely sets up the notion that you don't know who you're supposed to be rooting for until a good way into the movie.
Reegs: but yeah, we see first of all actually we see some sort of futuristic war type stuff and that incredible intense dun dun dun soundtrack from former Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hot Goalkeeper, Brad Friedl. Oh, no, no. Brad Fidel the the iconic soundtrack guy. But yeah. And then that amazing logo comes up, the Terminator, and then we're thrown Yeah, into Arne I think is the first one we see naked and eventually come, coming, coming to a group of thugs, one of whom is Bill Paxton.
And he obviously asks for their clothes, which becomes a. Thing in, in the movie, he's kind of, the terminator is kind of like a reverse flasher cuz he starts off
Sidey: He, he, he appears
Reegs: Yeah. And then he wants to get himself clothed. So
Sidey: Yeah. Well, he is got quite the physique. He really ought to show it off for a little bit longer.
Reegs: yeah, Arne is absolutely prime here. And I dunno when we're gonna get into talking about what a perfect match of sort of actor and role this was. Maybe now is the time
Sidey: Yes, it's good times any, I mean, it's nyon perfect
Reegs: Yeah, and I think it's the role that comes to define Arne and obviously is as it becomes as you, as you find out a little bit about how the film was made, he wasn't even gonna play it, which just seems so incredible. It was gonna be at least three or four other actors who were up for the par. OJ Simpson was the closest to getting it, but audiences wouldn't believe he was a cold-blooded killer.
So that's why he didn't get the.
Sidey: The irony.
Reegs: works that way. Yeah. But yeah, it's really perfect in the role isn.
Sidey: Yeah, I mean, he isn't, you know, from the raw Shakespeare company, and so you can be unkind about his acting chops and other stuff. But this, playing a, a robot in effect, and it works because you're not, you know, it's not a nuanced
Reegs: I think it is hard to be sort of cold and implacable like that. And there are certain scenes where you see him like in the car and as he's driving, he's sort of scanning and you can almost see that occurring and you know, he is. So, I do think genuinely this is a really strong acting performance from Arnold Old. So he rips off Bill Paxton's clothes, not actually Bill Paxton's clothes. I think he throws him one way, some other guy or another, and the final guy just starts taking his clothes off real quick to, to give it to him. And then we get Kyle Reese as well. The same sort of thing happening for him. I think we get one of those scenes that you don't get so much in movies these days, but used to be a real.
Staple of the action movie, which is where a drunk, homeless guy sees something incredible and kind of rubs his eyes like, oh my God, what did I just see? As, as, as Reese arrives from the future as well in a ball of naked lightning.
Sidey: Yeah, he goes to, I think he goes to department store, doesn't he? And, and steals a lot of
Reegs: Yeah. Some really slick knights.
Sidey: yeah. And he, he's like, got a trench coat and a, a shotgun. He is kind of hiding in his, in his jacket and he, he looks, you know, he looks like a crim. He does,
Reegs: He improvises a a so off shotgun doesn't, he takes the stock and the barrel off. And then How does he get so, so obviously the Terminator starts, basically goes to a phone book, finds, starts looking through the names, find Sarah O'Connor and starts offing the, these women one by one in the order that they are in the phone book.
Sidey: Yeah. And so, and we are introduced to our Sarah Connor who's, who's a waitress. She's she's got a date I think lined up for. Or is it her
Reegs: it's her inmate.
Sidey: roommate's got is gonna have sex and so she's basically gotta leave the apartment.
Reegs: She, she, her roommate's, boyfriend, phones, and she intercepts the call and
Sidey: that's right. Yeah,
Reegs: it and he's like talking all dirty and then doesn't realize he's got the wrong girl. And then he starts the exact same spiel up again. Anyway, she's got Pugsley, the iguana, I think is probably the main thing I
Sidey: that's right. Yeah.
Reegs: from that scene.
Yeah, she's, she's a waitress. And eventually all of this is gonna catch up with.
Sidey: Yeah, Arne's working his way down the phone book executing every Sarah Conner because like you say, she is at some point gonna give birth to the leader of the rebellion. And so yeah, that's the mission. And we see Arne getting toured up. He goes to a gun shop.
Reegs: Yeah, it's run by Marty Fatman from the Gremlins.
Sidey: That's right. Yeah. And, and he is, Hey, you really know your, you really know your weapons
Reegs: It's, there's an amazing little bit of, I don't even know if it's social commentary anymore cuz he's like, oh, well, you know, it's, it's, it's a few weeks for the checks on the shotgun and the automatic rifle. But you can take those machine guns home with you now.
And he's like, sold or whatever. What does he say?
Sidey: it's like, you know, we don't, we don't really, you know, allow you to have, you know, live, live ammunition. It just takes a, you
Reegs: Yeah, he starts loading it up. . Yeah.
Reegs: And blows the
Sidey: Guns him down. He doesn't, he doesn't pay for any of those guns. Not a single one.
Reegs: not one. So yeah, the Terminator's tooled up and he's on the path of Sarah O'Connor, our Sarah O'Connor. Meanwhile the police are just starting to adjust to the fact they don't really want the media to know that there's a. Killer going round K knocking off Sarah O'Connors.
And then actually the very overworked policeman played by a guy, I can't remember, but a very good character actor. And also he's supported by Lance Hendrickson, who was originally gonna be the Terminator in this movie at one point. Yeah. they then put out a sort of bulletin, don't they, saying, oh, all the that they're looking for this Air Connors, and she sees it on as a waitress on.
On the tv,
Sidey: Yeah, that's right. Yeah.
Reegs: Anyway, eventually our Arne tracks him, tracks her down to her apartment. This is where it's most like one of the other movies that reminds me of a little bit like John Carpenter's Halloween. This, you know, because the Terminator is a kind of slasher presence in the movies.
This sort of
Sidey: Yeah, he's,
Reegs: relentless killing machine.
Sidey: it. Yeah. He's absolutely relentless. He's unstoppable, unkillable. And you're not entirely sure as the audience how anyone's gonna be able to survive
Reegs: Yeah, eventually. Anyway, so he, he kills the roommate and everybody, eventually Sarah's gonna find herself through being chased down to the Tek nightclub.
Sidey: Yeah, I dunno what it is about that, but that, that name techno just stuck with me and always remember that detail of the film, of techno. And it's where they have the the, the first showdown with Carl Reese and and a
Reegs: And we get a great line. Yeah,
Sidey: come with me if you want to live.
Reegs: Which, which is gonna be said backwards and forwards throughout the franchise by different characters. . Yeah. So yeah, he, Arne goes in to kind of mercilessly gun everybody to what he's looking for. Sarah Connor and Carl Reece saved her. And there's a thrilling escape where I think Arne is shot in the eye, isn't he?
Sidey: Yeah, he's he's, he's taken some damage, but he is still, he's still getting strong and he has to do a bit of running repairs. So he get the really. mean, the, the model doesn't look so great, but the way they've done it mimicking the kind of mirror where he's cutting away the skin and, and doing some repairs is still fucking really
Reegs: Amazing the eye and he does the hand as well, like, you know, the Android fingers and all that. Yeah, I think, I think that is probably the shiest bit of the movie. But in general, considering how old this movie is, the special effects are still great. And they were by industrial light and magic, weren't they?
So that's probably part of the reason why they still hold up. Anyway. They get the Kyle and Sarah get taken in by the police and they convince her pretty quickly that he's a lunatic. I mean, he sounds like one, to be fair, he's ranting and raving cuz he's already dumped a load of exposition on her about who she is, the, the mother, the.
She's gonna birth the resistance leader, the guy who's gonna save humanity. And that is part of her journey is she goes from sort of terrified, wide-eyed waitress to toughened battle hardened survivor over the course of a single movie. And that's also her sort of character arc across the franchise as well, backwards and forwards.
Sidey: That's right. Yeah. And Arne does appear at the, he's very nice at first. He goes, goes up to the front desk of the police
Sidey: And the guy's like you, you'd have to fuck off and come back later. And he, he drops the, I'll be back. And he does come back, but in a police car and
Reegs: Straight through the wall . Yeah.
Sidey: and through the, and over the front desk.
Reegs: And we get this real crazy, crazy scene. Really now if you think about it, of, of Arnold just like shooting down. They tell them, they tell her earlier there must be 30 cups in here and he just guns them all down. It's, I don't know if it was specifically a, a sort of, Anti, you know, anti-establishment type thing or whether Cameron had some beef with the, with the cops, but it's, it's throughout the Terminator franchise, the cops come in for a bit of a beating, don't they?
Sidey: They do. Actually, I never thought of it that way, but I guess part of it is, you know, that's supposed to be a safe place. If you are in there, you'd think you'd be okay, but not with this guy. He's just gonna fucking take everyone
Reegs: Well, that's another thing, a again, another bit that's like strongly reminiscent of some of his other work because she, you know, she's assured that Reese is a maniac and she hasn't seen what she thinks she's seen with the Terminator, and she's told to go sleep on the couch. It's just like an alien.
In aliens where the girl, you know, where she's told and purposefully infected and so many other elements of his work, the industrial machinery all that stuff. Oh, that's cool. Anyway, it's a good movie. This one we should probably finish off talking about the plot. So yeah, the terminated guns through there, killing everybody.
But at the last minute, again, Carl Reese turns up and saves the.
Sidey: Yeah, they leg it and they're gonna have to take a stand, so they do a lot of bomb building and stuff. And then he tells her about he's, he's into her
Sidey: and he's got her photo and he's been staring at her photo and then they kiss and then they have
Reegs: they do. they
Sidey: and he impregnates her.
Reegs: And it, it always, it makes me, you know, laugh that it basically serves the same scene says, serves the same function as the rave scene in the matrix reloaded to this scene like the difference between man and machine. And machine's relentless killer and humans are just gonna fuck at the time of most stress.
Sidey: Yeah, but that's where John Connor comes
Reegs: Yeah bonkers. Isn't it? Bonkers. So you've got this kind of circuit, this little loop in the in the logic of the movie. There's tons of cool stuff like that in this. anyway, so yeah, Connor's been conceived by the soldier, sent back to protect his mother. Reese has improvised a whole load of homemade explosives and the terminator has tracked them down to the motel and bursts in.
You know, guns are blazing, but they've already escaped. And then there's another sort of chase through la, a raw one through the city streets. The Terminator shooting at them. Carl Reese gets injured. The truck crashes. I think Reese throws one of his improvised dynamite things into the back of it and blows it up.
And you, they give that fake out moment where you're like, ah, everybody's fine. And then suddenly the sort of skeleton of, of, of the terminator rises up from the flames of the wreckage of the ganau.
Sidey: right and they, they do a nice callback to that in Terminator two on the, what are those things that like drain canali thing where they're. The other truck blows up and you think, oh, he's got him, but the, the T 1000 comes outta that one. So they, they like mirror things quite well between the two movies.
Reegs: Yeah, there's a load of that. And then they eventually find themselves in a, well, it's a factory of some sorts. The irony of course being it's an automated factory with robots in it that they use to try and disguise themselves as well. So robots protecting humans against other robots that are trying to kill them.
And eventually there is a big shootout. Well, it's not really a shootout actually. REAT attacks him with a crowbar and smacks him around the face a few times, I think, and then blows blows it in half with a, with one of the improvised devices in the spine.
Sidey: That's right. Yeah. He's crawling around. I think he's got one arm and a torso in a head and it's, but it's still going. You know, it's this relentless killer. It will stop nothing.
Reegs: and eventually,
Sidey: she's backed into a corner really. She's, she's got nowhere left to go kind of underneath some kind of hydraulic press.
Sidey: And the Terminator is inching, its way closer and just kind of crawling. And she's, she's reaching around the side of it to, to try and hit the on button
Sidey: frantically trying to, trying to turn this press on and eventually does.
Reegs: not before she has time to say a little one liner before she presses the button. I noticed. Very brave. She says you are terminated. Again, another one that Yeah, but I would've pressed the button first, I think.
Sidey: Yeah. Yeah. There's no time for that kind of shit unless you're in a movie, in which case there's plenty of time for it. And we, we get to see the little red eye finally extinguished. And the Terminator has been vanquished,
Sidey: which is great.
Reegs: And then we cut to a sort of few months later and she's on the rundown in Mexico, heavily pregnant. I mean, it looked terrifying to me this bit because she's at a petrol station in the middle of nowhere. She doesn't speak Spanish clearly. She's asking for money. It's like, God, what an and you know, and, and we, she echoes, she's pregnant, heavily pregnant, and she echoes the words that Reese had told her about the future not being set.
And as they do that, a little kid takes her photo and it's the photo that Reese had been jerking off to all those years.
Sidey: I mean they, you know, that's, that's great. That's nice sentiment that the future is not set. But as we know, because this is a franchise, it absolutely is because there is always something being sent back to do something.
Reegs: Yeah. Well, I.
Reegs: but the movie has this kind of, you know, it's notion of time travel and the way that fate interplays it, it's like, you know, you are perpetually stuck in a cycle of this sort of thing because that's the way it has to be. The movie's notion of fate is like that in the way that certain things are repeated or the way things are become closed or open loops or, yeah, it's a banger, isn't it?
This is an absolute banger.
Sidey: It's a great one too with Terminator two. It's a, you know, it's one of those ones that's people. Make a play for it being one of the sequels that's better than the original. I think they're just, they're just a great
Reegs: pretty sure I saw a Terminator too before I saw the Terminator. Yeah. So, yeah.
Sidey: It's it, it works really well because all the things that it does in the first one, it's able to reverse it in the second one, but then that gag or that play doesn't work then in 3, 4, 5, 6, because you've done it and that payoff has already been had. So you really should have just left it where it was, but
Reegs: This is so
Sidey: is absolutely one for the ages. It's just fucking perfect.
Reegs: can see why it's spawned so many sequels because the world, world building is right there from the very get-go. This brilliant scenario that it sets up the ambitious, maybe, you know, slightly shonky, practical effects in the first one, but you can see what they were going for. And the whole world is fully formed and ripe for exploring and
Sidey: he is good at that. James Cameron. Whe whether you like him or not he, he does well, building very well. He does it in this one. He does it in alien. The Alien franchise does it in Avatar. They're not really for me, but you know, it's super fucking popular, so it obviously works.
And in this one it's, you know, it's two male dudes, but really it's the female is the strong character. She's the one who, sees it through. She's the one who kills the bad guy and becomes the, the leader, if you like, of the, of the resistance and sees it through. And, and he is done that with with Ripley, of course, and aliens as well.
Reegs: And it is a great role because she's undeniably feminine, Linda Hamilton but she's not a damsel in distress. But she is vulnerable. And she does become this empowered badass kind of by the end and as the franchise grows. Yeah. Great, great. Great. Really good. And then obviously this movie has given us so much.
It's given us Arnold, it's given us, I'll be back. It's given us the world and all the franchises. I would say High Strong, recommended it gave us Pugsley, the iguana.
Sidey: It did indeed. How do you feel about your notes that were written by ai? Did, were there, was there a touch of Skynet about it?
Reegs: Well, it was, you know, I hel, I, I asked chat g p t to help me do like scene breakdowns. And then I spotted actually weirdly side a factual error. It stated that, you know, Sarah Connor was a waitress at the Technion Nightclub, and I tried to query it with it. And it, you know, I asked it to look again at that scene, tell me what happened again.
And it revises it, but says the same thing. And I said, she's not a waitress in a diner. And it, and it did actually say eventually it concedes, it made a.
Sidey: Oh wow.
Reegs: And all that. So yeah, this was AI being artificial, but not very intelligent.
Sidey: Yeah, I mean I guess it's still in its infancy, but it is like blowing up popularity wise. Every time I try and go on it. Now, it says it's at capacity and you can't do anything and blah, blah. So it's really, it's really kicking off. But you know, we've seen from this movie where it's gonna take us. So just beware.
Reegs: I did ask it
Sidey: Tread with
Reegs: it said, as an AI it doesn't have any desires or wants, so.
Sidey: This is exactly what an AI with evil intent would say.