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Remembering "The Terminator" on its 30th Anniversary with an Interview with Van Ling and Ian Nathan

Posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 10:45 AM

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Movie PosterOn October 26, 1984, James Cameron's The Terminator was released in theaters, and going to the movies was never quite the same afterward. It launched quite a few careers, spawned a franchise, and has become an indelible part of pop culture.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie's release, Michael Coate from the home video web site The Digital Bits interviewed special effects supervisor Van Ling, who created extras content for the home video releases of the movie and other Cameron movies, and Ian Nathan, the executive editor of Empire magazine and the author of Terminator Vault: The Complete Story Behind the Making of The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Here is an excerpt from the interview:

Michael Coate (The Digital Bits): In what way is The Terminator worthy of celebration on its 30th anniversary?

Van Ling: I still can’t believe it’s been 30 years! The film has become a touchstone for both the action and science fiction genres, and is still an example of great storytelling and creative filmmaking. And even as the technology advances and the barrier between what’s in a filmmaker’s head and what’s on the screen grows thinner and thinner—and a lot of that technical innovation has been initiated or inspired by Jim Cameron—you can still go back to this one little film and say, it all started with great storytelling and compelling characters. It still holds up after 30 years, and it was the first salvo of an upward trajectory, not only of Cameron’s career but of genre filmmaking, that continues to this day. It blasted through a stereotype wall between what was an “exploitation/genre” picture and what was a “great movie.” One might argue that The Terminator’s DNA is present in almost every film since 1984 that unabashedly combines genre elements, dynamic action, emotion and humor into a satisfying narrative.

Ian Nathan: In simple terms, it is a seminal movie. It invented the career of James Cameron, arguably the most significant director of recent times, certainly the most successful. It defined Arnold Schwarzenegger as an icon, the sublime irony of casting him as a machine. Moreover, despite being made on a micro-budget and designed as a lo-fi science fiction slasher movie, the film remains extraordinary, playful and so influential: everything from The Matrix to The Hunger Games owes it a debt. Sure, it shows its age, and Cameron can’t watch it without wincing, but the propulsive power with which it is made and edited—where the dynamism of the action becomes the plot; story as chase sequence—still hits like a hammer.

The interview is well worth reading, so give it a look at the Read link below!

Want to See the Movie?

If you haven't seen the movie (gasp) or you haven't seen it in a while, now is a good time to check it out! While its visuals are now a little outdated, the movie's themes are still very effective, and it will remind you which movie set the standard for dystopic futures...

Unfortunately, The Terminator isn't playing in any movie theaters around the country, but you can purchase the movie easily, and for a good price. With the ever-shrinking home video sections in retail stores, your best bet is going to be finding the movie online.

Given the amount of time since its release and its popularity as a franchise, there are quite a few choices when you search for "The Terminator" on a site like Amazon.com. The February 19, 2013 remastered release appears to the be the one to pick up, as it is going for a good price, and the remastering was done pretty well, even if it doesn't contain the movie's original mono soundtrack.

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