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LEXY DuPONT Is Back!! With TERMINATOR SE DVD!!

I am – Hercules!!

“Wash day tomorrow. Nothing clean -- right?”

“Hey, just what you see, pal.”

“You still don't get it, do you? He'll find her. That's what he does. That's all he does!”

“Hey, I'm not stupid y’know. They can't build anything like that yet.”

Sarah Connor! Kyle Reese! Ginger & Matt! Dr. Silberman! Sarah’s iguana! Bill Paxton! The T-800!

After another summer spent in the Mojave training the new crop of Blue Angels, Alexandra DuPont returns to her regular Sunday night DVD reviews in a big way: with a look at one of cinema’s few perfect works, James Cameron’s original “Terminator.”

Thanks as always to The DVD Journal for the regular loan of the amazing Alex’s reviews.


Review by Alexandra DuPont                    


"Once upon the earth, in a typical town, on an agonizingly beautiful day, a nondescript woman, whose name I forget, killed a monster robot from the future and saved the human race. The End."

— "The Terminator: The Novel," — a one-sentence joke written by
Randall Frakes and
Terminator co-screenwriter William Wisher,
featured among the
Terminator: Special Edition DVD extras.


I. INTRODUCTION: A "SMUGGLER" DESERVES A BREAK

The most interesting directors (for me, anyway) are the ones Martin Scorcese called "smugglers" — genre adherents (usually Western, sci-fi and horror auteurs) who repeatedly sneak pesky personal obsessions into their work.

[box cover]Just so with James Cameron. These days, Cameron is snorted at by the intelligentsia for being a middlebrow technophiliac with a raging ego and a penchant for spending too much money on his films. This collective sniffing, as near as I can tell, is predicated entirely on the success of Titanic — his romance-novel-handcuffed-to-a-disaster-film blockbuster that went to insane lengths marrying taut action filmmaking to cringe-inducing Harlequin dialogue.

But even Titanic, flawed though it is, is a "smuggled" film, broadly exploring Cameron's twin obsessions — distrust of technology and men sacrificing themselves to empower strong, smart, pissed-off women. One hopes the Terminator: Special Edition DVD (which hits the stores on Tuesday, Oct. 2) will splash a little cold water on film-snob faces, reminding them that Cameron, particularly in his first few films, was the most exciting sci-fi filmmaker since Young Spielberg mined his obsession with benevolent alien father figures. MGM's new DVD — improving on a movie-only disc put out by Image Entertainment in 1998 — should also remind movie buffs that Cameron was able to "smuggle" his themes (however un-subtly) even when he had no clout and his budget was something like $1.95.


II. THE STORY

Recounting the story is pretty well moot at this point. Released in 1984, T1's high-concept pastiche immediately entered the cultural fabric — a why-didn't-someone-make-this-movie-sooner mix of Corman splatter, Harlan Ellison, Japanese technofetishism, urban paranoia, and monster movie, relentlessly told. (Note that almost all of the film's exposition, and there's a lot of it, happens while characters are fleeing or hiding — a device today's action filmmakers would do well to study).

Waitress Sarah Connor (a pre-commando-training Linda Hamilton) finds out she's the Virgin Mary of the secular human race when a "Terminator" cyborg from the future (Arnold Schwarzenegger) travels back in time to kill her. It seems she's destined to give birth to John Connor — leader of the human freedom fighters who defeat an evil machine race in A.D. 2027. She's aided in her fight against the assassin robot by Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), a human who traveled back in time to save her — and who will, as it turns out, sire John Connor and awaken Sarah's inner freedom fighter.

This isn't particularly subtle stuff (John Connor's initials are, after all, "JC") — but, like Planet of the Apes, you can peel apart The Terminator and find yourself rewarded with several cohesive, fully cooked themes and paradoxes. In 1984, when schlocky, low-budget sci-fi consisted of such silly stuff as Battle Beyond the Stars and The Last Starfighter, The Terminator was practically revolutionary.

Here's Cameron's trademark Man-Sacrificing-Himself-to-Empower-A-Woman Theme, smuggled to varying degrees into all his films. Here's a really broad abortion allegory, with a faceless machine state trying to force a woman to "terminate" her pregnancy (a plot in which both pro-life and pro-choice advocates can find thematic succor — maestro!). Here's a Horatio Alger-like tale of self-transformation. Here's the paradox of a man fathering his future leader — the ultimate military service, if you will — and thus creating a self-contained temporal loop that only the five Apes films explored with equal success. Take a step back and behold the paradox of Cameron using every technical trick in the book — a la Lucas and Classic "Trek" — to foster a deep distrust of technocratic society.


III. THAT SAID

Be ye warned: If you haven't watched T1 since the late-'80s (as I hadn't) you may be in for a bit of a shock. The movie itself has become a bit of time travel — thanks to the oh-so-'80s trappings of its fashions and hair (particularly in its infamous "Tech Noir" nightclub sequence, which resembles nothing so much as an episode of "Square Pegs" with squibs). And the movie's admirable lo-fi trappings may disappoint (or even bore) people who consider T2's groundbreaking effects a form of fetish porn.


IV. THE EXTRAS

Tech-heads may be interested to know that this disc was encoded using DVD-14 technology — a single layer on one side, an RSDL dual layer on the other. Content-wise, this is a fat-free platter with slick menus that refute the overwrought T2: Ultimate Edition DVD menus with their brevity.

Side One features an anamorphic transfer of the beautifully restored print and a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtrack. (Purists beware: The Digital Bits has reported that composer Brad Fiedel re-orchestrated — and altered — some of his opening-credits music. I still consider this one of the best cheapie-synth film scores of all time, and the re-work didn't bother me a bit.)

Side One also features DVD-ROM content — for, believe it or not, PC and Mac users — including "script to screen" Web files linking you to the fourth draft and final draft of the script, as well as Cameron's original treatment. There are also Easter eggs here — audio interview clips (with stills) you can access by clicking various boxes on the borders of assorted menu screens.

Side Two — the gold-tinted side — is a lean collection of snazzy extras. Under "Trailers/TV Spots" we find a 1:26 teaser trailer (featuring Cameron's original production art in lieu of finished special effects), a 1:57 theatrical trailer, and a 3:08 foreign trailer that plays with the mystery of who (or what) is stalking Sarah Connor (and that plays up the film's brutal, bloody elements), plus two 30-second TV spots touting the film's surprise box-office success.

Under a "Documentaries" menu we find two "making-of" features, one brand-new:

"The Terminator — A Retrospective" (18:10) was filmed for the original T2 VHS release; it features those Teutonic braggarts James Cameron and Arnold Schwartzenegger sitting in a living room shooting the heavily-edited breeze about the making of the first film. Among the highlights: learning that Arnold was originally up for the Kyle Reese role, with Lance Henricksen cast as a more nondescript Terminator; the filmmaker's surprise when "I'll be back" became a comic catchphrase; and behind-the-scenes shots interspersed with tales of working with Stan Winston ("It's not a man in a suit — the suit's inside the man"), various cast-and-crew anecdotes, and a recounting of the guerrilla-filmmaking measures Arnold, Cameron & Co. took to finish the film.

• The above chatter is fleshed out — considerably — in the disc's new hour-long making-of documentary, "Other Voices." It features interviews (culled from multiple sources) with Cameron, Schwartzenegger, William Wisher, Stan Winston, F/X supervisor Gene Warren, Jr., Linda Hamilton, producer Gale Anne Hurd, Michael Biehn, pyrotechnics whiz Joe Viskocil, editor Mark Goldblatt, and composer Brad Fiedel. The doc's broken into 14 mini-chapters — covering everything from Cameron's conception of the idea while ill in Rome to assembling his team to nearly starving for a year waiting for Arnold's availability to shooting the lo-fi effects to circumventing (with Hurd's considerable expertise) the "suits" who didn't understand the film's potential. The interviewees even touch on the prickly subject of Cameron's massive ego — or, more specifically, the massive ego he projects onto his film projects. (My favorite Cameron story is the one where he tells producer Bill Mechanic on the Titanic set, "If you want to cut my film, you'll have to fire me. And to fire me, you'll have to kill me.")

Next up are seven "Terminated Scenes" — viewable individually or strung together, and with or without commentary by Cameron (a DVD first):

"Wholesome Sarah" features Hamilton talking to herself in the mirror in her waitress uniform;
"Wrong Sarah" is an extended cut of the Terminator leaving the scene of one of his Sarah Connor murders, oblivious to fleeing witnesses;
"Lt. Traxler's Arc" is a collection of several deleted scenes featuring Paul Winfield and Lance Henricksen as police detectives — climaxing with an injured Winfield giving his gun to Reese, finally convinced that the Terminator is the real deal;
"Sarah Fights Back" explores some of the ideas fleshed out in T2 — with Sarah talking to Reese about blowing up Cyberdyne even as Reese weeps at the future loss of nature ("I wasn't meant to see this!");
"Making Bombs" features Sarah and Reese talking about things he's never seen as they cook some homemade explosives;
"Tickling Reese" is, as Cameron puts it in the commentary, "a clumsy attempt on the part of the writer to show that Reese has rejoined the human race";
• and "The Factory" reveals that the site of the film's climactic showdown was in fact Cyberdyne Systems — with a couple of fairly weak actors finding the Terminator chip and palming it for R&D.

Rounding out the disc is a "Still Gallery" of hundreds of photos — organized under the sub-categories of "James Cameron Artwork" (which looks like really well-done '70s van art), "Production Photos," "Stan Winston Effects," "Fantasy II: Visual Effects," and "Publicity Materials," which features, I shit you not, a smiling Arnold Schwartzenegger in a tuxedo — plus Cameron's 40-page "Original Treatment."

That is all.

— Alexandra DuPont
dupont@dvdjournal.com

  • Color
  • Anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1)
  • Double-sided dual-format disc (DVD-14)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, Spanish), original mono (English)
  • English, French and Spanish subtitles
  • Three trailers and 2 TV spots
  • "The Making of The Terminator: A Retrospective" documentary (18 min.)
  • "Other Voices" documentary (60 min.)
  • Seven "Terminated Scenes"
  • Five still galleries
  • Original treatment
  • DVD-ROM "script to screen" features
  • Keep-case


Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 23, 2001, 9:42 p.m. CST

    First? BTW, oh goody, another edition

    by SilentBob X

    I hate the 5 release rule of the DVD medium: Premiere edition, special edition, masterpiece edition, director's cut, and masterpiece. Money grubbing sons of bitches.....Get it right the first time! Snoogans.

  • Sept. 23, 2001, 10:02 p.m. CST

    This will be sitting at the top of my collection in a few short

    by Psyclops

    Cameron is a God. THE TERMINATOR is too good of a movie for me to not purchase the moment it hits the shelf! It will sit at the top of my collection forever.

  • Sept. 23, 2001, 10:10 p.m. CST

    This thing's been out in Australia for about six months.

    by Cash Bailey

    The 'Sarah Fights Back' deleted scene is brilliant, and should have been kept in the film. Also, I love how there's about 40 seconds of Linda Hamilton in all the documentary footage. And, Jeez, Michael Biehn looks old. And he's all pink like he just got out of the shower. My only gripe with the whole package is... NO BILL PAXTON!!! "Fuck you, Asshole." Damn, that guy rules. And Cameron's conceptual art is freaking extraordinary!! The man is truly gifted.

  • Sept. 23, 2001, 10:24 p.m. CST

    Handcuffs

    by MCVamp

    I look back on The Terminator the way a lot of people look back on Jaws and the first Star Wars as examples of how creative great filmmakers could be when they still had handcuffs like low budgets, pressure to finish up quickly, and most of all, the mindset that they had better fucking impress somebody or it's back to begging for work.-----Because he WASN'T able to pour a ton of money into effects, because he WASN'T able to pressure a suit into giving him this or that, because he DIDN'T have big-name actors beating down his door for key roles back then, The Terminator will, to me, remain James Cameron's best overall film.

  • Sept. 23, 2001, 10:28 p.m. CST

    "and thus creating a self-contained temporal loop that only the

    by Kevin Bosch

    What about the Back to the Fucking Future Trilogy!!!! I mean, fuck, the original proposed sequel (which would have been 2 and 3 together) was called was called "Back To The Future: Self Contained Temporal Loop". Ok, it was subtitled "Paradox", but same difference. But, I mean, the first movie had a self contained tempral loop, the second one had a self contained tempral loop, and the third one... was in the old west (but it still had some temeralness, containess and loopness in there).. and all three together fit perfectly cause all the paradoxes and loops come together at the end. So there. Don't talk about time travel movies and mention the Apes series(which, you know, DON'T fit together, really), and forget Back To The Future. "BTTF.com BOOTH AT FX 2002, all the way baby!"

  • Sept. 23, 2001, 11:48 p.m. CST

    Cameron as smuggler?

    by hktelemacher

    In Scorsese's terminology, it seems to me that all of his so-called "smugglers" are long gone. The smugglers defied the production code and studio heads by slipping in relevant social messages back when film was still not given it's due as a real art form. Smuggling it seems all but disappeared when the ratings board became more lenient, and artists were allowed to express their vision practically unfiltered by legions of decency, etc. If Cameron or anyone else of his generation wishes to slip in a disguised theme amidst the big-budget backwash they churn out, that's not smuggling, that should be the norm in filmmaking. Sadly, it isn't, and many films are still produced on simply superficial levels. Always have, always will. But hailing The Terminator or Titantic as films of great underlying depth is, for me at least, way off the mark. It's not like either film danced circles around the MPAA (which doesn't happen anymore anyway) or had a lot of original things to say. The recurring theme in Cameron's body of work seems to be "technology bad, love good". He's a decent craftsman and a good showman, but his films explore nothing new on an intellectal level. As snobby poser cineaste as that all sounds, elevating Cameron to anything above just simply a director of better than most popcorn flicks is ludicrous. With the exception of Titanic I enjoy Cameron's films, as they have a good combination of humor and action, but "real emotion" always feels force-fed and overly melodramatic. Titantic was a three-hour example of his spoon-feeding. Subtle is not a word that I would use to describe the king of world or his films, and subtlety was the beauty of classic cinema. I just can't peel back layer after layer of Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, etc. because after you peel away the visuals there ain't much left. As for him being an exciting sci-fi filmmaker -- maybe, but I didn't find anything of Spielberg's very provocative either. But what do I know? Titanic was the biggest money-maker in history, and Cameron walked home with an armload of Oscars. I'm just some schmuck waxing superior on a website. But I still know I'm right.

  • Sept. 24, 2001, 12:58 a.m. CST

    Telemacher...

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    I respect your opinions and give you props for a well thought-out and concise post, but I take umbrage with just a few points: (1) You have an AOL Email address. That's not relevant to your post, but by now I find it's the online equivalent of wearing an "I'm with stupid" T-shirt. (j/k) (2) "I just can't peel back layer after layer of Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, etc. because after you peel away the visuals there ain't much left." Oh, come on now! How can you say The Abyss has no thematic depth? Did you see the Special Edition? It's almost a totally different film, and I've never watched it and found it to be particularly heavy-handed (well, with a few minor exceptions... "Looks like you boys might be out of a job" was wholly unnecessary....) But there's truly a decent amount of subtext there if you look for it. And even Aliens, I've always thought, worked on more levels than just its "shoot all the nasty creatures" face value. What about Ripley's relationship with Newt? What about Burke's placing monetary value on the aliens over the recognition of their threat to the world? What about the scene where Ripley drives the APC in to rescue the team and Gorman practically wetting his pants, IMHO, illustrating the real difference between official rank and true bravery? I don't know... perhaps I favor Cameron's work too much (look at my screen-name, after all,) but he's been my favorite filmmaker for my whole adult life, and I am pretty damn picky. So while I'd love to take you to task for criticizing the guy, I really can't because, like I said before, your post was certainly well written and fair-minded. But in keeping with that fair-mindedness, why don't you try looking a little deeper into his characters? You just might find his movies aren't *all* just flashy effects and nifty action sequences. That's all from me... take care, bro.

  • Sept. 24, 2001, 1:10 a.m. CST

    A Hollywood Producer dies and goes to heaven (true story...)

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    ...where he's greeted at the gate by Saint Peter. "Welcome," he tells the man. "Follow me. I'll give you the tour." As he's walked through the great beyond, the producer sees many filmmaking greats along the way. He finds Chaplin, Trouffaut, Lean... the best of the best, now happily conferring with each other about all things cinema in the afterlife. A few minutes later, they pass another directors' rap session, this one with Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick. . . and James Cameron. The producer blurts out, "What the...?!" Saint Peter stops and says, "What's the problem?" The producer says, "I had no idea Jim Cameron died!" St. Peter says, "What? Cameron hasn't died." The producer says, "Look, over there, with Kubrick and Kurosawa." "Oh," says the saint. "That's God. He just likes to pretend he's James Cameron."

  • Sept. 24, 2001, 2:13 a.m. CST

    Lightstormer... thank you for defending the master.

    by Psyclops

    How can anyone seriously look at Cameron as just another "popcorn" filmmaker? He isn't Michael Bay for crying out loud, now THAT'S a "popcorn" type of guy... all tech and no soul! James Cameron has always been able to tell a story with both strong visuals and equally strong characters (I'll be a man and admit that TITANIC probably had the weakest characters of any Cameron film... but then again... it's not one of my favorite JC movies). ALIENS, THE ABYSS, TRUE LIES and both TERMINATOR movies are cinematic proof of Cameron's genius, a man who can make quality films even with an ego the size of the great sinking ship!

  • Sept. 24, 2001, 3:24 a.m. CST

    sucky captions

    by dsol

    I've already got the region 2 disc - it came out months ago in the UK. I was horrified to see that MGM had replaced all the original captions used in the film with some horrible, cheap-looking, DVD-generated ones. This was really jarring when it did it for the whole "machines rose from the ashes of the nuclear fire" backstory caption at the start. I hope for region 1 buyers this isn't the case too, else someone at MGM is in line for a b*tch-slappin'

  • Sept. 24, 2001, 7:39 a.m. CST

    Welcome back, Ms. DuPont...

    by Martin_Blank

    Glad to hear your voice again. 'Square Pegs with squibs.' Priceless. Absolutely gemlike.

  • Sept. 24, 2001, 7:41 a.m. CST

    Welcome back, Ms. DuPont...

    by Martin_Blank

    Glad to hear your voice again. 'Square Pegs with squibs.' Priceless. Absolutely gemlike.

  • Sept. 24, 2001, 8:45 a.m. CST

    I'm repenting!

    by JonQuixote

    I absolutely loathed Titanic. Loathed, Loathed, Loathed. Poorly scripted, manipulative, annoying, ridiculous... my list of negative adjectives could be so versatile, you'd think I stole it from DuPont. And the accolades for it made me sick, as did Cameron's grandstanding. But I recently watched the Special Edition Abyss for the first time, was suitably blown away, and I realized that I own more Cameron DVD's than I do films by any other actor or director (and that says a lot). Yet, I felt free to dismiss him as a shallow effects-happy egomaniac who can't write dialogue to save his life. Y'know what? He IS a shallow, effects-happy egomaniac who can't write dialogue, but he is far, FAR above dismissal. My bad!

  • Sept. 24, 2001, 4:16 p.m. CST

    SEXY Lexy Du-Pont!!

    by Ghibli-San

    Damn she's hot!! G'bye!!

  • Sept. 24, 2001, 5:30 p.m. CST

    Other regions vs R1

    by Seemlar

    I bought the R4 version a couple of months ago, and I'll be selling it to get the R1 version. Having it early was nice, but the non-R1 versions are flawed. Someones already noticed the original text in the opening scenes was replaced by player generated subtitles (whose bad idea was that) which has been corrected in the R1 release. Also, the R4 release was inexplicably missing the original Mono soundtrack. Sure its mono.. but new 5.1 effects totally replaces a lot of the sound effects, amd you'll be wincing at how bad some of them are and at some of the errors. For example, when the terminator killed the first Sarah Connor with the .45 - that thing sounded like a freaking hand cannon in the original audio - the best way to describe its new sound is "pop" "pop" "pop" - weak! Also, during the police stations scenes, a number of times Arnie is shown firing the shotgun, but the new effects insert the machine gun noise - its unbelievable such errors slipped past someone.

  • Sept. 24, 2001, 8:25 p.m. CST

    Lightstormer ...

    by hktelemacher

    In my own defense, Lighstormer, my AOL e-mail account is only in use because it's absolutely free for me. I'll give it to you that Cameron's best films are better than most action-adventure flicks in the last two decades, but he has nothing new to contribute in any of his films except a rockin' good time. I don't compare him to Michael Bay, because Bay is a director with something below zero depth. Cameron's films are all just glossy updates on themes and characters already very much in use in film for a long time. He is enjoyable, but comparing him with the likes of Wilder, Preminger, Nick Ray, etc. is absurd. Cameron has given people personal enjoyment by the boat load for two decades, and that's what movies as an entertainment form are all about. Film was changed forever from what is now classic cinema when Cameron struck gold in the 80s, but he has quite a few contemporaries who dance intellectual circles around him. I prefer films that are good for numerous viewings on more than a slam-bang level, and no matter how deep I try to look in Cameron's work, I do recognize emotion, but I just don't get what I want out of it. That's just my taste, and I give Cameron credit for what he is as a showman, but I won't chalk one up for him for what he isn't - and he's not an artist worthy of comparison with Truffaut or Kurosawa. As for Cameron being God? I'm not really religious, but if Cameron is God I guess I'm hell bound.

  • Sept. 25, 2001, 12:20 a.m. CST

    Well said, Telemacher... and here's where AICN serves as a great

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    >> "Cameron's best films are better than most action-adventure flicks in the last two decades, but he has nothing new to contribute in any of his films except a rockin' good time. Cameron's films are all just glossy updates on themes and characters already very much in use in film for a long time." << OK, this is interesting to me. Mainly because I think you really have a point. I never really noticed it before, but it seems pretty clear that Cameron does indeed have "a knack for the familiar," shall we say. I guess the themes he writes on aren't particularly cutting edge, and the kinds of stories he tells aren't the freshest thing on the market. . . but I guess I'm just a big fan of timeless notions, I suppose. I mean, Star Wars is my biggest film influence, and as much as I love, say, Sex, Lies and Videotape, Memento, or Leaving Las Vegas, they still don't rank up as high on my list as Dead Poets Society, Braveheart, or Shawshank Redemption. It's funny that I've never noticed before now how mainstream (or should I just say it? "simple?") those stories are... good vs. bad, right vs. wrong, oppression vs. the free-spirited. Regardless, I guess I'm just the rare breed of film geek that doesn't find as much fulfillment in edgier, more obscure, or esoteric fare than in movies that everyone's mom likes, you know? Damn... and I always used to find solace in the company of geeks... now I find out I'm even whiter than the white folk. Well, at any rate, kudos to you for the keen observations (and thanks for recognizing the vast difference between a Cameron and a Bay... yeccch....) And I suppose when it's all said and done, Jim's not losing any sleep over the people that don't think he's "The King" (though I hate when people bring up that stupid moniker.) I think the only movie he set his heart into and tried to really instill some sincerity in was Titanic, and though that's undoubtedly his most criticized film, it's also undoubtedly his most cherished. (Of course, not by the same people.) I've rambled enough for tonight. See ya next time, geek folk.

  • Sept. 25, 2001, 12:28 a.m. CST

    Ooh, wait... one last thought...

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    Anybody in this TalkBack ever read Cameron's "A Crowded Room" script? Now THAT would certainly have garnered homeboy some clout if he had made the film. Nobody'd believe that the guy that wrote "Point Break" or "True Lies" would have written such a story. And contrary to my little soliloquy regarding my penchant for mainstream movies, I loved every page of that script, as stark and minor-key as it was. ...OK. Now I'm done.

  • Sept. 25, 2001, 12:51 a.m. CST

    Speaking of Temporal Loops

    by Cruel Shoes

    Has anyone watched Memento, and then, the second it goes to credits, flipped back to the first scene. The movie plays in a loop. It's amazing, you could program you dvd player to not have the story ever stop.

  • Sept. 25, 2001, 7:26 a.m. CST

    Actually...

    by JonQuixote

    You can really see the heart Cameron put into The Abyss, which reminded me of Titanic without the cloyingly annoying parts (inane love story, unsympathetic characters, gunfight!). I'm no Cameron expert, but I'd be willing to be the Abyss is his most personal movie. I do have to agree with Telemacher though, Cameron has not even come close to being compared with the "greats", though he is responsible for four of the greatest action flicks that don't rhyme with Cry Lard.

  • Sept. 25, 2001, 2:53 p.m. CST

    Lightstormer, you suave sunnuvagun...

    by user id indeed!

    And here I thought I was the only one who ever read Cameron's readily-available "Crowded Room" script ( http://www.hundland.com/scripts/A-Crowded-Room.txt )! Talk about a lost gem, I tell ya what,wow there. At times it seemed to be treating multiple personalities like Pokemon cards, but otherwise very tense and involving. I'm thinking Tim Roth as Arthur, Arnie Schwartz as Ragen, Dane Cook as Tommy, Natalie Portman as Adalana, Natasha Henstridge as April, the girl in the cage from POTA as Christene, Dane Cook as Kevin, Adam Ferrara as Phil, Allesandro Nivola as Allen, the Jerry Maguire kid as Shawn, Jeff Bridges as Gary, Bill Paxton (of course) as Chalmer, and Brad Pitt himself as Billy Milligan. And Jimbo directing. This would be a great return to film for him! Elegant and interesting, with some scenes that would require his visual style (the spot, the eel shoot-out, the opening/closing credits). It would be a mustard stain of awesome on a checkered dress shirt of FUNK! KEEP JOEL SHUMACHER AWAY FROM THIS!!! This has been a Moment with User ID Indeed! And then he took me to Wendy's... for a burger.

  • Sept. 25, 2001, 5:56 p.m. CST

    Retrospective Question

    by Kiyone

    ""The Terminator

  • Sept. 25, 2001, 11:39 p.m. CST

    JonQ--

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    >>"I'm no Cameron expert, but I'd be willing to be the Abyss is his most personal movie."<< I don't know about *most* personal, since I don't know the guy, but I do know a lot of the tension between Bud and Lindsey is directly based on Cameron's tension with Gale Anne Hurd. This had to be interesting on the set of the film, since they were in the midst of / had just gone through their divorce. It could explain a bit. And as far as him being one of "the greats" as a director, I have to admit that, for my money, his directing skills have always taken a backseat to his writing skills. His direction is invisible to me. Aside from the heavy blue lighting or the heavy amber lighting in just about any given scene, his directorial "style" seems simply a matter of function. No unmotivated camera moves or editing that brings attention to itself, no funky framing or composition craziness. He's much more McTiernan than DiPalma, you know?

  • Sept. 25, 2001, 11:48 p.m. CST

    User ID --

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    Party on, Garth!! Actually, the last time I read the script was over a year ago, so it's kind of hard for me right now to match up your casting suggestions with the characters. One interesting thing, though, was when I read Big Jim say he had been talking with John Cusack (yes! John Fucking Cusack!) to play Billy Milligan. When I read that, I couldn't imagine anybody else in the role. It'd be Oscar Gold for the guy, if you ask me. Too bad, though, that the real Milligan became too difficult to work with on the project, as well as the chick Jim was going to co-produce with making things so hard. The whole thing got scrapped, if I'm not mistaken. Still... I'd give my right nut to direct the thing myself. It's my ultimate "If I won the Hollywood lottery and could make any film I want" dream. Oh, and speaking of scripts on the Internet... any idea where the hairy hell I could get my hands on a copy of "Bright Angel Falling"??? This has been a moment of Lightstormer pal-ing around with User ID Indeed. ("Wendy's?" "For a burger.")

  • Sept. 26, 2001, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Kiyone : regarding the T1 documentary -- (The Cameron expert is

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    >> "I have the original VHS release of T2 from Carolco & Live Home Video (Catalogue number: 68952), and there's no such thing; just the movie and zilch extras. Does Ms. DuPont mean the original T2 Special Edition VHS set (originally put on LD)?" <<Actually, she kind of got it wrong, too. The T1 retrospective (along with the T2 making-of doco and trailers for both films)was put on a bonus tape on the "Terminator Collection" Limited Edition release. They were packaged in a box about 14" high, about 2" deep, 10" wide, with black vinyl covering and a hologram of Arnie / the endoskeleton in the center. What was mainly special about this version, besides the bonus tape, was that this was the first Letterboxed VHS release of either film. It came out in 1992, pre-dating the T2 SE video by about a year. >> "Did the T2 Special Edition VHS tapes have anything not found in the Ultimate Edition DVD set?" << No, all the bonus tape had was the "T2 - More Than Meets The Eye" doco we have on the DVD (but was sliced up and interspersed throught the LD's supplement chapters,) and the 3 domestic trailers and Pioneer's SE trailer. However, the LaserDisc did have one thing all its own; the "You Could Be Mine" video from Guns N Roses. Apparently, the rights were no longer abailable by the time the DVD was created, so it went bye-bye. As am I...

  • Sept. 26, 2001, 1:42 a.m. CST

    Cool designs on the cheap!

    by Syd Mead

    T1 made me take notice of design. Even when it first came out it was regarded as the perfect B movie. But what made it unique were those few moments when you were dumped in the ultimate distopia with fuckin' flying death machines!! Hk's? Killer robot tanks? It was H.G. Well's worst nightmare that was missing from modern Sci-Fi films. That's what T2 lacked...plus not enough back story in the future with JC and no sex. (R rated movies are ALWAYS better...ex: Road Warrior vs. Thunder Dome) As for a good story...T1 is good or better than T2 at a fraction of the budget. T3 (which I have no hope for) would do well to stay away from present day L.A. and show man kind's last stand. Before it's ripped off from the Matrix series.