10 Questions I Have About ‘The Terminator’

James Cameron has become known as an audience whisperer. Every boondoggle or gamble he’s involved in ends up becoming the most popular movie of all time. He even knows when audiences want another Avatar before they do.

But before he was Big Jim, he was a special effects guy looking to grab his own camera. After an inauspicious directorial debut with Piranha II: The Spawning, he went big with 1984’s The Terminator, which he also co-wrote.

The film became a modest box office success, grossing $38 million —— Orion Picture’s highest total of the year. (The studio’s big bet that year, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club, bombed, but its Amadeus nabbed best picture.) Cameron’s directorial career was born and star Arnold Schwarzenegger went from fledgling actor to international star.

But I have some questions about the 1984 sci-fi classic:

  1. What’s the record for most future wives of James Cameron involved in one James Cameron film? It might be this one. Producer Gale Anne Hurd married Cameron a year after this film’s release. In 1989, he released Hurd from her marital contract in favor of Kathryn Bigelow. That marriage lasted two years before he shacked up with Terminator star Linda Hamilton. So, he had two entire marriages before he got together with Hamilton. Just saying, there’s still time for Sigourney.
  1. The dystopic wasteland depicted in this film is set in 2029. Or was the real wasteland 1984 Los Angeles all along?
  1. Quiz: Which actor has appeared in the most James Cameron movies? He’s known for re-using stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger (3 films), Sigourney Weaver (3), Lance Henriksen (3) and even Kate Winslet (2). But Bill Paxton actually nabs four appearances, his first as “Punk Leader” in this film. Cameron liked Paxton so much that he added 45 minutes to Titanic just so he could shoehorn him in. (Little known fact: In that film, Michael Biehn plays the iceberg.)
  1. Aren’t there easier ways to find out the current date than holding a gun to a cop’s head? Like, I don’t know, checking a calendar?
  2. Wait, so you had to wait 15 days to buy a handgun but you could get an Uzi on the spot? America!
  3. Why wasn’t Rick Rossovich in more stuff? Did he get typecast as a volleyball player?
  1. Let me get this straight: The machines in the future kept some humans alive because the machines can do everything but dispose of bodies? It’s good to know AI won’t be taking all the jobs.
  2. Seems like the ventilation isn’t too great in the rebels’ smoke-filled underground bunker…with open flames. Are there no carbon monoxide detectors in the future? Did they just disable anything with batteries? I guess you never know when your household appliances will become sentient and/or try to kill you.
  3. So, you’re just going to have sex with your friend’s mom? That’s kind of messed up, Michael Biehn.
  4. Oh, you have some questions about how time travel is presented in the film? I don’t. It all checks out.

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