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Donovan’s Movie Homework: Terminator and Alien

Donovan’s Movie Homework: Terminator and Alien

I finally watched the Terminator and Alien films for the first time, they’re pretty good!

Pharaoh721

I love movies. They rival games as my favorite form of entertainment. However, I don’t consider myself a movie buff, because there’s just far too many holes in my cinema knowledge. Being born in the late 90s and growing up in the 2000s, there’s a bunch of iconic flicks that I simply missed out on, unless I’ve made the effort to seek them out. This past week, I watched Terminators 1-3 (plus Dark Fate), as well as the original two Alien movies. Turns out, they’re not half bad!

Terminator

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Let’s start with The Terminator. I’m a sucker for time travel BS in my entertainment, so it’s a bit shocking that I hadn’t given these movies a spin earlier. The Terminator has a deceptively simple premise, and is a fun game of cat and mouse from beginning to end. I know that it’s a killing machine, but damn, the T-800 is BRUTAL. I mean, he literally grabbed a phone book and was like “I’m not sure which one of these people is the Sarah Connor I’m looking for, so I’ll just kill ALL of them.” That’s hardcore. Could you imagine the fear you’d experience when you turn on the news and see that two other people with your name were murdered in the last 24 hours? Woof. 

I also really appreciate how it’s a clear open and close story. Though the franchise might have gone to hell and back with timeline shenanigans, it’s cool to see that the original Terminator story is easy to follow, and doesn’t feel like it requires a follow up. Of course, it got one, so let’s talk about that.

T2: Judgement day is simply one of the greatest sequels I’ve ever seen. The way it takes so many elements and themes from the first movie and completely flips them on their head is nothing short of brilliant. 30 years later, the special effects are still damn good. We actually get to meet John Connor, and he’s easily one of the better child characters/actors I’ve ever seen. Putting a kid in the leading role could have very easily tanked the movie, but it didn’t!

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I also really love that both of these movies feel like preambles. We constantly hear about this apocalyptic-level war between man and machine, but we only get very brief glimpses of it. It’s really cool and clever that they chose to tell the story from this angle. James Cameron’s work on these films laid the groundwork for so many action movies to come down the road.

Alien

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More recently, I watched Alien and Aliens. Can I just start by saying that the naming convention there is just slick as hell? I love a cleverly named movie sequel that isn’t just “____ 2” and I don’t know if anything will ever top going from Alien to Aliens. 

The first Alien movie is much more scary than I was expecting it to be. With the crew of a spaceship being hunted down by a killer Xenomorph, it felt like a classic slasher movie set in outer space. I already know that Ripley makes it out alive, but I was still so nervous in the closing minutes of the film. Again, man, these special effects still hold up extremely well.

The premise for Aliens is awesome. We pick up right after the first film, except instead of the 6-week trip she thought that she was embarking on, Ripley wakes up 57 years later. In the first movie, the one Xenomorph wreaking havoc on the Nosotros crew was terrifying. Aliens ups the ante by throwing a dozen of these deadly creatures, plus a Queen, at our main characters. However, Aliens is less horror, and more action. 

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This is where Ripley is really established as one of the firsts action heroines in film. Watching her throw herself into danger and take on these creatures, knowing just how dangerous they are, is cool as hell. She’s fearless, brave, and capable. I also love the relationship between Ripley and Newt. With Ripley being such a badass, Newt often falling into harm's way really ups the stakes for the viewer. Like T2, Aliens is one of the best movie sequels ever produced. Man, James Cameron has one hell of a resume, huh?


Another similarity between the Alien and Terminator franchise is that they both have a bunch of sequels, sequels that are quite divisive among fans. I’ve seen T3 (it’s ok) and Dark Fate (solid movie), but i'm debating if I should even bother watching Terminator 4 and 5. I haven’t watched an Alien flick outside of the first two, but am having the same internal discussion about those sequels as well. Please, let me know if you think those movies are worth watching, and give me some more film recommendations on stuff I might have missed out on!

From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 18, 2021 10:53 AM

    Donovan’s Movie Homework: Terminator and Alien

    Read more: Donovan’s Movie Homework: Terminator and Alien

    • reply
      March 18, 2021 11:09 AM

      Turns out, they’re not half bad!

      Truer words have never been written. :)

      I have a confession -- I never saw Alien/Aliens until I was in my 40s myself. Somehow I'd skipped them growing up, and what got me to finally watch them was Chris Remo saying "Oh that's where video games come from" after seeing Aliens himself. lol

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        March 18, 2021 11:17 AM

        Haha, Greg yelled at me enough that I finally sat down and watched them. I was just glad that they lived up to the hype!

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          March 18, 2021 11:19 AM

          Have you seen Schwarzenegger’s oeuvre?

          Predator
          Running Man
          Total Recall

          Are my favorites of his movies.

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            March 18, 2021 11:21 AM

            Commando?
            Conan?

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            March 18, 2021 11:29 AM

            Do Predator, Twins, Running Man, Kindergarten Cop, Total Recall. Not in order but he shot all those between 87-90. That's an enjoyable bunch of movies imo. And T2 is '91! fuuuuu

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              March 18, 2021 11:43 AM

              I've seen Kindergarten Cop!

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              March 18, 2021 5:02 PM

              RAW DEAL is on HBO now for all you pretend Schwarzenegger fans.

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            March 18, 2021 11:43 AM

            Nope, nope, and nope

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      March 18, 2021 11:20 AM

      FOR THE FIRST TIME??????????

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      March 18, 2021 11:28 AM

      Jesus....

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      March 18, 2021 11:31 AM

      Alien3 was good enough to be watched once from what I remember.

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        March 18, 2021 11:42 AM

        I've heard some vastly mixed opinions, I'll probably give it a whirl

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          March 18, 2021 8:29 PM

          Just go in knowing that it is completely different from the other two, it is ultimately a character movie about dealing with grief and the stages of acceptance, and that it is a miracle that it is coherent at all given all of the director changes and the fact that they didn't really have a script nailed down.

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        March 18, 2021 12:39 PM

        It's a very different film from the first two. If you can, choose the "Assembly Cut" version. It's still not the movie Fincher wanted to make, but it's more cohesive and adds half an hour of story and background. If you're curious about what happened there, check out the making of doc Wreckage and Rage.

        It still won't make the people who hated the movie for what it does to a few characters happy though!

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          March 18, 2021 12:41 PM

          Oh, and don't even bother with Resurrection unless you're in the mood for a mindless action flick that wastes its talent.

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            March 18, 2021 4:58 PM

            Resurrection is only worth seeing to compare IFF you have read William Gibson's unused script for Alien 3, so you can see the HUGE CHUNKS OF IT in Alien 4 haphazardly thrown together. Dark Horse did a 4 issue mini of the Unproduced Screenplay last year.

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              March 18, 2021 5:05 PM

              Oh man, you're making me want to watch it again now! I haven't seen it in 20 years, so I missed all that stuff.

              Not sure I want to watch them trash Ripley's character again tho...

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                March 18, 2021 5:14 PM

                I liked the Mercs interplay and their relationships with the Base Staff.

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                  March 18, 2021 5:24 PM

                  A little Ron Perlman in hardass mode is always welcome, too 😁

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            March 18, 2021 8:27 PM

            Resurrection is pure garbage, one of the worst sequels I have ever seen.

            Precursor to the Joss Whedon soy trash we've lived in over the last 20 years

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              March 18, 2021 9:06 PM

              And we could've just had a good Alien 3 instead, and then this would've been something else entirely.

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                March 18, 2021 9:20 PM

                It shouldn't have existed in the first place, with or without Alien 3. Alien 3 is a deeply flawed movie with terrific performances and some good scenes. Resurrection has nothing redeemable about it. Even the cinematography and production design can't compete with how dogshit everything they are supporting is

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                  March 18, 2021 9:25 PM

                  That said, none of the AvP or Scott sequels should have existed either. Studios gonna studio!

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                  March 18, 2021 9:45 PM

                  Nah I mean if they'd used the Gibson Alien 3 script, they couldn't have used its butchered corpse for Resurrection. And 3 would have been good.

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                    March 18, 2021 9:46 PM

                    Also, I liked AvP:R, I don't care what anyone says. It was just 300% too dark, lighting-wise. I loved the return to Horror.

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                      March 18, 2021 10:14 PM

                      Its not even scary though, just mean spirited and gross. Glad you liked it but I get why it was so badly received

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                    March 18, 2021 10:15 PM

                    No Ripley in that version if I remember correctly.

                    There were a dozen stories for Alien 3 and who knows if any of them would have been any good. Probably not!

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      March 18, 2021 11:59 AM

      The Terminator has the only product placement I don't mind.

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      March 18, 2021 12:25 PM

      T5 was stupid but T4 made me angry

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      March 18, 2021 1:45 PM

      I would also watch this movie (and this seems as good a thread as any to post this in) https://imgur.com/gallery/EsBaCM7

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        March 18, 2021 3:46 PM

        Holy shit lmfao this is amazing. I'd lowkey watch this movie

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      March 18, 2021 3:47 PM

      Better Late than never

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      March 18, 2021 4:31 PM

      If you stop after just 2 Alien movies. you are doing it right.

      while there is *some* good stuff in the follow-on flicks, they are all letdowns in retrospect

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        March 18, 2021 4:39 PM

        Basically, quitting after 2 is "retiring undefeated"

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          March 18, 2021 10:09 PM

          That is true with both the Alien and Terminator franchises. I've watched Alien/Aliens and Terminator 1 & 2 with my oldest son. He loved the movies but I haven't bothered with watching the movies in those franchises that came after that.

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      March 18, 2021 5:02 PM

      Yes! Alien is straight Sci-Fi Horror, while Aliens is a Lost Soldier Squad movie. Both have that delicious "OMG Why do you trust Corps!?!?" through-line.
      And each shows explicitly why you don't trust Corps.

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      March 18, 2021 8:28 PM

      A+ movies. I'm extremely partial to the horror OGs but the sequels are good too!

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