Discuss about the Article for Terminator Movie Applied Analysis.
Horror, science fiction, myth, has been the sub genres under the much vast genre of fiction. However, the sub genres serve to different tastes of different audiences. Science fiction involves technologies, new and often-unidentified creatures, which serve to the entertainment of the audience (Cashbaugh 63) on the other hand the mythic movies, possess one or multiple ancient myths as their base and divine or evil creatures as mentors and obstacles respectively (Sanders 120). However, the common factor every genre of the movie contains is the journey of the hero and the win of truth over evil. However to focus on the genre of science fiction, the movies do not necessarily put a human to be the hero. However, a science fiction contains multiple elements and layers to define the specific qualities of the genre. To follow Sontag’s theory of Science fiction movies an element, definitely counts to be is the disaster or as she puts it ‘the imagination of disaster’ (Sontag 10). Apart from the apocalyptic approach, the arrival of the ‘thing’ counts to be an important element in a science fiction movie. The ‘thing’ not necessarily is always a creature as the fictional Jurassic Park puts it, it can be a ‘cyborg’ machine as in The Terminator, or even an unidentified alien Virus as in The Thing. With the others, the technologies make up to be an important element of the genre of science fiction movies.
The following essay in a detailed analysis and further discussion of the elements attempts to bring out a critical review of the movie, The Terminator. The movie is analyzed and judged from the perspective of a science fiction movie further applying Susan Sontag’s characteristics.
The first and most important element in a science fiction movie as Sontag puts it is the element of disaster. Sontag in her essay mentions the age to be the age of extremity for human live under a threat of ‘two equally fearful, but seemingly opposed, destinies’ (Sontag 12). However, to analyze the atmosphere of the terminator, the movie adheres much to the opening analysis of Sontag. The terminator deals with a ‘cyborg’ bent on destroying Sarah Connor. The movie involves a mechanical ‘terminator’, his means of destruction exceeds the borders of normality hence tending towards extremity. Much like an alien invasion, as movies like Independence Day or the Jurassic Park puts it, the Terminator showcases all the means of extremity; from destroying buildings to the public transports and vehicles. However, be it a limitation of the science fictions in present days or the demand of the mass, science fictions have limited themselves in the extremities of radiation, destruction (Sontag 13) and too many virtual facts. Nevertheless, these features of the movie which is different from the regular phenomena brings out the sense of ‘otherness’, ‘alien-ness’ (Sontag 13) makes the world different from the other planet.
Another element of the movie that adheres to Sontag’s characteristic of a science fiction movie is the arrival of the protagonist. No matter how many lead characters do a movie incorporate, the ‘thing’ in a movie always remains the protagonist of it. It is this ‘thing’ around which the actions of the movie revolve and the entry is ensured much theatricality. For example, no matter which hero and heroine has been roped in for the movie, the protagonist of Jurassic park will always remain the dinosaurs, movies like The Independence Day, the Transformers are no difference. The Terminator remains a bit different for the lead hero and the ‘thing’ remains the same. Sontag in her essay on science fiction puts the entry as the beginning of the rising action putting the entry at the beginning of her model scenario (Sontag 14). The Terminator as well begins the movie with the rising action noting the entry of the ‘cyborg’, named the Terminator. However, it is important in a science fiction to mark a distinct entry of the ‘thing’. Together the ‘hero’ and the ‘thing’ make the two worlds distinctly different, the Earth and the apocalyptic world, which has faced the extreme effect of science. As in the terminator the cyborg comes to destroy Sarah Connor, and it is the representative of the human though from the dystopian world itself, the audience get to know about the fictional truths of the world; of Skynet, the nuclear holocaust and the rally of John (Sarah’s future son) to fight for the human. However, both the arrivals being from the future times, in case of the concerned movie, it is important to make a distinct and theatrical entry for the ‘thing’ to mark the antagonist from the beginning.
Another important element as Sontag puts is the technologies in a science fiction movie. The technologies, the instruments or weapons as a science fiction movie hands to its heroes/ villains is distinctly different from the one seen in planet earth. However, movies like Avatar, is an exception to this concept. In Avatar it is the human who applies the much unknown instruments and elements whereas the ‘things’ in the movie relies more on natural and metaphysical powers. However, to focus on Terminator, the ‘terminator’ itself is a technological specimen, much like a ‘transhuman’. He has as Kyle, the human representative mentions a metal endoskeleton with an external layer of living tissue which makes him look human. However, such a creature is alien to any human. Sontag in her essay theorizes the use of technology in the science fiction movies, stating that the hero sets the plan to defeat the enemy and ‘deploy a complex technology which finally prevails against the invaders’ (Sontag 20). In The Terminator itself, Kyle and Sarah, (the hero on the good side and the heroin making a team) lines pipe bombs to defeat the terminator. Nevertheless, pipe bombs though a simple weapon to use, the application of it remains strategic and complex enough to divert and later leading the destroy the terminator. Similar strategy can be seen it The Independence Day as well, where the strategic and complex use of existing human technologies defeat the powerful aliens.
The theme of the movie over all lies in the genre of science fiction and follows the aspects of the genre. The cyborg as a terminator, the rescuer and the heroin, the lead characters and their actions precisely make up the atmosphere of a science fiction. The movie as being a part of the vast genre of fantasy follows the tradition of the win of good over evil though at the cost of a life and loss of a loved one. However, the unknown mechanism, technologies and weapons used by the terminator feels the audience with awe. Moreover the technologies and virtual facts adheres much to what Jurassic World tells; the world exists to show how small human is, how new. Nevertheless, this comes because of man’s own ambitious experiments with science (Cashbaugh 87).
However, to conclude it may be said that though there are much other factors works in The Terminator, the movie first and most importantly adheres to the genre or sub genre o science fiction. Much similar to the movies like, The Forbidden Planet, IRobot, Independence Day, or Avatar, the movie portrays man’s destruction of the nature and itself, and another man’s attempt to save the humanity. With this simple idea and the conclusion of win over the evil the technologies, a dystopian world, unknown virtual codes and time travel are the element that makes up the movie to be a successful science fiction complying much with Sontag’s characteristics of it.
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