I have seen "The Terminator" many, many times. And surprisingly, somehow I don't have enough of it yet. When you watch the first Terminator (from 1984) you have to admire the fresh idea of the movie and they way it was made. There were no computers and "advanced movie technology" back then, you had to do everything yourself. And so the glimpses of the future had to actually be made and filmed instead of being created on the computer screen. Cameron had his special effect crew built a real skeleton of the Terminator, which took Stan Winston 6 months!!! The most memorable scene of the truck explosion at the end of the movie was filmed in a studio with a small truck being blown to bits. The pressure to do it right the first time was - as we can all imagine - enormous :)
I think that The Terminator and its 3 sequels show us the change in movie making and a totally new direction in the cinema. It can be clearly observed since the movies were released every - more or less - 10 years. I will try to explain my theory:
In the first movie from 1984 we have a human Kyle Reesefighting against a regular cyborg (if we can call a cyborg "regular") and protecting a delicate Sarah Connor. Everything in the movie was build from scratch and not much technology was used to make it the way it is.
In the second movie from 1991 (Terminator 2: JudgmentDay) the scenery changes and we notice certain advancements. The protector is no longer a mere human but T-800 himself (fine twist in here). Sarah is no longer a weak and delicate girl but a true rebel's mother. But the biggest (and the most interesting in my opinion) surprise is T-100 liquid metal Terminator (spectacular Robert Patric), who can change shapes whenever he wants. Thanks to images generated by computers we can watch the amazing hospital scene (in which T-1000 walks through the psychiatric hospital bars), car chase (when Sarah, John and T-800 shoot T-1000 and make holes in him) or the final scene when T-1000 melts. Big developments in characters and technology comparing to film number one.
In the third film from 2001 (Terminator 3: Rise ofthe Machines) we again have a better version of the protector T-850 and an ass kicking T-X, who can produce weapons out of her arms and is virtually indestructible (great idea to make the Terminator a girl). We have flying machines, car chases, robots and all sorts of special effects which can blow your mind. Comparing to parts 1 and 2 - more computer meddling.
And finaly film number four from 2007 (Terminator Salvation). I could write a lot here but I guess it's better to see it than read about it. Special effects, special effects and ... more special effects. Cannot get past it. Of course the action takes place in the future and there is war, so a certain amount of special effects is in order. In this movie you can see them all. Luckily we have too good actors playingJohn Connor and Marcus Wright who balance to movie nicely.
I like the Terminator for many reasons. Action, the idea, actors, famous quotes and yes - special effects. But mostly I like it because it started so small and not so expensive (the producer bought the rights to make the movie for 1$). This movie shows that dreams - in every sense of this word - can come true :)