The Terminator (1984) is one of my favorite movies, and quite possibly the movie I watched the most often. Furthermore, I like it better and better the more often I watch it, albeit I also notice the occasional minor issues, like Schwarzenegger’s character walking with a noticeable spring in one scene, which is out of place as he is supposed to play a cyborg. Still, none of this affects your suspension of disbelief.
The sense of dread in The Terminator is second to none. The movie was shot at dark, and the camera angles are very well chosen. The iconic arrival scene provides several examples:
At 1:16 there is a shot of Schwarzenegger’s upper body, but angled and shot from below so that he appears even more threatening. The deadpan expression of Schwarzenegger’s face shows that the terminator is not to be messed with, and this effect is even more powerful in later shots that fully focus on his face. At 2:30, you also see a brutal killing. Within a less than three minutes, you know what kind of movie you are watching, and it only gets better afterwards.
Let us now fast forward a mere seven years. The sequel Terminator 2 was released in 1991, and the first few minutes give you the impression that this movie belongs to an entirely different scene. Here is the arrival scene of this movie:
First, you notice that it is significantly longer than the original (4:53 vs 3:15). It also lacks the dread of the prequel. Sure, the terminator is still a killing machine, but there are several scenes that are supposed to defuse tension before it is even built properly, like the women checking him out. Also, when he enters the bar at 1:38, Schwarzenegger fills only a small part of the scene. Thus, this angle deemphasizes his physique. The camera is also level with his body. Thus, the director went out of his way to make him look less powerful.
Note that the attack at 2:50 is somewhat humorous. Some people laugh at it when there is probably nobody who ever laughed at any scene in The Terminator. The kitchen scene in Terminator 2 is really tame compared to that punk in The Terminator getting his heart ripped out. Well, the movie does not get more brutal afterwards, but it repeatedly attempts to make you laugh, with some pretty lame jokes.
The absolutely worst part of the arrival scene in Terminator 2 is at 3:30 when some licensed rock music plays (“Bad to the Bone”). It frames this scene as comedic, and it gets worse soon after when the terminator snatches the pumpgun out of the hands of that rocker. Sadly, we hit rock-bottom moments later when the main character takes the sun glasses to look cool. At this point, you wonder if Terminator 2 is a parody.
I have watched Terminator 2 two or three times in my life. Every time I watch it, I find it more and more cringe-worthy. It is a lame popcorn-movie sequel for basically the entire family, but it is not edgy in any way. Due to the heavy use of CGI effects, this movie also does not hold up well visually. In contrast, there are many scenes in the prequel that are absolutely masterful. There is nothing remotely as good as the Tech Noir scene in Terminator 2, for instance. Below is the eponymous music video by Perturbator:
Hollywood ditched masculinity in movies in the 1990s, and it only got worse over time. You can see early signs of the utter faggotry movie studios ended up churning out a few years later in Terminator 2, and if you compare it with the raw masculinity of the original, it is quite shocking how quickly Hollywood turned its back on masculinity in movies.