The Terminator was filmed in 1984 and released in the U. K. on the 11th January 1985. It was directed by James Cameron, who also co-wrote it with Gale Anne Hurrd. The film is a science fiction (sci-fi) action film. The leading actors and actresses of the Terminator are: Arnold Schwarzenegger the eponymous Terminator, Linda Hamilton who played Sarah Connor and Michael Beihn, Kyle Reese. Arnold Schwarzenegger an Austrian born, former Mr Universe, had made a few previous films, his breakthrough film being Conan the Barbarian in 1982.
The Terminator is Schwarzenegger’s best known role and propelled him into superstardom. The Terminator films were also high points in the careers of Hamilton and Beihn. The Terminator is a classic sci-fi action film, with a central mission, namely to save the human race, which is part of a wider struggle between men and machines. It uses an often used scenario of time travel to introduce amazing technology and effects into modern day, and some neat twists. The mission itself is one such twist going back in time to kill the mother of the man who will lead the resistance against the machines, before he is even born.
In an even greater twist the man, Kyle Reese, sent back to protect her from the Terminator becomes the father, creating a strange mobius loop. The Matrix was filmed in 1999, and released in the U. K. on 11th June 1999. It was written and directed by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski. The leading actors and actresses are Keanu Reeves who plays the central character of Neo (initially known as Thomas Anderson), Carrie-Anne Moss who plays Trinity, Laurence Fishburne, Morpheus, and Hugo Weaving who is the sinister Agent Smith .
Keanu Reeves had already performed in many films before The Matrix and was a well known actor, but the Matrix established him as a major star. Carrie-Anne Moss made a few films before the Matrix but the Matrix was her first big hit. Laurence Fishburne was already a well established stage and screen actor, but is now best known for playing Morpheus in the Matrix trilogy. Hugo Weaving had appeared in several films prior to The Matrix but this film enhanced his reputation and box office appeal. He has since appeared in other highly successful films including Lord of the Rings as well as the later Matrix films.
Neo is a computer programmer his ‘real’ name is Thomas A. Anderson. Later in the film it is revealed that Neo is ‘the one’ (Neo being an anagram of one). Trinity was freed from the Matrix by Morpheus and is a crewman of the Nebuchadnezzar. She falls in love with Neo. Agent Smith is an agent of the Matrix his job is to stop people escaping from the Matrix but he himself hates the Matrix and wants to get out of it. The film is a sci-fi action film. In The Matrix there is also a twist as there are two worlds, the real world and the Matrix.
The Matrix and The Terminator both have similar themes concerning a struggle between the human race and machines; this struggle is set in the future. However the Matrix which was filmed about 15 years later than The Terminator focuses more on computer programs and software viruses where as the Terminator focuses on mechanical robots. This mirrors advancements in computer technology between 1984 and 1999 and the rapid growth of the internet. The key conventions of each film can be characterised as a typical sci-fi action plot. The characters are typical of a sci-fi action film.
Each film has an element of quest for the ‘good guys’ whilst being chased by the bad guys who will do anything to thwart them. In The matrix Neo, Morpheus and his crew are being chased by agents. In The Terminator Sarah and Kyle Reese are being relentlessly pursued by The Terminator. The audience associate with this pursuit and feel the tension of trying to elude the mortal threat. Both films have moments of peril involving last minute escapes. In The Terminator Kyle Reese is chased by police and only just gets away. In both films most of the scenes are set at night which creates suspense and tension and makes the scenes scarier.
In The Matrix it seems as though Trinity is crushed in the phone box however she actually managed to escape the Matrix in the last second. In The Terminator the dress codes are more stereotypical; the women wear pink and the men wear black, but in the Matrix, Trinity, a woman, also wears black which demonstrates equality with the men. This indicates that this film is post feminist. The roles in The Terminator are gender specific; the women are saved and men are their saviours, but in The Matrix both the men and the women play an equal part with Trinity saving Neo more than once.
At the very beginning of The Matrix there are green symbols scrolling down a screen. There is a clicking sound as the numbers scroll down this makes the audience think there is some kind of machine that the numbers are on. It also shows that it is something from the future or something alien because there has never been anything like it. There is dramatic music in the background this is non-diegetic and makes the audience think all these systems are important. The foot steps of the police is the second thing you hear this is diegetic sound. You also see that the police are sneaking up the stairs of the hotel keeping low and alert.
There is still background music in a high minor key which is non-diegetic this raises the audience tension and expectation that something dramatic is about to happen and the way they are creeping around with guns ready makes the audience think they are after a serious criminal. The fact that you can hear the police footsteps shows creates a sense of isolation and helplessness. The fact that the police are walking slowly and the music is slow and steady creates suspense. When Trinity is fighting the policeman the film goes into slow motion which shows you how fast she is moving.
The music stops and you can hear the swish of her punches and kicks this is exaggerated diegetic sound. This gives Trinity a superhuman quality which could link in with the inhuman computer at the beginning. In the Terminator the first thing you hear is the music in the intro, the music is quite loud and action packed with a lot of brass which grabs the audience’s attention – expect high octane action. There are futuristic machines chasing after two men, the machines have laser guns and the men are wearing futuristic suits and have futuristic guns. The landscape is barren and bleak and looks like it has been destroyed perhaps in a war.
This creates in the audience a sense of a bleak and inevitable future. The next scene starts with a man in a forklift truck. A lightning storm appears over the forklift truck but it is only by the forklift it isn’t anywhere else. A man drops from the sky; the man is The Terminator; when he falls down he lands on his feet and he is naked. All of the lightning suggests this man is from the future. His fine muscular physique marks him out as powerful and possibly superhuman. When Kyle Rees falls down from the sky he falls sprawled on the floor which shows the audience he is weaker than the Terminator and that he is just human.
When the Terminator meets the punks he talks like a robot which tells the audience that The Terminator might not be human. When The Terminator is stabbed by one of the punks he does not seem injured at all and then he rips one of the punks heart out with out showing any emotion. This confirms the audience’s idea that The Terminator could be a robot. My favourite part of The Matrix is the scene when Trinity is being chased by the agents. I like this scene because it is action packed. I think the special effects used in it are very clever.
The way they slow down the sequence with Trinity fighting the policeman, and when she and the Agent jump over the huge gap between the rooftops it shows her superhuman speed and power. My favourite part of The Terminator is when The Terminator meets the punks because it shows how ruthless and inhuman he is when he rips out one of the punks hearts. The Terminator gets stabbed and he seems unaffected this tells me that the Terminator is not human. The Terminator was filmed in 1984 before post feminism when gender roles were still relatively traditional. This is shown by Susan Connor wearing a pink frilly apron which is stereotypical of women.
She is a waitress and is serving other people possibly stereotypical of women menial and low paid jobs. In the film the heroes and the villains are men and the women are there to be saved by men a classic view that goes back to fairytales. This indicates a society still dominated by traditional gender roles, men have the good jobs and are the heroes, with women in supporting roles and expecting to be protected and saved by men. The Matrix was filmed in 1999 and is a post feminist film. The gender roles have become blurred and men and women are more clearly equal.
This is shown by Trinity wearing black leather, trousers, and dark glasses. She is a figure of power and menace. Trinity is more than a match for the policeman and any other man. Trinity also has short hair which is not stereotypical for women as they are ‘supposed’ to have long hair. In the film both men and women are the heroes and villains there is no question that women are just as capable as men and that they don’t need to wait to rescued by men as ‘damsels in distress’. The director is showing the audience that women are equal to men, it isn’t just men who are heroes; women can be too and sometimes men need women to save them.