Someone over at Amazon has posted a list of intelligent sci-fi movies. All the usual suspects are there: 2001 – A Space Odyssey, Primer, Blade Runner, The Matrix, Gattaca, Dark City, etc.
But two of the listed movies gave me pause: Terminator and 2010. Is it a case of a misclassification? Do they really belong there? Sure they do. Why the pause, then? I’ll tell you. But only if you travel back with me to the long-gone days of 1984…
Back then, when the multiplex theater was new (Are there any single screen, first-run theaters left?), a friend and I decided to take the plunge and see two movies back-to-back. Committing 224 minutes of sitting motionless on a weekend night was new to us, but we were men enough to handle it, we thought.
The first movie we saw was The Terminator. You remember your first viewing of that, don’t you? It was a blast. Ah-nuld, as an unstoppable killing machine from the future, was shooting everything in sight. It had non-stop action and special effects, two things which encompass everything a teenager could want in a movie. (Well, almost everything. We were teenagers, you know.)
The second movie we saw was 2010 which not only lacked the wanton destruction of The Terminator, but was, cerebrally speaking, the Professor to The Terminator‘s Gilligan. We still had our minds in the SkyNet future and here was Dr. Floyd talking about aliens, monoliths and the next step for mankind. The context switch was laughable to us at the time.
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