Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ahhhhhhhrnold!

Ah, the Governator. Has anyone done more to promote the art of the sci-fi action movie? His resume reads like a pumped up sci-fi extravaganza, and don't we love him for it? Or maybe he's perfect for the medium because he looks just like a robot. Although, in the early days no one looked more like Conan the Barbarian than Schwarzenegger. This is one of the few sword and sorcery films Schwarzenegger did. As we all know, he wasn't likely cast for his acting skills but for his obvious brawn. But I still remember Conan fondly, especially Conan the Destroyer with Grace Jones. Not long after he made Conan, Schwarzenegger made what is still probably his best movie ever, The Terminator. I love The Terminator, and I think Terminator 2: Judgement Day is terrific too. I think in my mind these will always be the best movies James Cameron ever put out. If you are one of the few who haven't seen these movies, and you're a fan of sci-fi, you don't what you're missing. And talk about accuracy in casting, Schwarzenegger plays a cyborg; perfect! The Running Man came in 1987 and it's sort of what I think of as Steven King's take on the reality show Survivor. But the real genius of this movie was casting Richard Dawson as the host. The same year Predator came out. In this one Schwarzenegger's character, Dutch, finds himself fighting a deadly alien. This movie did well enough at the box office to merit a sequel in 1990. Though I mostly know the movie for all the one liners my husband loves to repeat ad nauseum. Dillon, you son of a bitch! Total Recall came in 1990. This was based on a Philip K. Dick novel, though mostly I just remember Kuato. ((shudder)) Eraser came in 1996, though I only remember the smallest of sci-fi elements in this. The 6th Day, a warm little movie about cloning and all kinds of violent mayhem came next. Actually, I liked this one. It doesn't dwell too much on the ethical reasons for or against cloning, but it does show what a future where cloning is commonplace might look like. Fun stuff. End of Days is another warm and fuzzy movie about Satan and the Apocalypse. But who doesn't love a movie about Satan. I especially like it when he looks like Gabriel Byrne. And then in 2003 he returned to his roots in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. This one wasn't as good as the earlier Terminator movies, especially without Linda Hamilton in my opinion. Though I did like the super cool Terminatrix. So there you have it. One heck of a list of sci-fi action movies. If Schwarzenegger isn't the patron saint of these kind of movies than I don't know who is.

13 comments:

Hey there, Skippy said...

Harrison Ford?

SQT said...

Harrison is definitely someone I'll have to feature. This post was kind of tounge-in-cheek, though Arnold has made many sci-fi films.

Harrison is obviously a better actor too.

DesLily said...

Arnold was PERFECT for the Conan movies! I loved those movies. He had some pretty good side characters with him in Mako as the wizard and of course James Earl Jones (along with Grace of course)

Ohhh woof! I will enjoy your post on Harrison!!

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I've always gone back and forth with my liking of Arnold movies. He'll be in some really good ones like True Lies or the Terminator movies, then he'll be in something like Last Action Hero or Raw Deal. Still, his movies are typically pretty fun and he doesn't take himself too seriously, either.

Irene said...

I'LL BE BACK! :p

Steven Novak said...

"It's not a tumor."

Steve~

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I agree; Lida Hamilton was an essential part of the Terminator movies.

Sqt, you are invited to the Enterprise Christmas Party, due to start week commencing Monday 4th December.

The closing date for submitting your entry is Wednesday 29th November.

For full details, visit my Journal at http://jlpicard.blogspot.com/

SQT said...

Thanks Jean-luc, I'd be happy to attend.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I must write about Arnold. If you want to really start to get a look into his personality, then may I suggest you take a look at the bodybuilding documentary: Pumping Iron. There, Arnold is shown as a driven man, with tremendous charisma but also an inflated sense of self. He was a perfect star for the eighties.

As an actor in science fiction and fantasy, Arnold was fun, but I wouldn't have considered him unexpendable. I think action stars like Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson were far more likeable and better at expressing a role. Even Sylvester Stallone seemed more likeable a person and took more dramatic chances. Arnold, on the other hand, was always Arnold. Even when playing comedy, the joke wasn't about the story, the joke was that it was Arnold playing against type. Think about Kindergarten Cop.

I don't mean to tread on toes here. I like Arnold films. They are a type of action movie. Arnold means you are about to engage in ninety minutes of total self indulgent escapism with no redeeming value. However, we can't kid ourselves about the quality of these motion pictures.

Conan, for example (and especially the ill fated sequel) were hardly noteworthy films. The script for Conan, provided by Oliver Stone and John Milius was an embarassment. Character development was non existent and the waste of such actors as James Earl Jones and Max Von Sydow made me want to cry. Fans of the Conan series felt horribly cheated. Had it not been for the grotesque marketing of Dino DeLaurentiis (don't get me started on this man), this overblown production would have quietly and deservedly slipped into a oblivion.

I think what would be more fun in dissecting Arnold would be trying to pick which of these following turkeys were his worst:

"Junior"--dear God...pregnant Arnold

"Last Action Hero"..Arnold The Icon

"True Lies" Arnold The Misogynistic.

"Red Head" Arnold as Russian.

"The Villian"..an Austrian cowboy...lordy.

SQT said...

Stewart, as always I love your post.

I like to feature people like Arnold for the very reason that he's fun to dissect. There's no Oscar winning fare here. And Sylvester Stallone will always kind of win the Arnold v. Sly contest if only for Rocky. (Though I like to pretend that Rocky V never happened)

But I do like a lot of movies Arnold made because they are mindless fun. I believe entertainment should be escapist. I don't tend to be a fan of overwrought dramas, which I assume is obvious.

Asara Dragoness said...

Stewart!!
You forgot Twins!!
Arnold singing "Yakety Yak" on a plane.
hee hee!

Stewart Sternberg said...

Ah, I left Twins out because I think it is one of the few Arnold films I respect as film. There are three of them:
Twins, Commando,Terminator ( one and two) and Predator. I know some of you will raise your eyebrows at those three, but I can detail in length at some later date why I have given these five my own seal of approval.

As for Terminator Three? An Arnoldless Terminator? I suppose there is something to be said about the kickass female who was able to do some rather amazing things with her body (I pause and consider that statement), but Terminator without Arnold is like Animal House without Bluto.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Okay five. I changed my mind as I was writing. Five films. Don't make me turn this goddam car around.