Come with me if you want to live. Mid the tumult, these are the first words Sarah Connor hears. The man speaking to her has already shot a man who was trying to kill her. She cannot act – fear of death has paralyzed her. Then the man, shot several times at close range, arises anew. Then the woman runs with the man who is trying to save her life.
He explains to her that the robots have traveled back in time in order to kill her. He implies her life is of no importance in itself – but she will one day be a mother – her son is important. The woman, unmarried, unattached – her boyfriend cancels their date – is not particularly persuaded. First chance she gets, she calls her mother.
The Terminator’s shape is a reproach, indeed a terror unto mankind. The sculptural pose it assumes when it first appears in Los Angeles certainly is impressive. The man says it can bleed & sweat; he leaves crying unmentioned. It is excessively manly, let us say. It toils always. But the human shape already implies the inability of the machines to destroy the human beings. The machines are imperfect imitators; their order is deficient. Why are humans irreplaceable?
That mothers bear children is not the crucial thing. It preserves the species. However, industrial production might be the preferable alternative. It is bearing love & sacrificing one’s life that is the crucial thing. The man conceived of this woman from a picture & fell in love with her. He is willing to die for her & this enhances his already impressive resources. We may say the human inclination to employ likenesses & metaphors bespeaks an awareness of abilities that science cannot reduce & which is cannot, perhaps, overcome.
The sex scene shows the fundamental difference between the human beings & the robots. Human nature is male & female. Robots might just be perfect… But then again the woman begets of this man from the future a child, a boy destined to do great, warlike deeds. Her great resourcefulness does not show here, but it is not the sort of thing that shows when it first comes into being.
The robots seem to have understood that killing the mother of the man may be a better way of winning a war than fighting the man; just like men tend to think it is fated that a great son come of a great mother, so robots just think that any woman bearing a certain name might be the mother of a son bearing the same name. Greatness in the human beings is less conventional than mankind believes & also less arbitrary than it would seem to a scientist.
James Cameron’s first movie, a fearful propchecy.