Episode 5

The Terminator (1984) and Aliens (1986)

In the fifth episode of our Future Wars cycle, we tackle two giant films from the action sci fi maestro James Cameron: The Terminator (1984) and Aliens (1986).

Special Guest: David Riedel, film critic and co-host of the great Spoilerpiece Theatre podcast.

James Cameron is a master filmmaker. This two film run in the mid 1980s is iconic, legendary, and ground-breaking. When we think of this cycle's theme, Future Wars, we are ultimately thinking of Cameron and his oeuvre. The status of Terminator and Aliens is well-established, but it is interesting to look back at the actual films themselves instead of the cultural miasma surrounding them. Peeking behind the curtain is risky. A film that seemed powerful and important can easily be defrocked by time and an ever-changing collective consciousness. Terminator and Aliens have defied this normal cycle of art criticism. If anything, their power and status has been consistently reified decade and decade since their release. Perhaps if anything, the greatness of these films makes us mourn the loss of Cameron to the technical three ring circus of Avatar. What could have been becomes palpable when imbibing the tech noir vibes of Terminator or sweaty machismo of Aliens.