The film starts with a black screen, the music is very dramatic and menacing, it tells the viewer that something sinister is going to take place. The first credit appears, it is written in a futuristic font, a hint to the science fiction genre of the film. The scene starts with an image of an establishing- shot of a high street. It is bright summer day in Los Angeles and we can see lots of cars moving on a busy road, we move to a slow- motion shot of children playing on swings, they give the sense of innocence along with the happy feel of the sunny weather, to contrast with the daunting music.Order now
The colour starts to fade, as an apocalyptic burning light dominates the screen until the screen is completely white. The words “Los Angeles 2029 A. D. ” fade in as we go from joyful images of children to ones of death and destruction, the music has stopped and all that can be heard is the wind and a creaking sound, making the viewer cringe, the camera pans over more and more images of death, a wrecked car containing a skeleton driver, skulls scattered underneath a dark and gloomy sky, questions are running through the viewers mind, how and why has this happened?
The playground where young children where playing in the previous scene is now in ruins, as we see the skulls of children on the burnt ground next to charred swings and toys, the viewer feels saddened, shocked and sympathetic in the scary silence, which only makes it more intense as the camera stops on the image of a small skull, a depressing voice of a woman is heard “Three billion human lives ended on August 29, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day.
They lived only to face a new nightmare, a war against the machines… ” Suddenly a metallic foot of a robotic figure crushes the small skull along with a bone crushing sound as it shatters to pieces, this is extremely unexpected so the viewer immediately jumps. The camera pans up to reveal the evil looking chrome figure, it is skeleton like with human features, supporting a massing gun. The brutal robot scans the landscape, showing the machine has piecing red, deep set eyes.
Bombs explode whilst laser beams shoot across the sky, the camera zooms in of the track of a massive tank representing tanks that have been used in many real life wars shooting lasers whilst crushing masses more skulls, representing the massacre and mass destruction of this mechanical force, that has no mercy or respect for the dead, and which can only be described as wicked. The evil has spread, not only by land, but flying aircraft shoots from the sky. There are close ups of one of the tanks arms shooting lasers, to give a direct impact, as with a shot of a robot shooting straight at the viewer.
The camera uses long shots to show the extent of the damage. Soldiers are being blasted to death, a vehicle full of men blown up, all by the terrifying and relentless machine, one of many that seem to invincible, whilst brave and courageous soldiers attempt to battle them, but failing, with bullets simply pinging of their strong armour. The camera shows low angle images, making the machines to even more powerful. The music is a grinding industrial sound, there is a full-scale conflict happening and the human army are losing.
One aircraft is destroyed, showing a glimpse of hope for the human defence. One human fighter is seen walking into a tunnel as the voice heard earlier starts speaking again, full of soldiers, as the camera follows behind him, each soldier salutes him, so we know that he plays and important role, the voice explains “The computer which controlled the machines, Skynet, sent two terminators back through time. Their mission: to destroy the leader of the human Resistanceâ€¦ John Conner-” the man walks out of the tunnel with pride and looks through a pair of binoculars heroically “my son”.
This emphasises the importance of this one man, a true leader. The voice continues to explain the background information to the viewer “The first terminator was programmed to strike at me, in the year 1984… before John was born. It failed. The second was sent to strike at John himself, when he was still a child. As before, the Resistance was able to send a lone warrior. A protector for John. It was just a question of which one of them would reach him first. ”
Whilst the voice is speaking the camera pans in on the strong and tough face of John Conner, until flames dominate the image, the title of the film and the credits are shown with heroic music playing, while the screen burns violently. We see images of the battlefield in flames, including the children’s playground, swings still swinging, burning until the face of one of the robots are shown, the shiny evil human skull like looking face, zooming in on the piecing red dot eyes staring at the viewer. The scene suddenly comes to an end. Conclusion
In conclusion, I think that the film has an excellent opening, packed with action and special effects making it grab the viewer using music to express emotions- scary, destructive and heroic that only emphasises the visual dynamite, within the footage. It starts by putting questions in the viewers mind, how and why did this happen? It reveals the answers using a battle scene that is extremely shocking and directed at the viewer. The idea of the human force being destroyed by a humanoid, robotic army is terrifying, and the use of the voice of a mother talking about the one hope the human beings have- her son.
The burning flames make the viewer feel as if they are inside a furnace, and my favourite shot is one of the children’s playground on fire, just because there is nothing more disturbing when the words violence and destruction are mixed with children. The only improvements that in my opinion could be made, are that the humans could be shown fighting closer to the robots, so the viewer could connect more, and shots through the of the humans eyes would make it feel more real for the viewer.