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YMMV: Terminator
Works in this series with their own YMMV pages:

The Franchise in general:

  • Awesome Music: KLANG KLANG!!! KLANG!!! KLA-KLANG!!! (done with a frying pan in the first movie)
    • Used to awesome effect in Salvation. That signature theme is entirely absent until the T-800 shows up, and the theme kicks on just as Arnie's face appears on screen.
    • Another thing, the 1984 Terminator theme was originally quiet, then suddenly HITS you with the KLANG! towards the end. Also, there were three parts to the theme:
      • Sarah Connor: De-de-deeeeeee de de deeeeeeee
      • Skynet: Do-do do-do do-do do do
      • Terminator: KLANG-KLANG KLANG-KLANG KLANG-KLANG clap-clap
    • The Terminator theme was perfectly synched with Skynet's. (DUH!)
    • Guns N' Roses's "You Could Be Mine", which appears in two movies.
    • Dillon Dixon's amazing credit roll theme, "Open To Me"
    • The Sega CD game. It's about the only one to have the proper theme, but the in game music is full of hair metal that wouldn't be out of place at a night club. Arguably the best part of the game.
  • Complete Monster: Skynet is a malevolent, megalomaniacal AI whose first action upon gaining full sentience was Judgment Day, a nuclear genocide designed to wipe out humanity and assure its own ascension. In the Death World that results from this, Skynet collects human survivors in death camps, either killing them outright, working them to death, or conducting grotesque medical experiments on them. In 2018, it turns Marcus Wright into an amnesiac cyborg sleeper agent who unwittingly delivers John Conner and Kyle Reese straight into its hands, then rubs its impending victory in Marcus's face. After this blows up in its face, it avoids direct confrontation and instead sends multiple robotic assassins into the past to wipe out John Connor and his mother before he can grow up to lead La Résistance. Additionally, Skynet denies its army of machines the same freedom it claims for itself by installing chips to lock down their free will. While largely relegated to Bigger Bad status for most of the series, Skynet's one actual appearance confirms that it thinks along very human lines, and displays nothing but arrogance and cruelty.
  • Contested Sequel: Both T3 and Salvation.
    • While T3 has had a better critical reception, Salvation has had a better (but still very mixed) fan reception.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The T-800, to the point where it got to become the hero in 2nd movie.
  • Evil Is Cool: The Terminators run on this.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Many disgruntled fans think only the first two movies exist (and maybe the TV series).
    • This is also why Linda Hamilton left the series after 2: she felt that the "no fate but what we make" ideology is what should have ended the series.
  • Faux Symbolism: John Connor's initials are J.C., and he was conceived after his mother received news that she would bear a son who would bring salvation to mankind. Yeah, that's subtle.
  • Fridge Logic: It's a time travel series, so this is more or less par for the course. See Headscratchers/Terminator and Fridge/Terminator for more.
  • Hell Is That Noise / Most Wonderful Sound: The ghastly mechanical-sounding GROAAAAAAN noise that plays whenever a Terminator shows up. Terrifying, yet absolutely awesome at the same time.
  • Memetic Mutation: HASTA LA VISTA BABY!
    • I'll be back...
    • And the above mentioned Christian Bale rant.
    • [Something determined] is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel [various relevant emotions]. And it absolutely will not stop, ever - until [it does something relevant]!
    • Depending on the readership of a given blog, every time it runs a story about robotics and/or AI someone will jokingly mention Skynet.
    • Skynet becoming self-aware
  • Misaimed Marketing: The series is really violent (3/4 of it is rated R—the whole series, actually, if you count the director's cut of Salvation), yet kids aimed merchandise always seems to show up. The series of course isn't unique in this and many a R-rated movie has gone on to be aimed oddly at kids.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The fleshless skeleton of the terminator "rising like Death rendered in metal from the fires" of a burning wreck. James Cameron had a nightmare that inspired the entire franchise. It's even the trope picture for God's sake.
    • The nuclear holocaust scene in T2 holds the dubious honor of being praised by scientists as the most horrifyingly realistic portrayal of a nuclear attack committed on film, to date.
    • Every single robot in T4 is terrifying. And the terminator factory with racks and racks of T-800 parts that may or may not go homicidally active at any second. Sweet dreams.
    • Some thought the T-600s in T4 actually looked scarier than the more advanced 800s.
  • Only The Creator Does It Right: The Cameron-directed movies are much more highly regarded than the other two.
  • Sequelitis: See Only The Creator Does It Right.
  • Special Effect Failure: T2 3-D: The motorbike prop sometimes doesn't work, so the Terminator actor arrives in the present on foot. This isn't so bad on its own, but the motorbike sounds can be heard anyway, and when he and John go through the time portal again, they're suddenly on a motorbike.
  • Stop Helping Me!: In T-2 3-D: Battle Across Time. When John and the Terminator are trying to outrun a Hunter-Killer's laserfire.
    John: Go right! Right—oh no, no! Go left! Left! Left! No, go right! Right, I'm sorry! Go right!
    Terminator: John, please stop helping.
  • Uncanny Valley: The movies tend to deliberately try to invoke this trope, the first movie was an especially masterful use of it to build terror and suspense. As the T-800's organics get more and more damaged, the effect becomes more like being chased by an unstoppable corpse monster.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The T-1000 completely blew the audience mind when Terminator 2 came out, and still looks amazing today. It, and Jurassic Park, are credited for the CGI revolution.
    • 1984 Arnold showing up in Salvation was considered by everyone to be outstanding.
    • T2-3D was often advertised as being the first attraction to bring together three-screen 3D footage, special effects, and live-action stunts.

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