Monday, January 12, 2009

The Future can begin

I have seen this movie several dozen times since the age of 16, and it just gets better every time. It does have a special place in my heart. And for this reason, I promised myself I will visit the filming locations.

Without no doubt, The Terminator is one of the best action movies in the 80's. It doesn't set a single foot wrong and it also kicked off a wonderful saga.

Without this, there would be no Terminator 2. This movie is fondly remembered by many people and it has been the subject of many quotes and spoofs over the years.

Why doesn't it set a foot wrong? It is thrilling, almost always entertaining and filled with insane explosions, which more or less makes a good action movie.

But 'The Terminator' stands head and shoulders above the rest of it's genre, because of it's well thought-out plot, splendid acting and an eerily memorable music score which gives you a reason to watch the credits at the end.

The opening scene starts at the Griffith Observatory.
Exactly at the same spot where they shot James Dean classic movie : Rebel without a cause
I would not be surprise James Cameron did on purpose to choose this spot.

The Terminator is looking for the phone booth (14329 Victory Boulevard at Tyrone Avenue, Van Nuys). Interesting thing to note is that the Alamo gun store is located at the same address. The same sidewalk. The wood paneling inside is gone. But the entrance door is the same. The funny thing is that the owner did not know his store was used in Terminator. I gave him the photos from the movie when I left. He was very happy.

Sarah Connor's restaurant (Big Jeff-852 Fremont Ave, South Pasadena, CA) is now Carrows . The place has been remodeled inside. But from the outside, it is fairly recognizable. The tree where Sarah Connor attached her motorbike is still there. they did not let me shot inside because of private property...blah blah blah...the manager was not friendly at all. I stole some shots before he jumped on me and asked me to turn off the camcorder.He wanted to call the cops but i told him i was a tourist from France and i did not know the laws...he let me go...the total jerk!. Anyway the place inside was different from the movie. But you can still recognize the same tiles on the kitchen walls.

Reese materializes in the alley between W6th and W7th street. I shot the alley by night as well. When filming I could see rats in the trash can. The Alley is closed at night. Downtown L.A is definitely not a place for tourists. All the car chase scenes was shot in the same alley. In fact, i realized the entire movie was shot between these 2 blocks . I understand why James Cameron chose downtown L.A. The place is dead at night. No traffic.

The Technoir is now a jewelry store (718 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA). The street at night is completely deserted. No more night club around. Without the photo below taken on the set with Reese walking on the street, it would have been impossible to find the location.

Department of Water parking (830 W 1st St, Los Angeles, CA) is private. You cannot park inside. I took shots of the entrance. It looks like as any parking.

Tikki Motel (7301 Santa Fe Ave, Huntington Park, CA 90255) There were no sign stating Terminator was filmed there. Well, this is a crappy motel. It was pretty much empty. Even as a big fan of the movie, I will never spend the night .This place is depressing. They replaced the sign on top of the motel and the one in the street. The manager was friendly and let me visit Room#9.

The 2nd tunnel is here.

The gas station spot is located on a desolated area in Littlerock, small town in Sun Valley. It takes one hour to drive there from L.A downtown. The place is surrounded by Joshua trees as you see in the movie. Nothing much to say about this spot. The gas station was probably a set. The mountains in the background are recognizable.

Friday, August 15, 2008

T2 : Back to Cyberdyne Systems

While waiting for 'Terminator Salvation' , I visited the Cyberdyne Systems building (which on an ironic side-note now has a company in it, Mattson, which develops semi-conductors ;)... and I had a personal tour of some of the buildings features by Rick Warren, the buildings Facilities Manager.

This filming location, Fremont CA, was used in Terminator 2 : Judgment day

Rick Warren explains:
"The entrace you see was previously hollow, and it went straight back, probably about 20 feet. When you saw the entrance of the thing, you saw the desk right here, and then 20 feet back where they came... the door that you see at the end was actually a door that went back there, that went into this lab area right here, so the cavern went out and broke off to the labs like that... exactly."

"Now this company is a semi-conductor company, point of technology, things like that. [Laughing] Thats actually ironic about this building."

On the roof they continue their journey.

"My name is Rick Warren... I am the Fascilities Manager for the 'Terminator building'. Thats what we call it... If you look at every conference room in the building, we name it after a character or a person from the movie. Soo, we have the T2 room, we have a Connor room, we... eeuhrm, are gonna open up the Wolfie room for the dog and stuff like this. Soo each one of our conference rooms are named after a character in the movie."

"And when they filmed the movie... this was almost the only building in this whole area. There was nothing across the street, just big dirt. Nothing but dirt, nothing but grass over here. None of those trees were here, none of this area was here."

"One regular helicopter you see flying in the movie... yeah, then they had two black helicopters. They were flying around for stuff like this..."

"They blocked of the streets a block away and we couldn't get over here, so we moved to a hotel, and from that hotel we could see the whole action scene going on here. And right before the night when they blew up the third floor, this whole area was covered with fire department."