It is universally agreed that Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the greatest action movie stars on the planet. His career is filled with many ups and downs, which happen to include a few iconic films and career moves along the way. For many, action movies would simply not be what they are today without the influence of Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the Netflix documentary series Arnold tries to paint a fuller picture of the man behind the catchphrases and big muscles, with varying degrees of success. The three-part series gives a good overview of the humble beginnings of the legendary career of the film industry’s larger-than-life celebrities, in more ways than one.
Each part of Arnold is divided into a different era of the movie star’s life and career, covering his origins in Austria to his role as the governor of California. Everything from his bodybuilding career highlights is touched on, as well as the beginnings of his movie career and massively impactful box office blockbusters. Littered throughout each part however are small portions of Arnold giving context to many of the big moments in his life, whether it was good or bad. Much of what Arnold speaks on does come off as inspirational and encouraging to those who have followed his career over the years, and in some parts maybe a little too motivational.
As much as the documentary includes all parts of the actor’s career and life, it does appear to hold back a few punches with some of the darker moments that impacted Schwarzenegger. We never get to hear from some of the people that were affected negatively by him when certain events took place, nor do we really see a counter point-of-view from anyone else despite Arnold and the series emphasizing people with different views coming together.
This is especially true when the series moves into the timeframe where Arnold and his ex-wife divorced during his political run, but it’s felt when Arnold is discussing his body-building years. Nobody who was around back then, the ones who are currently alive, offers another perspective about Arnold that isn’t similar to high praise. It makes parts of the story feel incomplete, even though there’s a lot of detail given by Arnold himself.
What this documentary series does very well is include a lot of archive footage of Arnold Schwarzenegger during the years it covers. This includes videos of Arnold working out in the 60s and 70s, body-building competitions, behind-the-scenes videos and interviews of Arnold, and so much more. It’s a great way further emphasize a lot of the points Arnold makes about what he was experiencing back then, especially when he’s giving a detailed account of the Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe competitions he won.
There are a lot of great photos and home video clips of Arnold meeting many of the major body-building icons and movie stars of the decades, as well as details that Arnold himself gives that aren’t given in any other place. For the stars that Arnold speaks about who isn’t alive anymore, it gives more details about their interactions and how things came to be. Unfortunately, there is still a lack of insight and context that is not given by those who are still alive from those eras. The few major stars that offer their point of view on things include people like Sylvester Stallone, who was a major rival for Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the 80s. Everything else has to rely on Arnold’s word alone, which is good for fans but comes up short when giving the full outlook on everything.
When it comes to the movies that Arnold Schwarzenegger has made, the series luckily gets to have people like James Cameron, Linda Hamilton, and even Jamie Lee Curtis give their thoughts on the man behind the catchphrases. Nearly every blockbuster that Arnold has starred in gets highlighted and given details on the making and business aspects of it. Some of this stuff can probably be found in the extra features for some of these movies, but hearing it from Arnold himself and getting intricate details of what it was like filming them makes it worth another listen.
There are some moments in all three parts of the series that take moments to give a look at Arnold today, both in his quiet life at home and interactions with everyday people. The more random moments show Arnold feeding some of his animals, which feels far removed from the rest of the series. It has Arnold giving thoughts about how his career came to be and some more motivational thoughts to the viewer. But they are so far removed from the historical context of the rest of the series that they would’ve honestly been better off left out. Die-hard Arnold Schwarzenegger fans might still appreciate it, but they still feel very out of place.
As a whole, Netflix’s Arnold is a good watch that has plenty of Arnold Schwarzenegger goodness to enjoy. Looking back at the crazy Hollywood career of this mega-popular actor is a fun trip down memory lane. The extra thoughts and perspective from Arnold himself help give an extra layer to some of the big moments that the actor has been in the spotlight over the years, as well as the mindset of someone on top of the world from such humble beginnings. Although not a fully complete view on every detail and big event, the series still does a great job of covering all the important aspects of Arnold’s career and lifestyle. It’s a story about hard work, complete dedication, and enduring the changing tides that most viewers will enjoy watching.
Have you gotten a chance to see Arnold on Netflix? Are you a big Arnold Schwarzenegger fan who loves seeing his movies? Let us know your thoughts down below in the comment section!
This docuseries on Netflix is a great overview of the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger. There’s a lot of great archival footage and insight into major events in Hollywood and politics for the popular actor. There’s a slight lack of additional perspective from others involved in some events, despite many details being given by Arnold himself. As an overview of the actor’s life and career, this is a great way for anyone to see why Arnold Schwarzenegger is so successful and beloved by many.
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