Terminator Salvation

Rating – *

terminator

When Ronald McG (or whatever his name is) was announced as the director of T4, there was obvious cause for alarm. But to his credit, he openly admitted he wasn’t an obvious choice for the job but vowed to win fans over with a mature, dedicated and fresh approach to one of the most beloved series in film history. Over the months of top secret production, smalls rays of hope would emerge in the form of concept art and trailers. People started to pay attention and almost get excited. Just because McG is most famous for directing Charlie’s Angels (both of them!) surely people can change? After all, James Cameron started with Piranha Part Two: The Spawning! Even the mythology of the series was on his side “There’s no fate but what we make for ourselves”

Flash forward to the future, a scorched wasteland of wreckage and decaying bodies. But this isn’t post Judgement Day Los Angeles, it’s a depiction of my soul as the end credits of Terminator Salvation roll. Who were we trying to kid? McG, make a decent Terminator film? There was more chance of a battery powered sprout being elected as Prime Minister and solving conflicts in the Middle East! I suddenly understood the source of Christian Bale’s now infamous rant of fury. That lighting guy was just caught in the crossfire, surely the true reason for his meltdown was the sudden realisation that he would soon have to promote this shite with a straight face! There are too many reasons to list here exactly why the film fails so I’ll just work off the top of my head…. There is no driving story, merely a series of interconnected coincidences designed to loosely tie in with the existing mythology. But in doing so, the paradox-riddled causality loops of time travel are ripped wide open then desperately patched up again. The story is now convoluted and has been robbed of all it’s power via rubbish dialog and creaky exposition. I actually no longer care about the story and I’ll simply have to pretend this film doesn’t exist for the sake of my future enjoyment of the other films. It feels like a tacky sci-fi channel mini-series populated by left over extras from Mad Max and The Matrix Revolutions. Christian Bale is miscast as John Connor, he bears no resemblance to either of the previous incarnations of his character. His gruff Batman voice is foolishly deployed to laughable effect. New guy Sam Worthington is forced to carry to misguided plot on his shoulders but it never amounts to much. His character arc could have had strong potential but it doesn’t pay off. The only decent performances come from Moon Bloodgood and Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese. His mannerisms are spot on and he brings the only genuine tonal link to the glory days of Cameron’s original masterpiece.

In the final act there is one moment in this sorry mess that is cause for excitement. Sadly it’s far too late achieve true um… salvation. Never the less, this scene made the entire audience wake up. For a few brief moments I watched in awe as Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared to step into frame straight from 1984! It’s no secret that this cameo comes courtesy of ILM but it still took me by surprise. I forgot all about visual effects and my endless nitpicking and I knew I was looking at Arnie! Somebody behind me whispered “that’s not possible” That’s a phenomenal compliment for any visual effect and I was dumbstruck too. But forgetting the stunning technical innovation, this scene just serves as another cheap gimmick and a reminder of how low the series has sunk. It’s too inconsequential and brief to leave the impression that the imagery deserves. It’s just a very expensive alternative to Christian Bale saying “I’ll be back” ………… oh wait, that actually happens too! As a final insult, the film is dedicated In Loving Memory to Stan Winston. He was a genius, a pioneer and by all accounts, a wonderful person who deserves so much better than being associated with this dog of a movie – aka Terminator Dalmatian (somebody put it down)

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~ by thewholebuffalo on July 20, 2009.

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