Terminator Salvation (2009) Poster

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Competently made, but also self-defeating.
MovieAddict201619 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Considering that he's part of the dreaded "MTV Generation" of filmmakers, McG is surprisingly old-school when it comes to his framing: no jumpy Michael Bay antics or hypercutting Paul Greengrass mimicries. He is a far more organic director, letting the action sequences play out naturally. It's his execution that's at fault: the action itself. He piles explosions on top of other explosions and machines slamming into other machines, backed by the deafening cues of Danny Elfman's score, and I'm pretty sure Christian Bale had a yelling stipulation written into his contract. Everything's loud, intense, bombastic. You can't accuse McG of copying Jim Cameron's first two flicks — or even Jonathan Mostow's goofy third — but you're left wishing he'd perfected his own style before tackling such an ambitious project and producing, as a result, a frustratingly passable action-thriller.

McG cites Cormac McCarthy's The Road as an influence on his movie, and it shows. The world is bleak and starved and seems to have a post-fallout hue cast over it. Yet somehow the female lead, Moon Bloodgood, always looks like she's just gotten done applying makeup and iron curling her hair. (Not to mention, based on her outfits, she must have found the only mall outlet that hadn't yet been raided by pillagers.)

Bloodgood is a great example of the movie's ill tendencies — sad to say, she personifies them. I've seen her interviewed and she's as likable as could be, but she's an awful actress, and her entire role could have been excluded from Terminator Salvation leaving in its absence a tightened film and less predictable subplot, which is this: the cyborg-who-doesn't-know-he's-a-cyborg, Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), falls for her. And she falls for him. And like Sarah Connor at the end of T2, she is forced to confront the spiritual conundrum of what truly separates man from machine.

But here's the thing: isn't that such a cliché? If done well, it could be as touching as T2 was; if done poorly, it can be a disastrous reminder of Short Circuit 2. Unfortunately, McG hasn't a clue how to handle his characters' interactions, and so we get very heavy-handed intermissions featuring Worthington saying some pretty cringe-worthy stuff. One campfire sequence is so unintentionally funny that I truly felt sorry for McG, in the same way you'd feel compassion for a young boy naively attempting to, I don't know, shave or something. At first it's cute, like, Oh, look, he doesn't realize that he's too young to shave. Then it's like, Oh, crap, he just cut his neck.

But I'm under-selling the movie's positive attributes, which are the action sequences. Too loud, maybe, but a whole lot of fun. The special effects on the Terminators are solid, and McG throws in plenty of nods to the older films without all of them seeing too forced (we even find out how the adult Connor from T2 got his scar — a level of detail proving that McG really is a fanboy himself), and Anton Yelchin, who I despised as a precocious kid shrink in 2007's Charlie Bartlett, is fantastic in the role of Kyle Reese, effectively channeling Michael Biehn from the first movie.

Audiences will connect with Marcus because he represents the viewers. We're thrust into this new world just as suddenly as he is, and in his bewilderment and confusion, we find our parallel. With Avatar's release later this year, Worthington will most likely be the Next Big Thing, and is essentially - in this film, anyway - what Heath Ledger was to Christian Bale in The Dark Knight.

And so we arrive at Bale: he plays John Connor. But here's the thing about John Connor: he's really not that interesting. That's an obvious flaw, perhaps: if you woke up every morning knowing you were the saviour of the human species, would you be a fun guy to hang around with? Probably not. In that regard, Bale nails Connor: intense, passionate and dry without an ounce of self-reference or levity. He never steps back and winks at us, and even his brief dialogue retread ("I'll be back") feels legitimate, spared of Arnie's corny delivery from T3. This guy means business. That's what you're left with, but without a compelling enough story, who really cares? Bale will be massacred by overzealous blog culture critics who've been waiting for months to crack jokes about his leaked on-set rant, but he extracts every ounce of potential from the character and - to that extent - gives a fantastic performance. The bottom line is that John Connor as a religious figure in the Terminator universe has no room for expansion, and unless McG were to fundamentally change the dynamics of the character, a post-Judgment Day Connor is not going to connect with audiences. That's precisely why Cameron never envisioned taking the series this far: the impending doom of Judgment Day in the original series always felt far more intimidating than the reality of it. The brief glimpse of nuclear holocaust in the first two movies was eerie and scary because of its fleeting nature; keeping in tune with his religious allegories, Judgment Day was to the Terminator universe what Revelations is to fundamentalists: that big, frightening end for humanity that we must all live in awareness of. Seeing it unfold kind of takes away the charm, you know? So although Terminator Salvation is somewhat competently made and an entertaining enough action spectacle, giving this much away just feels a bit self-defeating. What if the End of Days occurred tomorrow, Jesus revealed himself unto us all and the remaining human beings left on earth were forced into resistance camps? Would anyone still be reading the Bible?
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Some nice action but where's the tone? Where's the mood? Where's the atmosphere?
enjoiskaterguy31 May 2009
The atmosphere that James Cameron and Stan Winston had created for the first 2 films in the franchise is what really hit me and still does to this day. I think that was the key component along with consistency and approach that gave the Terminator film it's unique style and attractiveness. It's metallic-blue overlay, infused with creepy whines of music and heart pounding edge of your seat suspense was what really created this secondary reality if not for only an hour long. It made us have a connection to these characters. A sense of believability in what was really going on. But it was those elements that were able to harness the inner workings of this dark dreamland. In essence the first two Terminators were projected nightmares in a sense, as if you were running and running, but no how fast you ran, the shadowy figure on your toes just keeps closing in. THAT is what made those films so captivating.

Now these elements in one way or another were tried in this newest installment of the franchise. I see it as I've heard before as a "hit and miss" movie in which it got some key features to play out in the film, but lacked that essential tone T1 and T2 romantically portrayed.

I have talked in lengths with individuals on why this film didn't quite hit all of it's projected(we hope) targets and I haven't really heard a clear and analyzed answer. Some say it was the amount of sub-plots that were involved, the lack of plot, the empty character development, the slight cheesy factor, and or the overall weak story and unnecessary additions to the Terminator franchise. Although these all valid arguments to say the least and I would agree on them full heartily, I don't see it as the culprit of the problem here of why this film did not life up to it's expectations.

I think, like I said above in the first paragraph, that it was the direction the film was taken in perspective to it's overall tone and mood. God bless his soul, Stan Winston. For if he were alive I think we would have seen a more polished version of what we have now witnessed. I also think it was a bad part on McG for giving the O.K on the revised Terminator theme by veteran composer Danny Elfman. I don't know why in the hell the screened audiences gave the thumbs up on that one. Another issue of course is that most of the scenes were in broad day-light. I understand that McG wanted to get a different take on the war, but I don't think this was pulled off in any respects to what James Cameron had in mind for the war.(Shouldn't the sky be filled with pollution and dark particle manner from the nuclear explosions creating an ever-dark wasteland?) This was CRUCIAL and they blew it. I don't see why they didn't go with more night scenes. It is one of the strongest representative thematic elements portrayed in the Terminator 1 & 2.(I am not even going to mention T3 because of the ridiculous amount of mistakes made)

The Rating: A main point that needs to be addressed for sure is the film's PG-13 rating. Of course they did this to appeal to a larger demographic of movie-goers, but they did it in expense of the true grit and bones that T1 and T2 had. I don't see why a Terminator film should be even considered for a PG-13 rating. Anything lower than an "R" rating does not do the title justice. The series is called Terminator for a reason...They are killing machines. THAT'S IT. I think that this is one of the biggest insults to the die-hard community of Terminator fans everywhere.

There is no room for Mediocrity in trying to follow up after T2: Judgment Day. Lets hope and pray that us as an online community hold the next bunch of crazies accountable for their creative actions for the next installment of the franchise.
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myjerkygameaddy23 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
WARNING! I will ruin this movie for you

I've seen all of the Terminator movies (all in their respective days) have read most of the comic book adaptions and have snored my way through the recent T.V series. And yes. Some incarnations were obviously better than others (to me) But, this turd of a film could not be further from the mark. And when I actually bothered to look up "McG"s body of work I can't say that I'm surprised. Gap commercials, music videos, Charlie's Angels... At what point did the financiers of this movie say "wow, we have to get this guy to direct the movie" But, I can't put all of the blame on one person. The entire creative staff has obviously gone to the Michael Bay school of film making...and failed. I only have 1000 word to work with...sooo...I shall list my gripes in point form.

1. Within 10 minutes of the title shot, this movie fired off one of THE BIGGEST Clichés IN WESTERN FILM. "It's too quiet in here (dramatic pause) It's like they're waiting for us" Seriously now! Is this the best writing that Hollywood can come up with? If this was an attempt at humour...it failed...just like the rest of this movie.

2. Giant Robots!!! Loud noises!!! Almost all of the battle sequences in this movie played out like a stylized ripoff of Transformers. There were big walking robots, big robot sound effects, big robot guns and aircraft, big robots riding the robot aircraft, motorcycle robots... They even had little stabby robots that swam around in the water. And they all looked like something out of a cheesy mecha flick. All glossy and pointy looking. These are not the cold, machined gun metal designs that set this series apart from all the others.

3. Chase scenes...chase scenes....followed by more chase scenes. #&#$ off with this already! How much time did these people fill with these blown out, CG'ed chase scenes? Foot chases, car chases and even air chases. "How do we transition from our crappy battle scene to our feeble attempt at character development?" Oh! I know!" Yep...you guessed it...

4. Even more clichés... Yep...Just about all of them. I'll have to make sub-points for this.

  • The irrelevant love interest cliché.

  • The conflicted double agent cliché.

  • The antagonist's fatal flaw cliché. "Let's just leave all of our nuclear power cells laying on a big table. They'll be OK"

  • The incompetent villain cliché. No, a hydraulically powered mechanical assassin would not simply shoot/crush/eviscerate it's victims. But, would merely toss them around, fire it's weapons erratically and then stand underneath precariously placed heavy objects, blast furnaces etc...

  • The (pathetically mangled) hero's sacrifice cliché. "Oh no! John Connor has been impaled through the chest with a ragged piece of metal! And, his heart is just about to fail! Here, take my perfectly good cyborg heart...that has just been crushed repeatedly with a giant metal casting....and then nearly punched out of my chest by another cyborg"

Need I go on?

This movie is big budget Hollywood hackery at it's best. And I still can't believe that it made it off of the script. I hope that the persons responsible for this mockery are ripped apart by wild dogs.

Thank you and good day
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I am completely let down . . .
giftofgodoflove23 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
James Camerson made the Terminator franchise something special. As you were watching, you knew you were watching classics. You just have that feeling . . .

I've forgotten T3. Will TS resurrect the franchise? Nope.

First, who the heck is McG? No one knows. He directs TV series, and one other movie. For God's sake, give this movie to a talented director, someone with experience!!! Why was this given to McG? Why?

Second, the Script was awful. "We may have won the battle, but we still have to win the war." I think I heard that line from Power Rangers or Thunder Cats. Christian Bale must have called himself John Connor 30 times. Okay, he's John Connor. Got it! Bale must have called his army The Resistance 50 times. His inspiring speech over the radio was lackluster. People hover around the radio 'feeling' inspired because of that? I felt like I was watching Independence Day.

Third, I don't blame Bale for his performance. He did the best with what he had. His voice was annoying again. He had brief passion during some 'yelling parts'. That's it. But his whole personality had zero charisma.

Fourth, the NUMBER 1 rule for sequels is that they have to stand on their own: T2, Godfather 2, Empire Strikes Back, Aliens. You can't put a part in the sequel that 'hints' at the 1st movie - at least, overtly. Exp: In T3, after Arnold gets the clothes from the gay guy, he puts on 'star sunglasses', which 'hints' at T2, when he put on regular classes. No! No! No! Dumb! Stupid! Examples in TS: In T2, girl slaps Arnold in face, face cocks to the right, glasses break, and he looks back at her slowly. That scene was re-played 3 or 4 times in TS. Why!?!?! Further, Bale says, "I'll be back." Why?!!?! It's so self-conscious! It screams, "Remember how Arnold is famous for saying this. Okay, let's make Bale say it too!". Yuck! Kyle Reece says, "Come with me if you want to live." Why? Let's move on! It's 2009. Let's evolve. Stop with the T1/2 allusions already!

Fifth, Cameron's brief vision of 2029 in T2 was on to something. T-800's w/ guns on battlefield fighting soldiers on ground, gun battles, your occasional flying craft, etc . . . TS had 2 T-600's that I could count, flying crafts, and 1 huge T-1,000,000. Where's the freaking battles!?!? Something along the lines of the gun battles of "Heat", or the beach landings in "Saving Private Ryan". Something! Where's a There Will be Blood-like self-brooding or introspection by John Connor? It's like I was watching a video-game-turned-movie kind of movie, like Doom or Resident Evil. Awful!!!!!

Sixth, zero character development. I don't care about any characters. The movie doesn't develop them. They're wooden, cardboard cut-outs. In T1/2, we cared; that was part of why they're classics. TS is an action movie; that's it, with some name-dropping. What a shame. When you add 'no-character-development' w/ 'bad-script', you get 'lame-movie'. I felt like I was watching a movie made for TV on Spike or TnT.

Seventh, the movie was self-consciously PC, the independent-self-sufficient female character, not needing help from white male, pearlly white teeth, beautiful-clean-fluffy hair, breasts partially exposed, blah blah blah. It's like McG thought, "What can I put in the movie that young mindless idiots will like, so it can make more money?" It had a couple good action sequences. That's it. And that does not a good movie make. The set-design was also horrible. We had a couple cool 'waste-land' scenes, a couple cool 'abandoned city' shots that reminded me of 'I Am Legend', but some scenes looked like they were put together in my back yard with spray-painted card-board boxes, and a fake background.

Eighth, this movie should be R, not PG-13, period. It's a dark, in-your-face, gritty, bloody, graphic, adult-oriented, movie. Imagine Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, and other classics if they were toned down to PG-13. Exactly. Unbelievable, that Hollywood is filled with such dunces or greed, just wanting to make a cash-cow.

The only character I was drawn to was Marcus. The CGI Arnold is gratuitous, and poorly executed. It just looks like a laughable cartoon. McG made this for 10-17 year olds.

Bottom line: I'm furious. The franchise has been gutted by amateur directing, producing, and writing.

It's a shame.
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Definitely nothing worth yelling at Shane Hurlbut over.
Critomaton25 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Alternate titles for this review:

1) A great sequel... to some other movie franchise.

2) The new terminator has a heart. The movie doesn't.

3) Go in expecting to be disappointed. You'll still be disappointed.

Wow, was this bad.

I stopped caring about anything that happened in this movie about 1 hour and 10 minutes in. I guess it was the second Huey helicopter crash with John Connor as both pilot and sole passenger that did it for me (it seems the U.S. army hasn't surplused any twin-engined Hueys yet, because Hollywood is still flying leftovers from "Apocalypse Now", even in the future).

I also zoned out during the drawn-out battle with the Schwarzenator near the end, because I really didn't care about John Connor (or his cute, perky wife, though she was never in danger the entire movie - another dramatic mistake).

This movie fails miserably in both aspects where the new Star Trek film shines: staying true to the original while making the new characterizations and situations compelling on their own merit.

Even Sarah Connor's recorded voice didn't sound right. I'm pretty sure it was neither Linda Hamilton nor Lena Headey - either one would have been better. And while this movie needed to have a big-name celebrity like Christian Bale to have a chance at success without Ah-nold in the main role, it couldn't have been any worse if Nick Stahl and Claire Danes had been brought back. In fact, Thomas Dekker would have been more interesting to watch.

I cared more about the people who got snatched up by the Martians in Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" than I did about anybody in this flick. There was zero character development. The girl who's a combination of Newt from "Aliens" and the Feral Kid from "The Road Warrior" managed to be annoying without saying a word but, like Jaden Smith in "The Day the Earth Stood Still", you can't blame her for it, only the script non-writers.

This film is practically shot in monochrome, except for the flames. We get it. To quote George Costanza: "When you're bleak, you're bleak".

This movie reminded me of lots of other movies: "The Road Warrior", "Aliens", "Transformers", and even "Resident Evil: Extinction". Just not "The Terminator".

Yeah, maybe it doesn't seem fair to give Star Trek's time-travel pretzel plot a pass and nitpick "Terminator Salvation" but I mean, there were two huge plot holes in this one that just plain insulted the whole series storyline:

1) SkyNet went through this complicated plot to lure John Connor in with its infiltrator, instead of just killing him with the infiltrator. Ditto with Kyle Reese. It made absolutely no sense, and that's even *without* any time travel.

2) For some reason, John Connor was (a) unable to trust a terminator even though he found out in part 2 that they can be trusted if programmed correctly and (b) totally stunned to find out that a terminator had flesh and blood and organs, even though that's the first type he ever encountered. What's that all about? Oh, was it supposed to be a big deal that the terminator didn't know it was a terminator? Like that's really hard to program... (and can you say "Total Recall"?).

Then there's the whole confusion/inconsistency about exactly what type of damage will or won't stop a terminator.

The movie tries really hard to create a sense of urgency with the rescue of the prisoners from SkyNet headquarters. It just doesn't work.

OK, so Sam Worthington's and Anton Yelchin's performances aren't as wooden (or metallic) as those of the other actors. This minor fact alone does not a summer blockbuster (or a worthy sequel) make.

I kept looking for some big, intense, dramatic scene that could have possibly made Christian Bale go ballistic on the director of photography. I must have missed it, and I won't be watching this turkey again to try and find it.

"Terminator Salvation" fails miserably as a Terminator sequel. As a standalone, post-apocalyptic sci-fi vision it doesn't really fare much better.
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The destruction of a great franchise
rnilsen25 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the worst movies of all time. Not bad in a Plan Nine from Outerspace kind of way. No much worse. I have only once before ever felt so cheated and that was watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull last year. Cheated because of all the talent that could have made a GREAT movies and instead just cashed in big paychecks.

What makes this so bad is the destruction of a franchise through lazy writing and directing. Does anyone put effort into a script anymore or care about logic???? If the studio had enlisted any movie fan and given them a chance to read the script before this turkey was made, plot holes as large as a Mack truck could have been closed. Instead the Studio and Director relied totally on special effects to move this dog along.

Wher can I start? Well, here are a couple of the biggest problems:

1) Why does Skynet not just kill Kyle Reese????? He is their number one target, they capture him and instead of killing him, they just imprison him???? If they kill him then John Connor dies. Spock would throw up from this lack of logic. 2)What is Helena Bonham Carter's motivation in the beginning of the movie? She does not know at this time in history that Skynet will become self aware. How can she be involved in creating an infiltration machine without pre-knowledge of what will happen in the future? 3) The movie barely advances in the Terminator story. It is just a long television episode, the plot does not move along whatsoever. Perhaps they can just re-start the franchise and call this whole movie a bad dream like the ending of Dallas? 4) The acting is terrible, especially Christian Bale. He has one emotion and it is the same as he exhibited in that leaked internet tape earlier this year. Arnold's CGI performance is Oscar worthy in comparison. 5) Yes this is just a movie but in Sci-fi, it is important to follow the continuity and rules created in each films particular universe. A movie cannot take the lazy route and just makes things up when boxed into a corner. Here, there is a huge exposition scene near the end on a giant video screen with Helena Bonham Carter. Why does Skynet have a big video room to begin with? Ugh.

Studio's exist to make money, and I suppose this movie will turn a profit. However, from a long term perspective this movie has diminished the value of the overall franchise and potential of any future films.
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Enjoyable ride, not quite there but lots of fun...
jora_dyn21 May 2009
I was actually rather surprised that this film was as enjoyable as it was. After reading several scathing reviews I was very worried going into this film. Overall I had a good time watching it.

Now I should preface this with the fact that I am a huge fan of the Terminator films/franchise. I think that overall the look was amazing, the action and CG were great and the acting was mostly good. I think the film suffered from not enough character development and I think that McG was on the right track, but needed a tighter script and story to work with. You can tell in the film that he is a fan of the first films... I definitely got a kick out of all the throw backs to the films. Not just the obvious ones like the music choices or one liners, but also subtle things like single handed shotgun cocking or single handed pipe blows, or the choice of settings and shots.

I have to say that Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese did a fantastic job. He was probably my biggest worry in the film as Michael Biehn's, Kyle Reese is probably my favorite character in anything ever, so basically he had big shoes to fill. Well I didn't think it possible, but he actually made me love that character even more. So mad props to him. Again I think this was a very valiant effort by McG, he needs to work out a couple kinks for the next films, which I really he gets the green light on.

Basically there are a few of loopholes and inconsistencies which could bring you down if you linger too long on them, but if you are able to get past that it is definitely worth watching. But those are in all the films, even the second has some. (I'm not saying it's better than, so don't stone me!) In short I had a lot of fun at Terminator Salvation.
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Not understanding the bad press at all.
roarrestored8921 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I just got back from seeing a midnight screening of the newest installment in The Terminator franchise, going into it with an open mind after witnessing the debacle that was T3 several years ago. Having said this, I honestly felt at though this movie did a fantastic job of translating the visions of the future that were set up in the original Terminator and T2 and fleshing out a feature-length film of them. While there indeed a few "what in the hell were they thinking" moments in the chase scenes, I felt that on the whole, the movie was a wonderful success, gripping me in a way that T3 never came close to. I truly hope prospective viewers give this film the shot that it rightly deserves and go into it with an open mind, and are able to just sit back and enjoy the ride...its a terrific one, trust me. Leaving the theater, I honestly felt as though this one gave the first two a run for their money as a film, as much as it pained me to say it. Truly a magnificent job breathing life into a series that could have very easy been done in once and for all with another terrible installment.
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markfunston22 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I really have a hard time believing that ANYONE enjoyed this movie. This movie could have been so great. It could have been amazing. It could have been the best Terminator yet. But it wasn't. It wasn't even close. The story was terrible. There wasn't enough action. This was supposed to be a war, but there were no full scale war scenes. Christian Bale was just as stiff as John Conner as he was as Batman (cheesy voice, no personality).

The movie did start okay. I thought it might go in a good direction, but then stupid things started happening. First of all they spent the first hour of the movie acting like Marcus is a person just to have the major revelation that he is actually a machine - but wait, we already knew that from all of the trailers out there, so we just spend the first hour of the movie saying to ourselves "why are they still acting like he's human"???? Then we do actually have a good action scene with the large terminators and the motorcycle terminators, but then another stupid thing happens. When Marcus is captured and Blair breaks him out, the entire resistance can't even catch him or kill him in their own home base!!! How could they possibly win a war against the machines when they can't even kill one in their own home???? It keeps going down from there. John conner sneaks in to the Skynet home base (very easily). Then there is a terribly boring fight scene that I swear they copied directly from the first two films. Then John plants a detonator on the pile of nuclear power cells that just happened to be sitting around and on his way out he blows the whole place up. If it were really that easy to walk in to Skynet and blow up a pile of power cells, why didn't they do that years ago. TERRIBLE.

And just when I thought the movie couldn't possibly get any worse... it does. John injured his heart reenacting the fight scene from the first Terminator movie, so Marcus (the machine with a heart) gives John his heart. Awwww, what a sacrifice. I guess Marcus really was human. TERRIBLE.

And then they had the nerve to end the stupid movie with John giving one of his terrible speeches leading right into the next movie. I really really really hope that if they do make another movie that someone else writes it, stars in it, produces it, and directs it.

If this weren't a Terminator movie, I would have given it 3 stars for being so bad, but since it destroyed so much potential I couldn't give it any more that 1 star. TERRIBLE. I'm totally disappointed.
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I liked it better than I expected, and was far less disappointed in comparison than other fans seem to have been.
Elswet27 May 2009
Wow, where do we start with a franchise film so rich in history...and so riddled with continuity errors? The time line problems began with the very first sequel, directed by Cameron himself, and perpetuated with T3. why then, is everyone so freaked by time line errors in T4? Depending on which line to which you subscribe, T4 still deviates vastly from BOTH sequels and begins a new alternative reality spin all its own.

And then there was the highly publicized expletive-filled Bale rant broadcast over and over and over ad nauseum. Upon seeing the film, I can better understand why that happened...this is a GRITTY film, full of angst and dancing testosterone. As "worked up" as Bale must have had to have been in order to pull off these angst-filled scenes (one after the other after the next), he exhibited amazing control in not HITTING the guy who blew the scene for him. I'm no longer upset or offended by his diatribe.

That brings us to the movie. Well, yes, there are problems with it, and many state that this film brings little to the franchise history and instead contributes to the growing list of errors and problems with the franchise, but I have to disagree.

This work, for me, demonstrates an intent to give us millions of machines marching en masse on human survivors in the attempt to quell a birthrate upsurge of the pestilence which has somehow managed to take control of its world...Mankind. The promise for something better is not only present due to how little this movie actually contributes, but by the actions and deeds therein.

There are several contrivances, and truthfully they were rewriting the script as it was being filmed due to Bale's demands, but all in all (and all things considered), this is an enjoyable film that not only is better on second viewing, but manages to ingratiate itself into the library of Terminator franchise films (or will when it's out on DVD in an unrated, extended director's cut edition, that is).

I liked it better than I expected, and was far less disappointed in comparison than I was with the Star Trek reboot.

It rates a 7.8/10 from...

the Fiend :.
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Can't believe some people give this movie 8+ out of 10. T4 was garbage
gadwin19295 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
As a terminator fan who was hoping for a revival of the franchise, what a letdown this movie was. Before going in depth about the movie, let's take a look at how this mess was made:

Mistake #1) Newbie producers Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek acquire the rights to the Terminator franchise. These two goons only have experience producing a low budget flick called "Cook-Off" to their credit and are absolute newcomers to the industry.

Mistake #2) Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek, not surprisingly as newbies, choose McG as the director. LOL, McG, the director of Charlies Angels! FFS, you can see where the movie is going now ...

Mistake #3) The script is written and McG tries to cast Christian Bale as Marcus. Christian Bale says he wants to play John Connor and not Marcus. Unfortunately, John Connor has a 3 minute appearance in the original script and is not a significant character. At this point, the producers and McG have two viable options:

  • Ditch the original script with Marcus and write a new one from scratch that explores John Connor's character in depth, if time allows.

  • Say NO to Christian Bale, and stick with the original script if they are on a deadline. Memo to Derek Anderson, Victor Kubicek, and McG: THE TERMINATOR FRANCHISE CAN SELL ITSELF WITHOUT Christian BALE - STAR TREK PROVES THAT A BUNCH OF NO NAMES CAN SELL A MOVIE IF IT IS MADE WELL.

Mistake #4) Oh my gosh! They decide to cast Christian Bale as John Connor and then go on to mangle the script to give John Connor a larger role. The script goes through various hands, and even Jonathan Nolan is brought in to save the script but there is little he can do. They are even trying to rewrite the script on set. FFS, you know a movie is in trouble if they are doing major rewrites of the script on set.

Now that we know how the movie was made, here is my review: This movie has great special effects and action sequences. The problem is, it has no character development, the viewers could give a sh*t about the characters, and the story is garbage. In other words, it's the polar opposite of T2. T3 had lots of plot holes, but while T3 was letdown from T2, at least T3 attempted to give more attention to the characters.

If all you want is mindless action and special effects, this could be a passable movie for you. If you are a true Terminator fan and wanted a movie that would delve into characters, where action is secondary to the story (ie. T2), this is not the movie for you.

Since this movie cost $200 million to produce and so far, the box office receipts are $90 million, there are two possibilities: a) The Terminator Franchise has ended on the big screen. That would be sad but what can you expect with Derek Anderson, Victor Kubicek, and McG at the helm? b) Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek never find the funding for T5 and are forced to sell it to a studio that is capable of making good decisions to make T5 (ie. start by picking a better director other than McG and find good writers).

I surely hope it's the latter.
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Do Not Waste Your Time, Money, and Consciousness
thornswrath23 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
TERMINATER: SALVATION is truly an abomination to the franchise - and don't for one second suspect otherwise.

I read one thing in the paper yesterday that suggested "the critics liked it" -(?) -- it garnered an astonishing Two And A Half stars in our local rag - - (!!) -- with a caveat that "it has no heart" -- well there's a shocker for ya -- I do not need to be told that a piece of fecal matter has no cardiovascular system -- its a redundancy I can do without, thank you very much -- here is a movie that deserves not one whit more than a ZERO STAR rating.

How on earth anyone - a professional critic or otherwise -- could even possibly give this movie more than ZERO STARS is beyond me. This sorry excuse for a movie is firing on ALL chambers when it comes to MISSING the mark: *SPOILERS* No shred of a plot with any grounded sense of coherence whatsoever, folks. The director "McG"'s notion of a plot can be summed up in one name, "John Connor." Oh wait, I forgot - there is a twist. (Don't worry about spoilers - - I couldn't possibly spoil this for you, and I don't mean that in a cheeky way. I literally mean that it is a physical impossibility for something without a plot to be spoiled. So read on. The twist is "Kyle Reese." Just throw in another iconic sounding character name with which an awestruck silence is generated every time its mentioned, and there you have it: the totality of this movie's "plot". (Don't ask me for an explanation: the movie offers none.)

And just as bad as "no plot" is the excruciatingly unfortunate realization that the setting - nearly a decade in the future (2018) - has zero visionary qualities, and I have to point out here that it ain't for any potentially noble reason as having accurately predicted that not much will change in 9 years. No. It's because they filmed this with what must have been McG's and crew's own jeeps and equipment - throw some military cameo netting and things bought for cheap at your local army surplus store, and you have "Terminator: Salvation". When all the dust settles - - you sit there blinking in astonishment that there really wasn't one damn worthy thing about this movie - no awesome future setting and no fully realized "terminator army"; just a few badly strewn together props with stale cheesy dialog thrown in.

But the movie did have some thought put into it, I guess. There is the token ragamuffin 9 year old girl with the nappy hair (check); her charming teenage companion with the mystery persona (check); and their god -given ability to pop out of nowhere with a convenient remote mine-trigger device to blow up titanic renegade Terminaters at a moment's notice (check).

This movie is far less than the sum of it's assembled parts - assembled entirely from every genre movie that came before it. I kid you not: if you were to painstakingly eliminate each and every scene and reference to a previous movie (Mad Max, Road Warrior, Terminators, etc) you would be left with NOTHING. It is that unoriginal.

So here's the deal. I've warned you not to waste your time and money and consciousness seeing this, and I meant it from the bottom of my heart. Seeing as how I happen to know that this is a "special" installment or continuation of a franchise that means a lot to us - I don't expect you to take my word for it. I know how it is. You want to find out for yourself; hell, you need to. So let's make a deal.

Halfway through the movie, the only thought running through my head was "I should lead a revolt of audience members to the box office demanding our money back". God do I ever wish I had at least tried. To do so - I would naturally have had to begin hurling obscenities at the screen, and I didn't because, well I didn't want to ruin the possibility that others might be, cough, enjoying themselves *wince*. Do I ever regret it, now.

When the ultimate slap to the face arrives (the end credits) -- you too will wish YOU had been the leader of such a noble revolt. So NOW you have the opportunity handed to you on a silver platter. I beseech thee all -- someone must take the responsibility to just yell out midway through this cinematic turd "THIS SUX!" with their fist in the air, and I can't imagine no one else in the theater agreeing or muttering their sympathetic consent. TAKE the opportunity to leap to your feet and look wildly around you. FIND the people frozen in their seats with eyes glazed over - decent people like you and me who have obviously INVESTED their hope, high expectations, valuable time, and hard-earned money - SNAP them awake to the realization that WE DON'T DESERVE THIS CRAP from Hollywood! Shout out dramatically "LET'S GO GET OUR MONEY BACK, PEOPLE!" and lead their way out of that theater and to the front lobby.

I want to read about it in the papers, how good people in several mid-western states ROSE UP and DEMANDED their money back. Because if we all just sit there like sheep stunned into submission - then we deserve yet another installment of prefabricated plasticity shoved down our throats. Let this be a lesson to all who would blunder into a theater to see a movie by someone named "McG". If its zero nutrition fast food fake movie franchise that you want - then you know where to line up.

TERMINATER: SALVATION opened in theaters nationwide Thursday, May 21st.
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Terminator Salvation...barely salvageable
quikbdr72021 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Hmm...Hmm...Hmm...ho hum dee. Terminator- 1984, we see a ground-breaking film with never before seen special effects and a story that was 10 years ahead of its time, Judgement Day- 1992, We see more groundbreaking film-making, a stellar cast, and one of the most iconic performances ever (GO ARNIE!!!), Rise of the Machines- 2003, not bad, especially considering that after T-2, that was it for Cameron, he was done, moving on to new things, new writers, new director, great rewritten history of Skynet reemerging after we all thought it was TERMINATED. And the return of Arnie. So...after about a year of hype (for myself especially, I am as the equivalent of a Trekkie in the Terminator universe), 2009, Terminator Salvation...Not groundbreaking, but with Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood, McG, Seems like a damn good collection of actors and up and coming director right?? Well...here we go...

First off, the film kicks off in the right gear, I seriously felt like I was watching a live action version of Fallout 3, post apocalyptic world depicted with great detail, some very good action scenes (and acting) early on, All seems to go well, Marcus Wright (Worthington) is introduced very well, so is Kyle Reese (Yelchin, Star Trek), and the Terminator world we saw so little of in T1 & T2 was all there.

Buuuuut then what happens I can't even begin to try to figure it out. I swear there were 3 or 4 great ideas put into play by McG, but, when you start an idea, develop it, that just didn't happen, the whole film felt like it was jumping from one thing to another with very little explanation.

Character development: where was it??? John Connor was the focal point in T2 & T3, staying alive, fighting...Well, even Christian Bale (amazing actor, by far one of today's best) couldn't deliver, but it wasn't his fault, He has what barely constituted as a supporting role, the whole film was revolved around who Marcus Wright was, but even that wasn't covered very well. Honestly, it got old hearing Bale scream and Worthington howl toward the sky. And even Bloodgood and Bryce Dallas Howard who played Kate Connor had little screen time and no development what so ever.

Action: chock full of it, any thought or creativity put in it? NO, N-O. There were a totally of maybe 3 exciting moments in the whole film, I will not spoil them, because honestly, if this was just a post apocalypse action yarn, it was awesome, but its TERMINATOR, not at one point was there any new ideas put in any of the scenes, it felt like McG cheaply ripped off the previous 3 films (but with way more NOTICEABLE CGI), the major problem with Hollywood today, TOO MUCH CGI, NO PLOT DEVELOPMENT, and this film is no different.

I and the theater cheered with one scene...the entrance of...well, no need to guess here. Was also about the only other homage to the originals (the truck chase from the trailer is excellent as well).


TERMINATOR FILM 3/10, If there is going to be another one, Cameron needs to intervene and tell HIS look on the future war, and bring that someone back into the franchise (he won't be Governor forever!)

This may be a discouraging review, but remember, its all in what you like. i love action movies, but with Terminator, you need plot too. Go see it and make your own assumptions, this is just mine, I'm sure some will love it, but it took Terminator in the direction Attack of the Clones took Star Wars
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John Connor, its up to you!
michaelRokeefe31 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Gritty installment four of the Terminator series. It is post-apocalyptic 2018 and John Connor (Christian Bale) is called on to lead the resistance against a dominating militaristic world of robots. Thought provoking elements help overlook some story line weakness. Altogether very entertaining and well directed. Terminator fans and even those who know very little of the series' backstory will enjoy this action-packed film.

Bale is fantastic as usual, but Sam Worthington is almost the scene robber here. Intense science fiction violence and action. Special effects are top notch. Some powerful sounds from Guns N' Roses and Alice In Chains. The cast is versatile and includes: Michael Ironside, Moon Bloodgood, Helena Bonham Carter, Anton Yelchin, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jadagrace and Victor Ho.
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Effin' Fun
blindredemption19 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Let me start this off by saying that TS is very but not entirely different from the previous installments. T1 was thrilling and fun, T2 elaborated and twisted the original's plot and themes, and the unnecessary T3 is almost entirely ignored (aside from the Kate Connor character).

Now TS takes to the beginnings of the battles and war between Skynet and humanity. If you know anything at all of Fallout series of games, the atmosphere and landscape of those games is almost identical to that of TS'.

I'm sick of reading the same review (ie. Plot sum up etc.) we are all familiar, so let me say this simply with Pros and COns

Pros ----

-Solidly continues the legacy without repeating the same idea (send a terminator back in time to kill one of the Connors) - Characters are likable (although kinda wooden here and there) - Action is fantastic - Score is actually engaging (i love the old school synth soundtrack, but i prefer Danny Elfman's live strings more) - Visually fantastic (direction, cinematography)

Cons ----

  • Stated above, while the characters are likable they are wooden-ish - Script is a little rushed (a few moments of cheese :P)

There you have it.

Not THE BEST MOVIE EVER MADE!!!!!! but a damn fine film and WORTHY film to be included with T1 and T2.
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There is a SkyNet...and it wrote this film!!!
pennypimp21 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I was stunned at how bad this movie is. I don't think I've ever seen a performance where Bale mails it in but I don't blame him. The story is beyond remedial. There's no suspense, no emotion, no plot and no point. The only reason this movie seems to have for being is that it looks cool. If you like mindless action then I guess you'll like this but what made the first 2 films great was the story (let's not kid ourselves, that's what makes any film great). It had suspense, characters that you cared about and most of all INTELLIGENCE and HEART. This one is so freaking obvious it's astonishing. To have these resources available to you and screw it up so monumentally...

Maybe I should take a crack at writing a screenplay. I couldn't do any worse than this.
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A sad casualty of what's mistakenly deemed bankable today.
Flagrant-Baronessa12 June 2009
Yikes. This is definitely not the future my mother warned me about. This future is populated by cute kids, blood-free deaths, supermodels with perfect teeth and goofball terminators that shoot themselves in the foot. It is set in a sun-kissed Michael Bay desert landscape with high-tech military equipment and not the dirty sewers we saw in T1. Either Kyle Reese was laying it on real thick to get in Sarah Connor's pants, or McG et al were simply incapable of delivering the dark, post-apocalyptic future setting that they kept harping on about honoring before release.

This is no doubt a casualty of the scarlet letter that is the PG-13 rating, oft denied by the production while they dropped subtle hints along the way such as toy deals, Pizza Hut endorsements and McG noting how the PG-13 The Dark Knight was "made without compromise". In reality the rating was a fait accompli the moment they green-lit a $200M production. The implications of the rating are not just sacrifices to language, blood & gore or in the inclusion of a sidekick kid to instill the family friend image. It's worse. Now the Transformers audience is a major demographic for TS, and it translates in the light-hearted, gadgety nature of the movie, and obviously in its Harvester design (who deploys mototerminators from its kneecaps).

But quite honestly, massive mythology discrepancies aside, there is simply far too many wrist-slashingly bad/expository lines and heavy-handed metaphors in the script for this to even work as a standalone movie (thanks, Haggis). To its credit, much of the action is kinetically captured in a timely shaky-cam fashion. Lord knows I'm no McG fan (he's a snake-oil salesman) but I feel the major culprit truly is the script which spells everything out for the viewer with voiceovers and facepalm exposition. I'm sorry the writers were not able to give McG, at the very least, the kind of mindless action flick he was surely able to direct in a competent if forgettable manner.

Whereas acting is concerned Christian Bale shows up for 35-40 minutes looking real angry at the world and at being involved in this project, it is in fact Sam Worthington who is a breakout star, and such an effortless tough guy that you can feel the bass reverberate in your body when he throws a punch. Think of how hardass he could be in the right R-rated setting. I'm getting chills just thinking about it. Everything else reeks of an empty cash-in sequel with neither knowledge nor respect for the source material, vaguely "justified" by tagging on "this isn't the future my mother warned me about". No, McG, it most certainly is not.

Whatever. Pages could be spent arriving at the conclusion that this movie is, quite simply, abysmal. I'm giving it a 3 out of 10 based on Yelchin, Worthington and effort on the action side of things.
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The 80's and the 90's aren't coming back.
xenazues4 June 2018
I have seen a lot of reviews on here, more than I usually read. And it is way too many 1's. This movie is no where near a one rating. I've been watching a lot of movies since I was a little kid. From cheesy 80's flicks, to straight to TV. This is no where near a 1. This movie sits at a 7 for me. Would have got an 8 but I'm super hard on the female acting in these new generation of movies.

This movie by now is 9 years old so nothing would be giving it away. But with that said Linda Hamilton in the first one was 19 years old. And she can act. Which is why 7 or 8 years later in Terminator 2 her acting was polished the movie was even better. It is not a secret if the female character can act you are going to have a good movie. The female acting in this movie was decent which is why it got a 7 from me.

But I can see why people gave this a one. The first Terminators were scary. The machine just kept going. You also had the awesome 80's music, along with the clothes. I mean seriously Sarah O conner was riding an 80's scoter and listening to head phones. And going to the club. Just a lot of vintage stuff in that movie which brought it back to the 80's. The 90's was even better in T2, crazy hair cuts, dirt bikes and the graphics in that at the time were unique.

But they did try to incorporate some of the old ideas. John Conner goes "come with me if you want to live", the motor cycle scene still is exciting as it was almost 30 years ago. The naked terminator. Normally during these remakes I get bored or fall asleep. It was action through the whole movie. I don't know if it was christian bale. Or who it was. But I felt entertained.

If people came here looking at this review thinking they are get a play by play of the movie. I'm not doing that with this one. You have to watch and please don't listen to these negative reviews. They want to live in the past on something that has already been done.

Once again don't try to watch this thinking this is going to be like the fist 2. It is not. Its just going to be great acting and simply a plot that action. Nothing over the top where its mind blowing. Expecting this movie to be like the first 1 where they were on to something new, and the second one where they had some super special effects is asking too much. It was well written movie. And its great to have all the Terminators. Cause I do.
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Fantastic action and effects, but check your disbelief at the door...
phalanx25626 May 2009
TS is a film that will wow your eyes and ears. It will be a standard for demonstrating the latest high-end home theater systems for several years. Do not, however, go to this film to stimulate the imagination. The plot has many holes patched with barely-there plot devices. I'm reminded of the film Thank You For Smoking when the character Jeff Mengall spoke of Hollywood plot holes getting filled with lines like "Thank God we invented the... you know, whatever device." In previous Terminator films, you could always assume that sending anything back in time took a lot of energy and resources - that's why you could accept that there was only one Terminator instead of 2+ working together. In this film, we are made to believe that fighting Skynet is like out-maneuvering a herd of angry elephants with laser beams on their heads.

In all, I gave this film a 7 because it does what a good futuristic action film should do: wows the eyes and ears. Just don't forget to check your disbelief at the door.
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This was actually a decent film!
siderite17 July 2009
Enough with the copycat comments! Everybody is so keen to criticize this film, while completely ignoring its good parts. Was there some plot weirdness? Well, yeah, we are talking humans winning versus machines here. But most of it was decent.

In this film you get to see more machine types, more character ambivalence (do you even remember the first Terminator? it was machine fascism!), more hints to the previous movies and, most of all, hints of the direction of the Terminator concept. I don't want to spoil it for you, but you must be blind not to see it is a good thing.

Other good things in this movie: Moon Bloodgood, the Oh-girl; Michael Ironside, just as fun as ever, even if having some scenes. And there is Sam Worthington, who is actually the main character and more like Help from BSG, but twice as cool, NOT Christian Bale aka John Connor.

I am surprised to see that both Terminator the series and the new Terminator are bringing some modernism to the old age concept of machine war. They are obviously not without flaw, but considering the alternatives and, even more, my expectations, I would say that saying this film was bad must be just some fashionable thing to say right now.

Bottom line: I liked it!
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Very well done....
malibu-710 December 2009
I was somewhat hesitant to watch this movie. I didn't want it to be too dark and bleak and depressing. I mean, it was somewhat dark, but there was hope at the end. It's not a mindless action movie. It's definitely an action movie - but a good story I thought. Very entertaining! The story was well done. The characters were great - especially Marcus. You felt what he felt. I think this movie deserves higher than a 6.9 - it's current rating (as of 12-9-09). If you're a fan of Terminator and T-2 - then see this. I did see T3 but was not impressed w/ it and cannot remember much about it (when something doesn't leave an impression, it's usually not that good) - in my humble opinion. I dunno - maybe I need to see it again. I really like Marcus in this movie. I won't give anything away - no spoiler here. Just watch this - you should like it. :-)
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Judgement Day for cinema.
Egg_MacGuffin26 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers ahead. If you decide not to read them and go to see the movie instead, don't say I didn't warn you.

I am appalled. I don't even know where to start. Maybe the title: Terminator Salvation. First, it's not even really a Terminator movie. John Connor was rewritten as the main character, which put Marcus Wright in the background, thus rendering a Terminator character secondary. But even if it was called John Connor Salvation, it still wouldn't make any sense because there is no salvation to be had.

Honestly, what is the point of this "story"? What is the culmination of the events? Skynet wasn't destroyed. The resistance gained no advantage. NOTHING was accomplished! The humans are fighting the machines at the start and at the finish. One Skynet base - one - was blown up somehow. No idea how or when the entire facility was wired for implosion, but it was. So what was the purpose of all this fighting? Skynet designs a prototype Terminator that doesn't even know he's a Terminator. I thought the machines were supposed to be smart. This Terminator had every opportunity in the world to squish Kyle Reese's head, but - oh yeah, Kyle Reese is in this movie. Don't even get me started on that.

But anyway, what the hell was Skynet's plan for killing John Connor?! Lure him to the Skynet base, let him inside to free hundreds of human prisoners, then send ONE naked CGI Arnold after him?! Are you freaking kidding me? And why was Kype Reese, Skynet's number one target, allowed to remain alive for - what, like three days? I don't understand any of this.

The world's most advanced intelligence looks like a bunch of dumb-asses in this movie. John Connor takes down a super-advanced cycle-thing that's capable of countless super-fast calculations with a trick from The Road Runner cartoons? Give me a break! Who the hell wrote this script? Are you somebody's 7 year-old cousin? There's a prologue text that appears at the beginning of the film that offers a good idea - John Connor being seen as a false prophet by many. But where in the blue hell are these non-believers in the actual story? The only guy that doesn't believe in Connor is Michael Ironside, who simply doesn't believe because the script calls for it.

The Oriental-looking woman - who somehow has freshly shampooed and deep-conditioned hair during a nuclear apocalypse - is tossed in for the sake of...well, who knows. She's there. She does nothing and acts irrationally.

The acting in this movie is so bad, I can't think of a word to accurately describe just how bad it is. It's THAT bad. Every line is delivered in either a dramatic whisper or a dramatic shout when the context of the scenes usually calls for neither. Don't people TALK in movies anymore? Talking can be dramatic. Yelling when you don't have to and whispering for no reason is just retarded, especially when everything that's said is completely obvious and on the nose. It's not even melodramatic...it's worse.

There are many references to the first two films that are as pointless as they are countless, thrown in simply because this movie has no good ideas of its own. Nobody is going to remember this film one year from now, but we'll still love the original two.

I really can't think of one single redeeming quality of this catastrophic disaster of a movie. Maybe the fact that is has some giant robots, but I can get from Robot Jox...an equally terrible film that is at least a funny kind of terrible. T4 is just terrible. It's seriously one of the worst films I have seen in recent memory.
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Absolutely Brilliant
hardeep-124 June 2009
I really cannot understand all the negative comments about this film. I am a fan of the Terminator series and truly believe that this film stays true to the original story and actually adds to it tremendously. Now we all know how rubbish T3 was and how utterly disappointing that was but the same cannot be said for this. I went into the cinema not knowing anything about what the film may contain and I did not read any reviews before seeing it. I loved it, and my wife, who is not a fan of the series,could not care less but did think it was good (not as good as I thought it was I hasten to add) so fans of the series may like it more. For all of you that have not seen this yet, go and watch it. You will not be disappointed.
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Are these hate-critics funded by Skynet?
xebec_roy26 June 2009
An Apocalyptic canvas,awesome pulse-pounding action sequences,eye for detail,phenomenal CG and a human touch..that's what makes Terminator Salvation a truly enjoyable movie.There are so many bad reviews that you feel compelled to take a stand.Some of the the Myths and Facts:

Myth:Christian Bale did not do justice to the John Connor role Fact:Bale did a real good job.Bale's steely demeanour and wooden approach is what you'd expect from a battle-weary individual who has been hunted by Terminators and who's fighting each day of his life.

Myth:Terminators are meant to Terminate.They take too much time to kill in Salvation. Fact:The difference between Machines and Humans are getting smaller.Machines,logically,as they evolve,take pleasure in inflicting pain ( unless they are looking for a mass wipe-out) before actually killing.Watch the movie closely,you'll agree.

Myth:This movie does not have a Terminator feel. Fact:This movie is different.While the previous Terminators had hunted in the Present World, this movie is in the Apocalyptic Future, after Judgement Day.The feel has to be different.But there's nothing to scathingly criticise about.

While T2 remains my all-time favorite, T4 carries on the Terminator juggernaut with gusto.

Watch this.Your money won't go to waste.
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Made by some fans for the fans...
jedibearvt4 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I really expected a bad movie considering it was "Charlie's Angels" McG at the helm, but it actually had the same "B" movie feeling the other three had...I got the same great vibe from it I got from some '70s flicks like "Soylent Green" or "Omega Man"...intense stories augmented bu action and some interesting characters that don't necessarily need a lot of screen time to make their marks in the story.

The production was outstanding...this will a great demo disc on BR, especially with the sound design...very layered and intense. The special effects were great and everything from sets to make-up to costumes and photography was a step up from the earlier films, giving it an epic feel. It has a gritty look to the action that suits the setting and story perfectly. The physical action were really well done...it was refreshing to see some very convincing integration of the practical sets along with the now-standard CG stuff that blended well together and again, added an intense realism to the movie without being over the top. Stand-outs include the sensational "Harvester" chase scene and some "throwaway" moments like the HK air patrolling the streets of LA and toppling a building in it's wake and Connor jumping into the waves to meet the Resistance Leadership....cool, quick stuff that wasn't lingered on, but looked great.

Another surprise here is the choice of Danny Elfman, and his score sounds quite good...he gives the music a more traditional orchestral sound opposed to the over-use of synthesizers that many action films rely on these days. It was cool to hear Fidel's main motif pop in once in a while at just the right times.

Now the cast...as mentioned by many other reviews, this is definitely Sam Worthington's show...the story invests a lot of time in Marcus' journey through the film an it helps that Worthington does a really good job with his physical performance (especially with those little nods to Arnold's "stillness" along the way) and he comes across well acting-wise too. I found his struggle with what he really was provided the most poignant moments in the movie...a man trapped in a new existence as a Terminator, fighting to stay connected with his flawed humanity and looking for some kind of redemption for his own past and ending up providing a "salvation" for the resistance and it's new leader....cool stuff and an interesting twist on the whole "Terminator" story.

Bale was a supporting character compared to Marcus. Bale's John Conner seemed a little one-note with his performance throughout the film. There were some cool moments with him though, like when he pops on that GnR tune before capturing the MotoTerminator that brought back memories of the Connor character's motorbike stunts in T2. I also liked that it was pretty clear that not everyone in the resistance (most notably the higher-ups) though he was "all that", but the grunts in the trenches did...gave him an everyman appeal that was pretty cool. His best moments though, were the quiet ones...listening to his mother's voice for what must have been the umpteenth time to try and gain guidance and insight into the situations he found himself in...I thought that really illustrated just how much he really depended on that and how, by the end of the movie, he had to come out from his mother's shadow and come up with his own plan of action...his interactions with Marcus have altered his game and Bale did take us through that process...

Another show-stealer was Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese...he is almost literally channeling Michael Biehn (right down to talking through clenched teeth) as the young resistance fighter Reese. He really brought across the idea of a young man looking for someone or something to follow...and his interaction with Marcus really brought that out and Yelchin just nailed it.

Both of the female characters are a little short-shifted here, but both Howard and Bloodgood do a good job in the brief scenes they have. Neither come across as simple damsels-in-distress, rather it's plain to see that they both play important parts in the resistance.

Like the recent "Star Trek" picture, this one had a lot of visual nods (and some obvious lines) to the earlier films, from the cool opening credits looking similar to the ones the first film to a lot of physical gags from other movies as well, especially with Marcus. The action sequences were well-staged and packed some punch. And yes, the Arnold cameo featured some excellent work from ILM...very well integrated both visually and in the story....very cool.

The ending? The "leaked" one of having Connor killed and coming back as a Terminator might have been shocking, but ultimately it would have rendered the entire saga pointless. The current ending works much better in giving his character some dramatic pause as he goes on in how the war with Skynet is fought...the sacrifice of Marcus alters the future Connor has been expecting to unfold because of the messages from his mother...and now, the future is unknown and he has to lead the resistance based on his own judgment instead of the "road map" laid out by those recordings.

The main thing that really shines though in this movie for me is that it really looks like an effort by folks that really cared about the Terminator saga and wanted to do a great job. As with any of these "franchise" movies, there are always fans who disagree with the approach taken with the film or story elements or casting choices or whatever. But it works great for me...I hope this movie finds a big, receptive audience on DVD and Blu-Ray...
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