Sunday, January 17, 2010

Terminator Salvation

While it didn't match up to James Cameron's Terminator and Terminator 2 (big surprise), and overall, despite my criticisms below, I was entertained and satisfied with this new installment of the Terminator saga.
It was much better than T3, and introducing a new cast was better than having Nick Stahl and Claire Danes return as John Connor and Kate Brewster (which was what had previously been planned).

Also, I loved the grinding sounds of the machines.

Perhaps I'm being overly critical towards a franchise that features time travel (which is something I believe is a scientific impossibility) and the T-1000, a robot which can turn into liquid and mimic the form of almost anything it touches.
The more illogical speed-bumps one must endure makes it increasingly difficult to suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy the fantastical at face value. The premise of a science-fiction story is a delicate thing. Even with a solid premise, too many reaches and it will unsteady the foundation and the house of cards can come falling down.

The seeds of something better were visible, but just didn't come all the way together in the end.
I felt the supporting cast was somewhat weak & unfitting.
I didn't really feel like Bryce Dallas Howard belonged in this film, and I'm tired of seeing musicians/rappers (Common) getting sympathy roles in big budget productions.
Although Bale's performance may have fit the character, I have a problem with the flat one-note, heartless performances of Christian Bale leading both the Batman and Terminator franchise. It's just too much Bale to stomach.

In all previous Terminator films they never showed John Connor in his future leadership role. I feel as if the character of John Connor was over-exposed in Terminator Salvation. In the early script drafts, John was a secondary character, and I can only imagine 'what if'. Less could have been more.

The future doesn't quite capture the visions of the gritty downtrodden future shown in T1 and T2.
"The idea that events in Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines altered the future also allowed them to be flexible with their presentation of the futuristic world."
That was flexibility that director McG, who made his directing debut with Charlie's Angels (sigh), should not have been allowed.
The problem with having the freedom to alter the perception of the future, is that the dystopian future shown in T1 and T2 is what all Terminator fans wanted to see fully realized in a full-length film all along.

In regards to Skynet creating an infiltration unit in Sam Worthington's character, you'd think Skynet would just override his hybrid brain and force it to kill it's primary targets upon discovery.

Are you telling me that this gargantuan 50 ton machine shows up without anyone hearing it approaching? And that it forcefully scoops up people with giant metal claws without killing, let alone injuring them? I don't think so!

I can't tell you how sick & tired I am of scenes of people interacting with robots/supercomputers (i.e. The Architect from The Matrix etc.) which can mimic human form without fault, complete with all the complexity of human facial expressions and voice inflection. It's more than a reach, it won't ever happen. Not to mention machines will never develop emotion. To me it just takes thing from science fiction into a realm of fantasy, and makes everything less believeable. Save that for films more rooted in fantasy rather than science fiction.

"The original ending was to have John killed, and his image kept alive by the resistance by grafting his skin onto Marcus' cybernetic body. However, after the Internet leak, Warner Bros. decided to completely change the entire third act of the film."
It's ashame the original ending got cut, because it could have added an unexpected dimension and altered what we thought we knew. It'd almost make more sense and be more fitting that a half-man half-machine would go on to lead the resistance against the machines, and that John Connor's role in winning the war was cut short and not nearly as important as once thought.

Although entirely unrelated to Terminator: Salvation, I did happen to read through Darkhorses' Terminator Omnibus Volume 1 and Volume 2 comic compilations a month or so prior to seeing the film, which continued with the Terminator mythos starting in 1989.

Here's a comical dance remix of Christian Bale's profanity-laden rant on the set of Terminator: Salvation

Don't play the following clip unless you've already seen the movie!

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