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Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series

1 rating: 3.0
Animated Feature Film Review
1 review about Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series

A Zippy Prequel with Animated Style

  • Dec 13, 2009
  • by

Machinima, for those unaware (a group that included myself until a few moments ago) is the process of using a video game engine to produce cinematic visuals.  Somehow this apparently red-hot trend has managed to completely elude me until my on-a-whim purchase of Terminator Salvation The Machinima Series on DVD; it was recommended at the time of purchase of the Terminator Salvation DVD so I figured what the hey…

Broken down into six individual episodes, Salvation the Machinima spans a single DVD packaged within a standard clamshell case and comes in at a runtime of 74 minutes.  Extras include a Making Of featurette and a profile segment on lead character Blair Williams.

Though unrated, the picture consists of standard-fair science fiction action, violence and occasional blood splatter (all animated of course).

The story goes something like this: Two years before the events of the Terminator Salvation motion picture (2016), Resistance member Blair Williams finds herself a survivor of the events of Judgment Day, basically running ground missions when not piloting a fighter plane.  Her most recent assignment has her tracking down a “ghost”; a presumed machine responsible for the Resistance having temporarily lost communications.  To her surprise her target is in fact a fellow human survivor who, through hacking, discovered an inherent flaw in the machines’ short-range communicators that allows for disturbance when his algorithm is activated.

Though her orders are to eliminate the target, Blair finds herself in a situation of disobeying for the greater good of humanity.

The plot’s pretty interesting and does a solid job in painting some colorful back-story to one of the primary characters of Salvation.  A nice tough was the inclusion of the vocal talent of Moon Bloodgood, who happens to play Blair in the film as well.  She nails the role with the requisite monotone narration required of all of the Terminator’s leading ladies.  Chalk it up to accurate scripting, but at times the opening narration of each episode could very nearly be coming from Linda Hamilton herself.

The prose is quite action-laden throughout with no shortage of gunfights, hot pursuits, and big explosions.  Like in the film, the T-600 is the primary assassin choice of the machines while Aerostats and Hunter Killers (HKs) fill the post-apocalyptic skies.

As solid a story in summation, the pacing is a bit erratic with some episodes chalk full of action while others drag on with seemingly little plot progression.  In all the prose manages to succeed but it would have been nice to have the option of playing the episodes in one continuous 74-minute feature as the episode breaks have the annoying habit of popping up just as the going gets good.

Visually the film is a bit of a mixed bag.  The background textures are impressively detailed and some of the mood/ lighting looks as though it could have been lifted and transplanted right from the Salvation film.  However, the character models are a bit stiff and cobbily animated throughout.  Mouth flap detail is at times downright painful and even the enemy robots look a bit too, um, robotic.  However, such things are to be expected when using an engine that was designed to produce video game visuals in filmmaking I suppose.  The positive spin on this is that visuals rendered in a fully 3-D gaming environment provide directors with the ability to literally decide which “camera angle” works best for each and every single shot.  Once all of the virtual pieces are set into place, viewing a given scene from every conceivable angle becomes a reality.  As such, the direction is nice and tight, with well-framed shots and some unique perspectives.

In all, Terminator Salvation The Machinima Series is an interesting little prequel that ties pretty neatly into the film much in the way the Animatrix was integral to the Matrix trilogy.  Of particular interest was the concept that the machine weakness discovered by the Resistance in the beginning of Salvation’s origins can be traced back to Machinima’s plot.  Additionally the bonus material included acts as a nice perk to DVD holdouts who forgone downloading the episode clips from iTunes, Amazon, X-Box Live or to their Sony Playstation.

A Zippy Prequel with Animated Style

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December 06, 2010
Was wondering alot about this one, great review.
December 06, 2010
Good backstory- terrible animation. In all, worth the $6 it set me back.
December 13, 2009
wow! Thanks for sharing this one. This is the advantage of being active in a site like this, I would've missed this if you hadn't written a review for it. I am a Terminator fan so this is something I can sink my teeth into despite your less than stellar rating. Thanks for the great review! Moon Bloodgood is HOT!
December 14, 2009
No problem bro. I think you would find this pretty interesting (plus as a bonus it's good and cheap). The animation isn't the finest but if you liked Moon's character (Blair Williams) in Salvation, this is a must-see prequel. Thanks for the feedback my man.
December 14, 2009 nudity?
December 14, 2009
lol- no, unfortunately everyone (save the Terminators) stay pretty well covered. However, I'm not sure the experience would be that great being the "virtual" incarnation of Moon and all. I guess beggars can't be choosers, right?! I just watched the first Terminator again (after several years and multiple movies) and was surprised at the Linda Hamilton nudity at the John Connor conception scene. I totally forgot about that! Great work Cameron!
January 18, 2011
Oh, yeah. I decided to pick up a used copy at Rasputins for $ 5.95. I decided to re-visit your review to know what to expect. Hamilton in that nude that's why he married her LOL! hey, check out this FUNIMATION release if you may: I am waiting on your verdict for SHREK.drop me a line!
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