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Terminator Salvation (Director's Cut) (2009)

A movie directed by Joseph McGinty

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With extremely low expectations Terminator is a blast!

  • May 25, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+3
Out of 8 people who I watched this movie with - only myself and another person really liked this movie.  Couple people really did not like it, and a few were in the middle...
I was so excited to see Terminator Salvation until the week of its opening where it got annihilated by reviews.  Scoring 25% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time I saw the film, I was expecting this movie to be awful.  Not to mention the fact that McG the director of Charlie's Angels 1+2 was at the helm with a script by the guys that wrote the dreadful T3.  Reluctantly I attended opening day (my tickets were purchased before the reviews came out) expecting the worst, saying to myself as long as it has some cool action sequences I'll be happy...
I was blown away visually.  (remember I was expecting to dislike this movie greatly)  From a cinematic technical point of view this movie rocked.  There's a helicopter sequence in the first part of the movie that was jaw dropping cool for cineasts who are adept in filmmaking techniques.  The look, the feel and tone of the film are pitch perfect.  The cinematographer who got yelled at by Christian Bale did an amazing job.  There's shafts of light that separate the foreground and background nicely giving the frame dimension and designed intelligently for dramatic effect in coordination with the actor's blocking.
Sound design, these guys I hope win an Oscar.  The sound was so densely layered with different throbbing and pulsing mixed in with themes from the prior movies that attack your senses on a subconscious level without mudding the sharp and clean bullet sounds and other diegetic action or dialog.
The cast is fantastic.  Christian Bale does a great job as John Conner (though he's not given much besides yelling at people - which could explain his on set antic).  For me, two other actors stole the show - Sam Worthington and Anton Yelchin who are amazing talents and with solid careers ahead of them.  Worthington can fill silence with  palpable emotion.  He has the "it" factor of an A-list headliner star.  His presence on screen is undeniable.  Yelchin plays a completely different yet believable character in contrast to his portrayal of Chekov in this year's JJ Abram's Star Trek.  He's always present and always thinking and has a maturity that works perfectly with the post-apocalyptic future, where to survive you have to grow up fast.
Story, don't expect much at all.  You'll even have to throw out some basic human logic at points.  There's stuff in there that you'll see a mile away moving at a snail's pace.  I do credit the writers for not trying to write something fantastically complex that makes absolutely no sense.  It's basically a straight linear story.
If you're comparing this movie to the first Terminator films - T1 or T2 by James Cameron, just don't - those are masterpieces in my book.  Cameron is in a league of his own.  Any sequel of a James Cameron film that does not has his stamp of approval (which this did not nor did T3), will be sure to fall quite short of his work.
Terminator Salvation is a roller coaster ride - a fun popcorn movie with spectacular action set pieces.  If you're expecting a great story, move on, you will most likely not enjoy it.  Otherwise if you just want to get away from the world and watch a bunch of stuff blow up, this is fun.

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May 28, 2009
Good review! I too was blown away with that opening shot of the attack on the satellite base where after MULTIPLE big airplanes blow up, a huge Christian Bale appears in one of the most badass entrances an action star could ask for. Out of curiosity, why do you think T1 and T2 were such masterpieces while this sequel doesn't compare? I figured it was b/c the Schwartzenegger and kid dynamic is so over-the-top, like a kid fighting/playing with an action figure, that it works.
May 29, 2009
Thanks! IMHO this latest T4 does not have near the writing quality that T1 and T2 has (character development and arcs, well woven plot, etc). See Jbesweick's review for the story flaws in Terminator Salvation.
 
May 25, 2009
Love your title. How can you go wrong with low expectations? I was curious what you think of @jbeswick's review? It's a different take.
May 28, 2009
Thanks! I enjoyed jbeswick's review and gave it three thumbs up. I think he and I agree on a lot of points. I wasn't expecting to like it which can make all the difference!
 
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More Terminator Salvation reviews
review by . February 27, 2011
posted in SF Signal
Be forewarned - I didn't like it. Why - we'll get to in a minute but first: I don't hate all movies. I don't even hate all "modern" science fiction" movies.? But since I hated Charlies Angels, its probably safe to say that I do hate all MCG movies. I like a good science fiction film. I'll even give props to SF films that aren't 100% good; in fact, considering some of the flicks I do like, my standards are pretty low. But not so low as to include this abomination. …
review by . May 23, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
movie poster
Hollywood has a habit of rebooting successful franchises, and it seems like the next one on the list is James Cameron's "Terminator" franchise. I have always wondered how the futuristic apocalyptic world of this sci-fi franchise would look like and as to how humans are able to survive and keep a "resistance". Having the rare distinction of being both a prequel and a sequel, "TERMINATOR SALVATION" attempts to give us that vision. The film pretty much takes off after …
review by . December 11, 2009
A Futuristic Action Romp in the Terminator Mythos
   I’ve been a fan of the Terminator series for as long as there’s been a Terminator series and at the conclusion of each of the films there’s been a steady theme to my wonderment: When is John Connor going to fulfill his destiny as the savior of humanity? Unfortunately, my near-famous question remains unanswered once more in Terminator Salvation but before we get into all that, let’s explore the nitty-gritty, shall we?   The film represents the fourth …
review by . December 10, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
I've been a fan of the Terminator series for as long as there's been a Terminator series and at the conclusion of each of the films there's been a steady theme to my wonderment: When is John Connor going to fulfill his destiny as the savior of humanity? Unfortunately, my near-famous question remains unanswered once more in Terminator Salvation but before we get into all that, let's explore the nitty-gritty, shall we?    The film represents the fourth full-length motion picture …
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
i thaught that it was a good movie. full of suppence and action. i think the end was the best part.
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This movie had more heart than the others in the series. The end is the best part to me.
Quick Tip by . July 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Unfortunately it was not the final terminator movies, but oddly enough it was almost a prequel to the others.
review by . December 21, 2009
I wouldn't hate this film as much if it didn't follow on the heels of two of the best films ever made. I'll admit that a couple of the early publicity photos piqued my interest, like this one...            ... which seemed to indicate some thought had gone into what Future War actually looks like. But then I reminded myself that this is directed by someone who calls himself "McG" (passport and drivers license, please) and whose string of directing …
review by . May 22, 2009
I'm really surprised to see how the Terminator franchise continually gets trashed by different directors. James Cameron's original premise sets up one of the greatest movie villains of all time against a hero with one of the biggest challenges of all time, and never lets go of its audience, creating a suspenseful sci-fi/horror story that's really second to none. Yet after the first two films, it's gone downhill from there.  Undoubtedly the special effects are the star of this film, with …
Quick Tip by . February 19, 2010
I thought everyone was killed at the end of Terminator 3. Oh well, I guess not. Good action w/ an actual plot. Go w/ me if you want to live.
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Wiki

Terminator Salvationrestores some of the balance of huge freakin' explosions and emotionally compelling plot to theTerminatorseries. Set entirely after the nuclear assault that left the computer system Skynet in control of the world,Terminator Salvationfollows John Connor (Christian Bale) as he grapples with both murderous robots and his superiors in the resistance, who aren't sure they believe the prophecies that Connor is destined to save humanity. Into the midst of this struggle tumbles Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington, who would later star in James Cameron'sAvatar); the last thing he remembers was being executed in prison decades before. Baffled, he falls into company with Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin,Star Trek) and a mute little girl, who soon get captured--but Wright then meets and bonds with Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood,Eight Below), a resistance fighter who remains loyal to the confused Wright even though Connor suspects he's not what he seems--or what he believes himself to be.Terminator Salvationisn't the astonishing synthesis of action and feeling that eitherThe TerminatororT2were; the plot threads are poorly woven and fray completely in the last third of the movie. Despite this,Terminator Salvationhas at least two skillfully orchestrated action sequences that will get your heart racing, and Worthington’s beguiling mixture of toughness and vulnerability gives his relationship with Bloodgood a genuine pulse. It's imperfect, but compared ...
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Details

Director: McG
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2009
Runtime: 117 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
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