Know When to Say When – And Other Lies They Told You.
May 27, 2009
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Franchise films are a slippery slope for Hollywood Producers. They're an easy mark for securing funding; which is why such films can be a danger to themselves and the entire franchise. Like weekend alcohol consumption and the Police Academy movie franchise should have taught us, "know when to say when." If you don't know when to say when, have a friend to say when for you. Especially with movies. For instance, I'm sure George Lucas has a friend who intercepts that 7th drink and says, "George, I think you've had enough." So where was that guy to stop him before he re-released The Clone Wars (animated version)? All he had to do was grab him firmly and say calmly, "George, I think we've had enough."
That was my reason for pause when I learned about Terminator 4. My initial reaction was, another one? Yes, the trailer looked good, but I still couldn't shake the feeling that McG was about to terminate the franchise. Despite my pause, I saw it over the long weekend, and I learned something that every drunkard and producer must know: When you're having a good time, what the hell, keep going. Terminator 4 is a good time. It's a good watch. No, it's not just a good watch. It's a surprisingly good watch – for reasons that are as equally surprising. Here are few:
1) Christian Bale is the film's co-star. The other guy – whoever he is – seems to get equal if not more screen time than Bale.
2) The Terminators are, relatively speaking, scarce in this movie. When they are on screen, boy, talk about screen presence!
3) The cliches in this film actually work. Even the blatant crucifixion pose in the beginning, despite being so heavy handed, was a nice touch.
There's a fourth surprise that you've probably already heard about, but just in case you haven't I'll leave that one alone.
Even the plot is not exactly what you'd think. The Terminators aren't so much killing people as they are collecting them. And they do so with ease. So the intense stainless-steel stalker story from the other three just doesn't apply here. McG has eschewed the cat and mouse game, for something else. He wants to tie-up loose ends from the first one, and then leave the franchise for some other director to drive into the mud. Before they do that, I may go check this one out again. The drunks and the producers are indeed on to something: when you're having a good time, keep going.
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. … more
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