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Terminator Salvation (Director's Cut) (2009)

A movie directed by Joseph McGinty

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Salvation Comes At A Cost (Time You'll Never Get Back)

  • Jun 2, 2009
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"Terminator Salvation" is one of the best examples of a film that was never meant to have any more or less heart then was required of it. Let me explain: The original Terminator films by James Cameron were movies about ideas. Yeah, they were horribly convoluted ideas that might not hold up to scrutiny, but they were about ideas none-the-less. Like "Back To The Future" they toyed with the idea of time travel, and by that token they also dealt with the idea of "cause and effect." They were action films, but they were smart action films. Once "Terminator 3" came out I knew that the series was no longer about ideas so much as about making as much of these films as possible. The studio knows it, and I think even the moviegoers know it too somewhere underneath their "we'll see it just to see it" attitude.

The movies advertising claims that this movie revolves around John Conners (Christian Bale) rising up and taking up the cause for the fight against the machines. This is what they would like you to think. Most likely because Warner Bros. knew that they had to get a star to play John Conners, and once they had the star they had to market that star to death. But no, the movie is really about Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a man who in his previous life was a convict on death row but now walked free in the current apocalyptic world. He initially has no feelings on any matter in particular, but he comes to discover that being shot at by gun touting Terminators will inspire one to become a political activist. He seeks out Conners to offer his assistance to the alliance, only to have Conners reject him on the grounds that he is, in fact, a Terminator.

Now I'm going to ignore some very basic flaws with this story right off the bat. I'm going to ignore the fact that the movie gives away this fact at the beginning of the movie and thus ruins the surprise for the audience. I'm going to ignore the fact that John Conners is no more important to the world then any other soldier, so there's no need to seek him out in particular. I'm even going to ignore the fact that the movie, despite being nothing but noise up until now, almost put me to sleep. I'm going to ignore all this because here is an interesting idea for a film. Once Marcus finds out he is not human he is shocked and scared. He loves humanity. He lives life. He's even starting to discover girls at this point. If he is not human, then where do these emotions come from?

This would be a great jumping point for director McG to not only prove himself a worthy director, but to also show that this movie wasn't just being made for a quick easy buck. Well, obviously this isn't the case. In this films eyes the next logical thing to do is have a woman free him and then have the resistance spend the next twenty minutes shooting at him with no foreseeable effect. Even less so then usual since the world of "Terminator Salvation" is nothing but dessert and destroyed buildings. Visually there is nothing appealing to look at in this film. It's a wasteland. One that doesn't give the viewer anything to connect with emotionally when things get destroyed. When the Terminator destroyed a couple of 80's buildings with live people inside it registered to audiences as something cruel.

I doubt audiences will feel anything when a Terminator in this film destroys an abandoned building in the middle of nowhere. There are good points in this film, most of which revolving around Marcus discovering who he is and what he exists for. These scenes make an otherwise boring film more interesting, but because Sam Worthington is no star we have to spend most of our time with John Conners. Is Conners important to the story? That's doubtful. I mean, he does destroy a manufacturing plant, free prisoners, and have a one-on-one battle with a CGI created Arnold Schwarzenegger. But does has the hero done anything important when he ends a film with "We've won the battle but the war goes on?" I'll leave that for you to decide.

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June 04, 2009
MAN! You pretty much said what @ajrawls said but, he said it put him to sleep! And I was looking forward to seeing this...oh well, thanks SO much for saving me time and money!!!
June 03, 2009
Great review! Despite the fact that we have two completely different perspectives on the movie, I can appreciate reading about it from the other side since you completely loathed this film! I do like a lot of the points you make. If I could just tell you to edit one thing and that is the fact that it is John Connor, not Connors. Great Review :)
June 02, 2009
Disappointment has been a frequent reaction to this particular movie, though I think it has a part to do with shadowing in bigger releases like Star Trek and Up. Either way, I know I could take this movie off the agenda with all of the summer movies coming out...
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.
About the reviewer
Kevin T. Rodriguez ()
Ranked #126
Kevin T. Rodriguez is an aspiring film journalist. He's more comfortable typing a review then doing an on-camera appearance, but he loves doing the occasional rant. Whether it be on movies, eBay, or comics, … more
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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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Director: McG
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2009
Runtime: 117 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
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