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Terminator Salvation (Director's Cut) (2009)

A movie directed by Joseph McGinty

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Transformers: Salvation

  • Dec 21, 2009
  • by
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 credits peaks at Charlie's Angels.

The Terminator canon isn't without its problems and logic gaps - such as...
  • Why do all Terminators look like Arnold? Doesn't this make them easy to spot?
  • Why only send one machine back? Why not send everything you've got?
  • Presumably Terminator are pretty heavy, so you don't need anything but a set of scales to identify one.
  • How does the T-1000 time through time when it's not surrounded by living tissue?
...etc, which fanboys across the Internet have debated for decades. Largely, none of this really matters because the vision of the future is so engrossing, and we're so connected with the fate of the Connors that the robots and visuals become secondary.

Like T3, T4 has no heart or soul: it's a mediocre rehashing of Cameron's work with an unhealthy dose of Michael Bay layered on top. The machines look like men in suits, even with the blue-screen holes that try to convince us they're not. The CG is too fast and too polished to seem real or intimidating, and the comic book violence removes any sense of danger or risk (Bale gets punched through the heart in one scene, after being thrown around industrial equipment like a ragdoll - and he emerges 'ok').

One of the best features of the first film is that a Terminator is tough but not invincibly strong - it doesn't throw cars at people, and tries to avoid damage. It doesn't throw people around to extend scene time - it simply executes in the most methodical way possible. And after all this - it was Sarah's nightmare, that nobody else believed with no evidence to backup. The Terminator is not a robot - it's her demon. Genius. In this film, there is the much-celebrated return of 1984 Ahhhnold a la CGI that highlights how far the franchise has strayed from the initial menace, as he spends 5 minutes beating up John Connor rather than simply snapping his neck like a toothpick. And that's really dull.

Another problem with the future is that there's no Sarah. Seeing as it's her story, this is a real problem since John is mainly a man with a machine gun. She carries the plot and the audience understands her determination to stop the future, to the point where we gleefully watch her blowing up buildings and escaping mental institutions. Without her, this is a nihilistic unwinnable war in which the robots get ever larger and the human life expectancy gets shorter, and its hard to feel anything about that.

Anyway it seems that non-Cameron sequels are always made by people who either didn't see or like or understand the films they are following. Aliens 3 and 4 did this, and Terminator 3 and 4 are doing the same. No doubt they'll be a non-Cameron Titanic sequel at some point that will trash the first one. A damned shame. Clearly we need to coax him out of Pandora and back in the Terminator hotseat to get this story back on track.


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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 . 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.
review by . June 03, 2009
Terminator Salvation T888 poster
There are going to be a lot of purists for the original films who are not going to have a lot of good things to say about this film...including James Cameron.  As much as I am a "child of the times" and enjoy originals just the way they are, reboots are a great thing to re-ignite some dying franchises.  Part of what makes Terminator so great is all of its time paradoxes.  You can do anything with this great franchise, something that late Sarah Connor Chronicles proved.  What …
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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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