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.
I know its partly me: I'm stuck in an earlier era, one in which we were taught (both theoretically and by way of example on the big screen) that a good movie had - acting, plot, continuity, intelligible dialogue and, in the case of science fiction film - science that makes sense, technology that makes sense and reactions/plot points that reacted sensibly to both (come to think of it: why don't light sabers ever run out of power in the middle of a duel...)
Obviously it is my opinion that T:S had little to none of the aforementioned.
Low points: Christian Bale should have been wearing a mask and a cape; I wonder if anyone ever told him that he was acting in T4, not B3.
But perhaps I should back off a bit and hit things more globally before criticizing particular points.
One of the conceits that I always enjoyed about the previous T movies was the4 conceit that since we were playing with time travel, there was no reason to write a different plot for later incarnations. All you really have to do is take the various scenes from the first film (arrival, car chase, stumbling-injured-chase, seizure of police vehicles ("get out"), female lead comes into her own and such, mix them up, shove the new faces and new effects into them and viola - T2, T3.
By presenting the sequels in this fashion, it was possible to maintain the fiction throughout all three that they are all realities that were squeezed off into their own time-loop, doomed to repeat essentially the same sequence over and over, because out world avoided Judgment Day the moment that Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor conceived John.
(Somehow the whole time-travel paradox concept - understated as it was in the first film - has gotten lost, perhaps the filmmakers consider it too complex a concept for general audiences to understand but here it is in a nutshell: Reese travels to the past and conceives John Connor - the very person who would send him into the past to be conceived. John Connor, leader of the human resistance, only exists because there has been a Judgment Day - rendering the entire Terminator universe one parallel to our own, and one that only shares histories up to that conception point.)
Unlike Star Trek, in which the confusion between time travel and parallel universes muddles the entire plot, the set-up from the original Terminator film begins the franchise with the ability to play with alternate realities in any manner desired, since we're already in an alternate reality and have already introduced time travel and paradoxes, the plot is free to go wherever it wishes to.
So, instead of playing with the timelines, the BIG TWIST in T4 is: "hey - how about instead of people and machines traveling from the future to the past, we have a man/machine travel from the past into the future...?"
I'm beginning to think that we need Congress to enact a Science Fiction Film Law: anyone planning on producing a science fiction film must first submit their plot to a panel of science fiction writers, artists, futurists and editors (and a select group of successful SF film producers/directors, living or dead with success NOT measured by box office receipts) before the project can be financed.
I'm growing as bored of writing this review as I was while watching the film. I swear to god I almost fell asleep a couple of times. The so-called action sequences left me dizzy, with no real sense of who was fighting whom or what the outcome of the battle was; the camera shook too much, the perspective was way too close to the action and the cuts were MTV-quick style. I was honestly surprised that we didn't get flashed to a shot of a midget riding a tricycle, or 99 red balloons floating up to the sky.
I felt no sympathy for any of the characters; the future-retro look of Skynets machinery left me yawning and pissed off: the bikes and hydrobots were way too sophisticated when compared to the almost-steampunk-like giant terminators - but I totally lost it when, in a scene not too long after the young Kyle Reese explains that it's best to move around during the day because Skynet uses infrared, everyone is sitting around camp fires in the middle of the night.
Adding insult to injury - the executed felon turned terminator rips out his own control chip in order to defy his programming.
Nice to see Arnold in the cameo - he looked 25 years younger. They could have done the same for Shatner and Nimoy in Star Trek.
So far, the 2009 SF film season has been a major downer, box office receipts notwithstanding. If this is what we get from big budget, hyped up franchises, I say its time to go back to low-budget, no prior history, stories that rely on story, SF films.
What did you think of this review?