Movie Review: Terminator Salvation

Cast: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood, Anton Yelchin, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common, Michael Ironside and Helena Bonham Carter.

Courtesy the Halcyon Company

The best thing I can say is that it’s not bad.

Stuff I Didn’t Like:

  • The whole movie looked and felt like a first-person shooter. Big CG-driven action sequences, a color palette that has huge swatches of “dirt” and “grit,” and characters growling out their alpha-maleness that is probably meant to show them as heroic but makes them come off as swaggering pricks. There’s one exception (see below).
  • The male leads might have been more rounded if their lines had been better written. Again, the script writers apparently came from EA instead of the work rooms of Sarah Connor Chronicles. The talents of the cast were let down by these substandard writers.
  • Likewise the substandard director. McG tries to get pathos out of Christian and Sam and what we get is a lot of baseless bravado. And some… interesting subtext. You can’t tell me that John Conner staring down the chained up Marcus Wright isn’t a bit of a Foe Yay moment. I giggled a bit at it, but this is under “didn’t like” because it wasn’t what McG intended. At least, I don’t think. He missed the target like a champ on more than one occasion.
  • 2018 Los Angeles, just over a decade after nuclear war, and the resistance fighters are fine in rag-tag jackets and no respirators in sight? Clearly, when they were pulling their ideas out of FPS games, they didn’t spare a glance to Fallout 3.
  • Sam, buddy? Pick an accent. Thanks.

Stuff I Liked:

  • I’m sorry, but even when he’s working with this stuff, it’s hard for me to dislike Christian Bale. Ditto Bryce Dallas Howard, Michael Ironside and Helena Bonham Carter.
  • I also love seeing A-10s in action, even when they’re CG’d.
  • The aforementioned scene with Christian and Sam. “Oh, just kiss him already, John…”

Stuff I Loved:

  • Anton Yelchin. The kid has an amazing agent, as Comhradh pointed out, what with him getting into two major blockbuster movies that are part of franchises that haven’t seen big screen treatment in years. But on top of that, he’s the one actor who doesn’t feel like a guy trying to prove how big his dick is. There’s also the fact that at a few moments during the film’s climax, I could have sworn he looked a lot like a young Michael Biehn.
  • The movie is full of shout-outs to previous incarnations of the franchise. It also would have tied beautifully into the Sarah Connor Chronicles, if it hadn’t just been canceled. Again, it was pointed out that the movie and TV show could have helped one another in terms of sales and story. But, the writers of the show didn’t give a damn about Fox (good for them!) and I doubt they’d have given McG the time of day either.
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  1. It always amuses me that intelligent machines, who could make themselves into ANY shape, decide that bi-pedal humanoids are the pinnacle of design possibilities.

  2. JoshNo Gravatar

    July 6, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Silent 3 :

    It always amuses me that intelligent machines, who could make themselves into ANY shape, decide that bi-pedal humanoids are the pinnacle of design possibilities.

    The Terminators being bipedal, I can understand, since they’re infiltration units. The big harvesters, on the other hand…

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