Friday, May 22, 2009

[review] Terminator Salvation

Too Much of What Could Have Been

Terminator ... hmmm.... I really liked the first one. I liked the 2nd one too. #3? Well, I wouldn’t say “there should be only one” ... but two is a nice prime number. #4? Should have stopped at 2.

In toto: How in the name of all that’s holy has The Human Resistance managed to survive for a dozen years with such totally incompetent morons as members? To serve as a cogent example: two people are on the run from evil robots. We’ve discovered there are also people who Are Not Nice. The woman walks under the shelter, takes off her jacket, sticks her pistol in a conveniently placed slot, then suggests to the man that he gather something to burn in the rain while trying to hide from robots with IR/heat sensors. She, of course, gets her weapon taken. Now, not only are there people who Are Not Nice - they are apparently as stupid as Our Heros. Steal the gun & kill them without asking further questions, if the only thing you want is their stuff.

I’m not certain, but I think this is the same woman who, within the first 2 minutes of the movie, is running out of a helicopter into battle with her past-the-shoulder long hair flying around in the copter’s wash. My hair is that long, and damned if I’d be so stupid as to get into a fire fight with it loose. At the end of all the stupidity, I think I ought to have been in charge of military operations, and not Michael Ironside. It's not the fact that there's military stupidity - it's the sheer volume of it.

Why are there never any ugly women in SciFi movies? There are always ugly men.

I’m willing to suspend disbelief regarding things like the Unending Source of gasoline, trained jet fighter pilots, or bullets. No, I’m not sarcastic here - I really will ignore it. There are two different types of SciFi: Blade Runner (and Terminator #1) versus Star Trek. Earth more or less like today with robots or other mechanical gizmos which - while not available today - don’t stretch the imagination tooooo far; these are critical components to the plot. Then there’s the other half of the genre of technology which is - as far as I’m concerned - completely implausible, but serves as a decorative backdrop to action/drama. I can enjoy either kind. But this movie pushes the limits of how frequently I need to suspend disbelief.

There are a couple of cutesy lines from the previous movies. Fine. But these are inserted so obviously artificially that they detratct from the flow of dialogue. No, I haven’t seen the TV show, so I don’t know if that contributes/detracts from this movie.

This is really an action movie with no other redeeming value. That's ok - but then it shouldn’t claim to be anything else. Another review sums up my opinion as well. Now, contrary to the reviewer at the Strib, Terminator #1 and #2 are not deep forays into the Human Condition, questioning the Nature of Humanity. #1 was an action movie around Arnie; #2 was a better action movie with a better story line, but still not deep psychological analysis. However, this movie is not nearly as bad as he makes it sound - it just fails his yardstick of Deep Thought.

Finding the kid you know is your father ... I understand this is a cool point. But seriously ... has John Connor not bothered to do this before? Suddenly he needs to find Dad?

if you have not seen the theater trailer for the movie - DO NOT DO IT! Resist temptation. It will completely and totally destroy the first half of the movie’s attempt at suspense. The major point of the trailer is exactly the major suspense element in the movie. It could have been so good. Is he a terminator? Is one of them? Who is? In all honesty, this really spoiled the movie for me far more than stupid military tactics. This could have been such a good plot device. But, apparently they were all out of Real Plot Devices when they got past the FX budget items.

The director and writers don't have any smash hits that would entice me to see the film due to their names. McG directed Charlie's Angels 1 & 2 and We Are Marshal. The former totally and completely blew chow. The latter was better, but still a formulaic underdog story which couldn't even manage to get school logos right.

Gopher Rating: I suppose you might want to watch it on DVD if you're really into the mythos or if you really need action brain candy without any serious romance/love interest because your wife left you and Anna Karenena is the only alternative.

This isn’t qiute “go floss your teeth” ... but other than the FX or if you're a Christian Bale fan, the only redeeming value in the movie is Sam Worthington - not that he's sexy or anything, but he's the best actor in the movie.

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