Terminator Salvation

Known only as “Terminator 4″ in Japan which is advertised as part of the same continuity as “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” over here. After the fun time I had with Terminator 3 and the impressive ending I looked forward to future installments because we would finally get to see the ‘Future War’ that was only glimpsed at in the first two Terminator Movies.

When news broke that McG was going to make T4 you could say that I was not happy. I didn’t even bother to watch the Charlie’s Angles movies all the way through. It was just so mindless and over the top. But I digress. McG himself has tried to push that aside and show himself as a Director of serious movies, one that understands the fans wants. Casting Christian Bale in this movie as John Connor was a good start. But this casting seemingly had a big change on the movie. The problem seemed to start with the script, the focus being on the character of Marcus Wright and John Connor being a background character as in early reports mentioning that Christian Bale would have a small role in this movie. But how can you have a star like Christian Bale in a small role. So the film was split. Half is the journey of Marcus Wright and his “Salvation”, the other half being John Connor becoming the leader of the resistance, but it never really works this way. The scenes of Christian Bale in a bunker arguing with leaders over the radio on a Sub doesn’t hold that much of a dramatic punch. While Bale is listening to tapes and being stared at by Bryce Dallas Howard, Wright’s character is out in the field, having his first meeting with Kyle Reese, fighting Terminators etc. That’s because in the original script and the ending Wright becomes John Connor when they place Connor’s flesh over Wright’s terminator body.This ending was leaked months ago and I hated it, it was later debunked and then even later told to be true, with Marcus taking Connor’s place as the leader and supposedly killing everyone (I don’t buy that last part, why kill off the entire cast of a possible Trilogy movie).

Even though I hated that scrapped ending the entire movie seems to be leading up to that point. When Connor gets a piece of metal lodged in his chest I thought “crap! McG screwed us!”. But the ending we got was flat and plain, no twists, shocks, no plot point to lead into another movie. I almost think the alternative might be better, no matter how shocking it may be. It’s still going have you chewing on something when you walk out, wondering what’s going to happen next. But alas, no, they didn’t even try to do any kind of twist ending to replace that. What a disappointment in that regard. But I did notice in “Heroes” they nicked this one and used it to end their season 3.

The script should have been rewritten from scratch rather then taking one not so great script and getting it polished up by a handful of writers trying to make it work. To add to all these problems, McG was forced to cut about 30 minutes from the movie, a lot might have been scenes with Connor and Howard.

Bale’s John Connor is unfortunately lacking here. Screen time and characterization. In T2 he’s a troubled kid. In T3 he is a man lost, without a destiny and fighting against it . Here he is without motive. He wants to save his father. That’s about it.
Bryce Dallas howard has such a small part in this movie I wonder why they didn’t go with someone less famous. I guess they are holding out for more character development in the sequels. Something more than just staring at John Connor. Worthington and Yelchinhave good screen chemistry and a story. Moon Bloodgood. Who? She likes to cuddle. Yep.

Some annoying things in the movie. The way Kyle Reese kept calling out the names of all the Terminators they encounter, “Hunter Killer! T-600! Motor Terminators”. OK OK, I know what Toy to buy, you don’t have to name them all for me. Speaking of Terminator Models, what is Wright? For a Terminator from 2003 he is pretty advanced. Almost as strong as the T-800 and advanced enough to hold his memories and his human heart, keeping our most important parts… A superior infiltration Terminator to the T-800, so why are the less advanced T-800s being built almost 15 years later? It would make sense if he came from the Future but how the heck did they create him in the past unless they sent someone back through time to do so. Why did Skynet need to lure Connor to them so they could kill both him and Reese? They don’t even need to do that. Just kill Kyle Reese and boom. Game over. Did we really need another Terminator fight in the factory? We’ve had the T-800 in 4 films now. It’s lost the threat and menace it previously held.

Before watching Terminator 4 I took the time to rewatch these Future War scenes again to see how they would compare to T4. James Cameron created a future, distant from our own since it’s a future based on the view of an 80s movie. An apocalyptic future. The scenes are chilling as soldiers fight on a nuclear wasteland at night and Terminators walk on the skulls and bones of those long gone. It is forever dark, visually and emotionally. In Terminator 4 we aren’t quite there yet. It’s 2018 and the resistance still seems quite capable and heavily armed compared to the scenes of 2029 where Humans are making do with anything they have.
The film isn’t bad.  There’s some great action scenes and impressive effects and a nice cameo by the end.  I think it just doesn’t have anything of itself to sell, the previous movies had Schwarzenegger and Cameron’s directing. This just looks pretty. There will be a sequel and McG already has ideas…

“...the next movie is going to take place in a [pre-Judgment Day] 2011. John Connor is going to travel back in time and he’s going to have to galvanize the militaries of the world for an impending Skynet invasion. They’ve figured out time travel to the degree where they can send more than one naked entity. So you’re going to have hunter killers and transports and harvesters and everything arriving in our time and Connor fighting back with conventional military warfare, which I think is going to be fucking awesome.” – McG

Yeah? I don’t. Hold the Mc Fries. It might look cool but you’re getting away from the Franchise entirely. Why not show us an even worse future, the resistance battling skynet as it plans to send two Terminators back through time and Connor having to come to terms with sending his young Dad back through time to knock up his Mother.

I like the idea and the perspective for the next picture that you meet Robert Patrick the way he looks today, and he’s a scientist that’s working on, you know, improving cell replication so we can stay healthier and we can cure diabetes and do all these things that sound like good ideas, and to once again live as idealized expressions as ourselves.” -McG

Now I actually like this idea. Seeing the creation of the T-1000 and having Robert Patrick back would be very cool. I hope future sequels bring the movies full circle with what came before.

Favorite Quote:So that’s what death tastes like.” – Marcus Wright

This entry was posted in Cinema, Science fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s