Thursday, May 21, 2009

Review: Terminator Salvation

Grade: A-

Terminator Salvation is the fourth movie in the infamous sci-fi franchise. Salvation takes place almost 10 years from now in 2018 in and around what was LA. Judgment day has happened and the surviving humans are at war with Skynet, an artificial intelligence that became self aware and launched all nuclear war heads and now develops super-efficient killing machines known as terminators. The one man who saw Judgment day coming, the man who many believe to be mankind’s savior is John Connor. Connor is a commander in the Resistance, groups of survivors that fight against the onslaught of machines and terminators, searching for a way to bring down Skynet when a stranger by the name of Marcus Wright stumbles into the group. The last thing Marcus remembers is being on death row years earlier. Suddenly Connor realizes he is living in a future he was not prepared for and is unsure about humanities ability to survive much longer. He must decide if he can trust Marcus and find common ground to stop Skynet’s new methods of wiping out the Resistance forever.

I have always been a fan of the Terminator movies ever since the first time I saw Terminator 2 when I was probably 10. The terminator movies have been some of the best and most ground breaking Sci-Fi movies ever. I even liked the critically bashed Terminator 3. These movies are just great popcorn fun and I have wanted a terminator movie that actually takes place during the war with Skynet since I first saw T2. Then when they made Rise of the Machines and it ended with Judgment day I have been begging for it. Well, they finally delivered. Salvation has many of the things that make the first 3 movies so great. On top of that they have included so many different machines in this movie it will make your head spin, they even included some new ones not mentioned in the previous movies. There are the Hunter-Killers, T-1, T-600 (a less advanced version of the T-800 Arnold plays), Moto-Terminators (Motorcycle terminators), Hydro-terminators (snake like robots that swim through the water) and several others.

Christian Bale (Dark Knight, The Prestige) plays John Connor in Terminator Salvation and he does an excellent job. This is the third actor to play this role and is the best at it. Christian Bale is a magnificent actor and really makes this role his own. Relative unknown Australian actor Sam Worthington (upcoming movie Avatar) plays Marcus Wright and he too does a great job. Worthington hasn’t really done anything but after seeing him in this he shows great potential. Marcus is an extremely confused and conflicted character and he does it so well. Moon Bloodgood (What Just Happened, Pathfinder) is another relatively unknown actress but again did a pretty good job in this. Bloodgood plays Blair Williams, a resistance fighter who finds Marcus and develops a bond with him. Shooting star Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Charlie Bartlett) plays the role of Kyle Reese, John Connors father (I know, weird). Yelchin’s career has been skyrocketing lately and if he keeps up the great work he’s going to go places, heck, this is the second famous character he’s portrayed this month. The rest of the cast is great as well and really helps the movie along and includes Bryce Dallas Howard as Kate Connor, Common, Helena Bonham Carter and the action movie legend, Michael Ironside. Not to mention the much rumored Arnold Schwarzenegger cameo (which is really quite interesting actually).

The action in this is great and never really lets you down. The special effects were fantastic. I loved seeing all the other forms of terminators and kind of the evolution of the terminator. The T-600 looked amazing and the scenes with it were fun. The moto-terminators were great and really exciting to see something new like that. The massive Harvest Terminators were very threatening. The Hydro-terminators were terrifying. All around the action in this movie is great and makes for a great popcorn flick.

A lot of people give McG a bad rap. I actually enjoyed Charlie’s Angels and I really thought he did a good job directing and developing Salvation. I do, however, feel that the writing could have been better at times. The ending could have been a little better but at least the didn’t go with the atrocious original ending. I also feel that he shouldn’t have strived for a PG-13 rating. I know it sounds weird to many people but I really feel this movie could have been better if it were rated R, like the rest of the franchise, and hopefully they realize this and make the next two movies rater R. Other people feel that this movie and the third movie are a betrayal to everything laid out in Terminator 2 and the “there is no fate but what we make”. Well to them I say that Judgment day has to happen and the war has to happen because if it wasn’t for all that stuff, Kyle Reese never would have gone back in time and John Connor never would have been born. So it had to happen.

This sequel/prequel/reboot (really weird but it is all three) was a very fun movie to watch and I highly recommend all fans of the original Terminator movies go see it. In general I would say anybody who likes a good action/sci-fi movie will probably enjoy this movie.

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