Monday, December 7, 2009

Terminator: Salvation-Summary from a Terminator fanboy

(For no other reason than spite, this is what I see when pictures of Twilight are shown.)

I finally got around to watching Terminator: Salvation last weekend, I wanted to just put a few things down in writing about it, solely from the view of a Terminator fanboy. In other words, if you haven't seen all the Terminator movies, some of what I am talking about may not make sense because I am not going to give detailed background on every point.

First things first, I went into this movie with very low expectations. The director, McG, is a fucking asshat. Baseless assertion FTW! Furthermore, the previous movie (albeit a different creative team) was lackluster, in my opinion, and it's portrayal of John Connor sucked shit through a phallic straw. In short, I was not bracing myself to be "blown away" by this movie.

However, the movie ended up being not as eye-ball stabbing torturous as I feared. Luckily, even with as big of a cunt trumpet that McDouche is, he had a premise that was hard to fuck up, a decent cast (more on that later), and a good budget to throw at it. So, at this point, at least McFagtard didn't fuck this movie into the ground, like he does with his favourite pair of pajama footies.

I mentioned he had a decent cast, probably most notable being Christian Bale, Bryce Dallas Howard, Helena Bonham Carter, Sam Worthington (who did pretty good), Moon Bloodgod, and Anton Yeltsin (the saviour of the movie from an acting standpoint). Out of the main cast, I understood the Bloodgod character the least and found her totally irrelevant. I personally feel McWank gets hard by having pretty ethnic girls around, but whatever.

Easily the best, truest to lore, and happily received gift of the movie was Anton Yeltsin as a young Kyle Reese. If nothing else, Reese's spirit of survival and doing whatever it takes to live was captured, and that was really important to me. So many of the actors in this movie were so intent on being tense about the post-apocalyptic world and fighting the machines, but Yeltsin had a real laid back approach to his character that beat the pants off of everyone else. Nobody was more "comfortable in their shoes" than he was.

Giving credit where credit is due, the imagery and special effects of the movie were very well done, top to bottom. McRammalammadingdong must have a good location scout, because they did a great job of portraying a very desolate world. Furthermore, the technology of the "machines" in the movie was much more impressive than previous installments (and MUCH more believable).

Even though the dialogue didn't manage to suck major ass, the story and plotlines as a whole were pretty shitty. There were all of these little mini story arcs that just weren't prudent, worthwhile or logical. For instance, they carried over the red-headed love interest for John Connor from movie three. Apparently she is a doctor/scientist now and is pregnant (at least they avoided the vulnerable pregnant woman as a plot device) and she gets all weepy for John and shit like that and YAWN.

However, the most egregious fucking bullshit "sub-sub-sub-plot" had to be the pseudo-romance of the Bloodgod character with the Worthington character. BARFOLA! They basically use this as leverage to try to give trust and credibility to the Worthington character so he can help John Connor (Bale). However, it is rendered totally useless by the fact because no relationship whatsoever is developed between Bale and Bloodgod (so why the fuck will Connor care what she thinks about the guy?), and Connor doesn't end up trusting the Worthington character until they have a confrontation, anyway. BONG!!!

Not wanting to get to involved into any more plot spoilers, lets just say there are other...plot devices...that are rather erroneous (ie, random mute girl). Luckily they do not distract overtly from the main story arc.

Terminator fans should be pleased overall with the nods given to past movies, and they were actually worked in without being too cheesy/cornball. Perhaps my favourite was the boombox (it even looked like the boombox Connor had as a child!) blasting out Guns 'n Roses "You Could Be Mine" to lure one of the machine sentries. (Also, unrelated, but surprise "Alice In Chains" FTW!)

One little thing that was missing that would have personally brought a sense of completion into the Reese character for me was a tattoo. Let me explain. There is a rather iconic scene in the first Terminator movie where Reese describes to Sarah Connor about being captured by the machines, and he reveals a Nazi-like barcode tattoo on his forearm that they used to track him. Salvation goes as far as showing Reese being captured and imprisoned by the machines, but they never brand him with the tattoo. Is it a big deal? Probably not. Would I have really enjoyed it's inclusion? Tremendously.

In conclusion, Terminator: Salvation is not the weakest link in the chain of Terminator movies thus far. There were lots of interesting "sci-fi" components instilled that didn't subvert cherished Terminator canon, and at least one of the performers grabbed his character by the balls and put it to the camera. I would recommend this to any Terminator fan or casual sci-fi fan, but it might be a little blah to a general movie audience.


Rapax said...

"Moto Terminators" and "Transforminators" are hardly more believable machines, not to mention that the plot didn't make sense on any level and the character of Connor was ruined by making him into a psychopath with suicidal tendencies and no discernible knowledge about strategy and tactics, which makes it hard to believe this guy ever saved humanity.

Dirty Hairy said...

Re: Rapax

Yeah, I had purposely decided to leave the issue of John Connor alone for this review...well, as much as I could. If you notice the post immediately prior to this, I vent pretty hard on how I feel about how Hollywood has treated John Connor.

As far as the machines go, even with as much as I love Terminator 2, I am not in love with "liquid metal" Terminators. So in essence I agree with you, gigantic robots are barely more believable than liquid metal robots.

Finally, the plot...I chose to basically ignore anything that didn't deal directly with Reese and to a lesser extent Connor. I chalked it up to artistic license and moved on.

All in all, calling this "not the weakest link" for Terminator movies is no glowing commendation. Fucking T3 was a hideous shitpile that I hate.

Rapax said...

Well true, "Intelligent Liquid Metal" is pretty much out there, but at least Cameron could say "fuck you, how would you know what it can or can't do?" while the designs in TS are just recognizably bad and unsuitable for their intended purpose.

The plot doesn't work for me because for one, Skynet shouldn't know who Kyle Reese is and put any importance on him. If Connor knows that "this is not the future my mother warned me about", then he shouldn't be spending the movie trying to make things happen like they did in the past.

There are several problems with Connor going on a rescue mission because of what Marcus said. For one, Marcus still a machine, he could be lying, there's no reason for Connor to trust Marcus. Two, even if he wasn't lying, his information is a few days old, things change fast. Three, if Kyle Reese is on a "kill list" and Skynet caught him, Connor has no reason to assume he's even still alive and hence should not be risking his live or the entire offensive to rescue him.

The entire character of Marcus is a bit iffy, the concept of a machine/human hybrid unbelievable and a bit freaky and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for Skynet to build its plan on complete randomness and a creation it had no control over whatsoever.

Quite frankly, Skynet could have wiped Connor out in the opening 15 minutes, along with his whole team which makes the idea that it needed such a complicated scheme to begin with very hard to swallow.

Also, why does humanity, 15 years after J-Day still operate air bases and fuel hungry attack aircraft and helicopters? That's why Cameron's little glimpses were always better, because they were more believable, more desperate. TS just feels like waging a war against any other random country, not a superior machine intelligence.

Dirty Hairy said...

What can I say? For the most part I agree with you. I tried to say as much good about the movie as I could and really tried to focus on the positive I could state.

If I were to give it a five-star scale rating, it would have landed between 2 and 3.