Terminator Salvation (2009)

14 08 2010

by NiceDino

Previously in this series:

This is the shit!

With a 200 million Dollar budget Terminator Salvation was the most expensive independent production of all time and the most expensive terminator movie as well. It is also the first terminator movie which doesn´t have a number in the title anymore because… because… you don´t do that anymore!

Plot

Finally it was here. What Terminator fans waited for all these years has become a reality. Finally there was a Terminator movie which takes place in the post-apocalyptic future of the year 2029. Except that it doesn´t take place in the year 2029. And since all Terminator movies till now began by showing dramatic scenes from the future war of machines against man, this movie, which finally happens to take place in the future, begins with an incredible boring scene from the past, namely the year 2003.

But after this dull intro, we go straight to the war-torn future of the year 2029. No wait, I mean the year 2018. What the fuck? It takes place in the future, but not that far in the future? What the hell? What happened to the year 2029? Is that not interesting anymore, all of a sudden?

Well, it doesn´t matter. The year 2018 is still in the future after all. Even though only eight years. But in eight years no one will be interested in this movie anymore anyway, or remember it at all. I think this is what the director must have thought, too.

Perhaps I make to much of a fuss about this date-thing. It is not important when exactly the movie takes place. 2029 or 2018, it doesn´t matter. All that matters is that it takes place in the future and that John Connor is the leader of the resistance. Wait, what? John Connor isn´t the leader of the resistance? Why? Somehow nothing in this movie is as it should be. And this impression already manifests after the first few minutes.

But this movie is all about John Connor, right? No. You may have guessed it by now. Not only that John Connor isn´t the leader of the resistance, this movie isn´t even about him. At least not entirely about him. Connor has to share the main part with some other character. The name of this guy is Marcus Wright. Who Marcus Wright is? I don´t know who Marcus Wright is. Nobody knows who Marcus Wright is. Nobody cares who Marcus Wright is. What about Connor? Why isn´t this movie about him? Like it should be?

Okay, let´s forget about this. This doesn´t make any sense. What else is there to find in this shattered mess of a plot? Oh yes, there is something. Kyle Reese. I recognize that name. Kyle Reese is the father of John Connor. Obviously Skynet now knows about that fact and is hunting Kyle Reese down to get rid of his arch-enemy John Connor. How Skynet managed it to achieve this knowledge isn´t explained and since this movie has messed up pretty much anything so far I´m rather thankful for that.

So Skynet is on the hunt for Kyle Reese now and… catches him? But after it catches him Skynet does something unbelievable clever. It uses Kyle as a bait to lure Connor in and… but why does it even bother with that? It has Reese! Because of that it has Connor already. All it has to do is to kill Reese and it would have won. No Reese – no Connor. Total victory of the machines. It´s as simple as that. To be exact Skynet didn´t even had to hunt Reese anyway, since it is the one building the time machine which takes Reese back into the past, where he meets John´s mother and impregnates her. But if Skynet doesn´t build a time machine, Reese can´t do that. All Skynet has to do is… nothing – and it wins automatically.

Okay, this is where I throw the towel. I give up. Really! Terminator FOUR doesn´t have a plot. Not even a little bit. Nothing in this movie makes any sense. Nothing!

Zeitgeist

This already didn´t work with T3 anymore. With T4 it works even less.

Cast

Christian Bale plays John Connor. When I heard this for the first time I almost had an orgasm. I knew Bale from the movie „Equilibrium“ back then and I liked this movie pretty much. So I assumed he would make a decent John Connor. Unfortunately I was wrong. Not only that the movie isn´t focused on Bale, as it should be, he doesn´t manage to deliver a satisfying performance either. There is no trace of the charisma of a future messiah as which John Connor was always described. Bale´s performance is flat and one-dimensional. A Guy with a gun. Like so many others.

Sam Worthington plays Marcus Wright, a man-machine-hybrid who is activated and used by Skynet to find John Connor. Worthington does a better job than Bale. But he isn´t much better. The emotional bandwidth he displays is pretty restricted. After macho-gestures and anger, there is not much else left. Even when he finds out about the apocalypse which took place in his absence, his entire reaction consists of a weary: „What happened here?“

Anton Yelchin is the young Kyle Reese, the future father of John Connor and the only actor in this movie which is a little bit likeable. Also he leaves you with the impression that he is able to act, which is more than I can say about Bale and Worthington. Sadly enough the script makes him say a lot of stupid stuff, which makes it difficult to take him serious. The part where he states that the people can only go outside during day-time, because of the hunter-killers, I considered the most ignorant. Not only that this is the exact opposite of what he said in the first movie, it doesn´t make any sense too. Are those killing-machines day-blind, or what? Well, this is just stupid.

Moon Bloodgood – yes that´s the real name of the actress, I´m absolutely serious – plays a fighter pilot of the resistance, called Blair Williams. Should we be concerned by the fact that the real name of the actress is far less believable than the name of her character? Well, who cares? Anyway, the director of this botch stated that this character is supposed to continue the line of the strong, independent women, which always where present throughout the Terminator franchise. I suppose this is why she got shoot down during her first combat assignment and is saved from a bunch of rapists by the very manly Marcus, which she follows like a lap dog afterwards. But what do I know. Concerning her skill as an actress it can be said that she is at least just as good as Sam Worthington. She also can display two different emotional stages and even switch between them. However, since Worthington can be macho-man and angry-man, she can be either horny or hysterical – a strong and independent woman, I can clearly see that.

Bryce Dallas Howard is Kate Connor, John Connors wife. There isn´t much to say about this part. She is only in a few scenes and all she does is standing there rather silly (and advanced in pregnancy) and moaning about her injured husband. So she really isn´t an adequate candidate for the strong-independent-woman-type. In fact the image of the women portrayed in Terminator Salvation is extremely misogynistic. For the first time in a Terminator movie which where much more advanced than any other flicks of this genre, even as far as this issue is concerned.

AI- Interpretation

This is the thing which hurts me the most about this movie.

There are no AI´s anymore. Terminator Salvation is a Terminator movie without artificial intelligences. Therefore it is, strictly speaking, not a Terminator movie any more. Off topic – F minus.

Of course there are plenty of killing-machines running around, but they lack the amount of intelligence which was displayed by the Terminator-models of the earlier movies. And that´s not all – the Terminator aren´t approximately as tough as they should be. All in all it points to the following conclusion: „Terminator are the new zombies, now!“ Ouch, that hurts.

Needless to say we all know that problem. It´s typical for Hollywood. One representative of it´s kind can be tough. But god help us if there is more than one. In this case his performance falls down to that of a vacuum cleaner. And I´m not talking about an industrial type vacuum cleaner. The Jedi had the same kind of problem in the new Star Wars movies. The more of them were around, the weaker they were. All of a sudden there were looser-Jedi. Now there are looser-Terminator. Thanks.

I mean, since when can you kill a terminator, even if it is one of the T-600-series, by shooting him in the head? Furthermore with a usual gun. Why should Skynet build them that way? What sense does that make? If they at least had used some fancy-sf-weapons, like we saw them in any scene from the old movies, taking place in the future. But no, there are no sf-weapons in this movie, even though this is supposed to be a sf-movie. I guess the multicolored ray-guns would have been much to colorful for this boring, gray-brown setting anyway.

But now I´m getting off topic. Back to the non-existent AI´s. Let´s forget about the Terminator and their colleagues, shall we? SKYNET itself appears in this movie. And it has text. A monologue. Are you scared yet? You have a good reason for it. Of course Skynet babbles nothing but bullshit. Bloodcurdling nonsense. It is stupid enough that it does that monologue after all for that matter. Skynet really addresses Marcus Wright directly and tells him of it´s plan how to conquer the world. I´m absolutely serious about this. This is no joke. The bloody GOD of all machines has it´s very first appearance in this flick and it acts like a retarded bond-villain. I mean, even in these films the villain only explains his plan to the secret agent because this cliché is linked to that franchise in an inseparable way. You expect a bond-villain to be this stupid. And now Skynet is this stupid, too. The most advanced computer system of all time is… a tomato.

Director

Joseph McGinty Nichol. That´s the name of the man who killed the Terminator franchise. Like you might expect already, I don´t like him that much. At first he directed music videos. It´s sad that he stopped doing that at some point. Otherwise we wouldn´t had to face this mess. As far as movies are concerned he is nothing more than a bloody beginner. Terminator Salvation was his fourth movie altogether, which isn´t that hard to notice. A cactus would have made a better film.

Soundtrack

If somebody would ask me, if there was anything I did like about this movie, I would say: „The soundtrack.“ Not that it is all too special. But it is good. About average. Despite the fact that the director had a meeting with Brad Fiedel, the man behind the soundtracks of Terminator 1 and 2, he wasn´t interested in „repeating“ his sounds. Obviously he thought he could do better. Well, he could not. So he engaged Danny Elfman with this job – because if you think Terminator, you fucking think Danny Elfman. Of course the original Terminator theme isn´t in this movie either. Which is all the more annoying since they used it to advertise with it in the trailer. I didn´t stay long enough to see if it was in the end credits. It was hard enough already to stay in the first place.

Conclusion

Terminator Salvation is a mess and a punch in the face for any who cares about the Terminator franchise. Even if you judge it by the standard of an ordinary action film it is disappointing. And if that wasn´t bad enough already, this flick consists of the most dire Hollywood-clichés in existence. All men are machos, all women useless, all machines stupid like hell. This makes Terminator Salvation the perfect example of how of movie should NOT be. It is like a nasty return to the b-movies of the fifties. But those are at least a little bit charming – Terminator Salvation is not.

Thanks for reading

NiceDino ^^

Note from the Panda: This is our 50s post and as this landmark we bashed on Terminator Salvation a SECOND time. Yeah, that movie really sucked so much.

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3 responses

25 10 2010
Terminator: Salvation again? The panda holds a grudge « This would be more awesome with lasers

[…] been boring. But anyway the part that interests me is about Terminator: Salvation both me and the Dino wrote about that glob of buffalo-snot before. Here goes: Terminator: Salvation has a strange […]

21 04 2011
Judgement Day! « This would be more awesome with lasers

[…] Terminator Suck by Nice Dino […]

13 06 2011

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