Review: Terminator: Salvation (T4)

T4 poster

Director: McG (Charlie’s Andgels 1&2, We Are Marshall)
Writers: John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris
Producers: Derek Anderson, Moritz Borman, Victor Kubicek, Jeffrey Silver
Starring: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood, Helena Bonham Carter, Anton Yelchin, Michael Ironside
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 130

Frankly I’m a little bit surprised at the negativity this film has been generating around the web. I see the justifications for some poor marks here, but quotes like “save yourself from T4” and “worst film of the year” and 1/2 star ratings just seem unwarranted to me. For a summer actioner is it really that bad? Not on your life. No this isn’t a masterpiece that will solidify McG’s name in the directing hall of fame; but as balls-to-the-wall action pictures go, I doubt we’ll find anything better to munch on some popcorn with over the next three months.

Fans expecting some sort of a revealing drama within a deep, humanly emotional allegory will surely be let down; but c’mon, this is a Terminator flick. Have any of the films thus far really had anything all that profound to say? I think not. Even James Cameron’s ever so popular Terminator 2 wasn’t really much more than a big budget, effects bonanza – but everyone loved it. So why should we expect part 4 to be any different? This is simply just another part of the skynet story. This is the part I always wanted to see more of when I was a kid and saw Sarah Connor’s premonitions and predictions on screen. So yeah, I enjoyed it. That isn’t to say I didn’t have to overlook a few things to find that enjoyment however.

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Terminator Salvation: The New Trailer

Terminator Salvation Movie StillIt seems that we haven’t talked too much about it around these parts but doing a search through the site, I discovered that there have been numerous posts on the upcoming Terminator film, all of them from me, which suggests that I am mildly obsessed with McG’s take on the classic franchise. This new take, starring Christian Bale as John Connor, is scheduled to hit theatres in May but the trailers haven’t really given us much to go on and though I’ve liked some of the designs, I’m also a tad bit cautious about getting my hopes up too high only to be disappointed.

Terminator Salvation takes place after Skynet has destroyed most of the world in a nuclear holocaust and Connor, the leader of the survivors, is forging ahead to keep humanity alive. It’s a great concept, and one that I’ve been curious about since in the past we’ve only seen glimpses of life post Skynet, but I’m still on the fence. I like Bale but he still appears to be playing with the raspy voice, one of the things that really annoyed me in The Dark Knight (our review) but I’m willing to go with it, especially after seeing the latest trailer.

Not only do we get to see a little more of the post-Skynet world, but we also get more of a look at Sam Worthington and the role his character plays in the story. This could be the movie that puts Worthington on the map. I could do without the car crash but am happy to see it didn’t end in a big, Bay-like explosion and the image of the building collapsing is pretty spectacular. And huge props for the use of NIN’s excellent “The Day The World Went Away” as soundtrack music. Couldn’t have picked a better selection. Overall, not mind blowing but definitely exciting.

Terminator Salvation opens on May 22nd.

Check out the fancy new trailer tucked under the seat!

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The Look of McG’s Post Skynet World

Art from Terminator: Salvation

Not to sound like a party pooper because I am looking forward to, to what I’m sure is the distaste of a few regular readers/contributors around these parts, McG’s Terminator Salvation. Admittedly one of the things I’m most looking forward to is the post apocalyptic vision of the future which I’m hoping is going to be more than just a few short clips in the background with loads of crazy, three million cuts a second action in the foreground that don’t allow you to take in the surroundings.

The folks at Wired recently had a chance to talk to McG about the look of the film and he shared some of the concept art for the project and the first thing that came to mind was “Hugh. You couldn’t come up with something more, I don’t know, original?” Granted, destroyed worlds will always look similar, especially when the basis is the cities we currently reside in, and though I can’t quite pinpoint what I had expected (it’s one of those things that when you see it you say “YES! That’s exactly what I had in mind!”) I certainly wasn’t looking for a rehash of H.R. Giger and The Matrix. And yes, I realize that there’s some overlap there since some of The Matrix designs were directly influenced by Giger’s work.

They should really have hired Syd Mead. I’m assuming he was busy.

I’ve only posted a couple of the images. Head on over to Wired for the whole lot.

Art from Terminator: Salvation

Terminator Salvation Comic-Con Panel Video

I‘ve talked at length at the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the upcoming Terminator Salvation will not only be good, but perhaps manage to restart the franchise. Then I got a little excited about the teaser trailer and now, the folks at IFC have edited together a good chunk of the panel discussion from SDCC. It’s an interesting watch and I’m particularly impressed by Anton Yelchin’s serious approach to the material and how well McG works the room. This guy is a charmer.

Thanks to /Film for the linkage.

Terminator Salvation Teaser ONLINE!

A few weeks back I mused as to whether the upcoming Terminator Salvation film could reboot the franchise. I was hopeful but not completely sold and though the teaser for the new film is now online and looking pretty decent, I’m still not sold.

The trailer is heavily reminiscent of the trailer for Cloverfield – shaky cam, looks like it’s cut together from handheld footage, destruction everywhere – and I was about to moan about how it was cut together from B-roll footage since we don’t get to see any of the stars but lo-and-behold, there pops Christian Bale. It’s only for a second but he’s in there.

I’m sold.

UPDATED with working, good quality trailer!

Could A New Terminator Restart the Franchise?

TerminatorI recently caught the last 20 minutes of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines on TV and I was surprised by how watchable it was. The film was widely panned when it was released a few years back and I remember why, mostly because they were the same complaints I had with the film: too over the top, the effects weren’t as cutting edge as those of the previous two films but for me, the biggest drawback was that I simply didn’t buy into the characters. A surprising turn considering I like both Nick Stahl and Claire Danes and watching only the ending of the film, I was surprised by their good performances unfortunately, combined with the rest of the package, it made for a forgettable film.

I’m not much of a fan of director McG so when news arose that the series was in line for a reboot titled Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, I simply didn’t care but over the last few months the production has added a number of pretty big players, most of them good actors, which leads me to think that perhaps this reboot idea isn’t quite so bad.

Confirmed cast include Christian Bale, Anton Yelchin, Sam Worthington (who I really liked in Somersault (our review)), Moon Bloodgood (one of the few good things of Pathfinder), Bryce Dallas Howard and Josh Brolin is rumored to be in talks to star as the terminator. If that’s not impressive enough, news now is that Helena Bonham Carter is also in talks to star.

Could it possibly be that writer John D. Brancato has finally written a good script? Looking at his credit list, nothing, and I mean nothing, stands out as being even entertaining, never mind actually good. But with such big names signing on, I’m willing to assume that they’ve peeked the script and are happy with what they see.

I don’t think the franchise really needs a reboot, mostly it just needs to be left alone, but it’s an interesting universe for telling stories and it looks like this one will be looking at the origins of the battle between humans and Skynet with John Connor leading the rebellion against the world’s mechanized occupants.

I’m still not completely sold but do admit that I’m curious to see the final line-up and if they manage to improve on number three. At this point, I think it’s useless to even hope for meeting the greatness of the first two films in the franchise though I’m always open to surprise.