Terminator Salvation

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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Terminator Salvation




"Sequel...Prequel...Reboot...Whatever"

The problem with this film is the same problem that the recent Wolverine film had, it just doesn't connect with the original material. Now, there could be many reasons for this, non of which the film acknowledges. In fact, the film doesn't seem to care about a lot of stuff other then blowing things up and making it look cool. This entry into the series is vastly different from the previous ones. This time around the story takes place in 'present time' I would say, since every film before that was about traveling back in time to save/kill whomever. So right off the bat the film feels like it doesn't belong.

Terminator Salvation is better then Rise of the Machines and weaker then the first two. There, I just told you something you probably already knew. Christian Bale is the 4th actor to portray John Conner (that's right 4th, look it up) and his performance consists of a lot of yelling and shooting. He doesn't have any scenes of emotional depth and the character loses that connectivity with the earlier films. He's a different John Connor, he's not the punk kid or the hiding from everything bum, he's finally becoming what his mother said he would be. Although, he is not the leader of the resistance yet, so this film is NOT the battles we've been preluded to in the original films, it's what happens before it. This film takes place in 2018, everything we've seen or been told came from 2029.

The rest of the cast, with the exception of the saving grace that is Sam Worthington, is pretty much useless. Common fades into the background and serves no purpose whatsoever, he could have been just another faceless soldier. Moon Bloodgood seems to have gotten all her scenes left on the cutting room floor. She has a romance with Worthington that comes out of nowhere because prior scenes were obviously deleted. This makes her actions seem unrealistic. Bryce Dallas Howard takes over the Claire Danes role and surprise surprise is giving nothing to do as well. Anton Yelchin surprised me as Kyle Reese, and seemed like a believable 'young' Biehn. The man who steals the show is Sam Worthington, who is actually given some emotions to play with. I found myself interested in his character and his scenes the most in this film.

McG has an eye for visuals, yet all his films lack substance. This is no different. Although I will say this is his best film, but when looking at his resume, that doesn't amount to much. Whatever substance this film has, it was given to by previous films. The script is basic go to point A to get plot point B. The only worthy addition to this story is the role of Marcus (Worthington) who actually brings a new dimension to this story, which in my opinion, we already know how it will turn out. I'm not totally sure on how this film stands on the whole timeline issue, but in my opinion, none of the key characters were ever at risk to me. Kyle Reese we know will go back in time, so he must live to do so. We know John Conner lives till 2029 to send Reese back in time, so we have no sense of danger in their scenes. Of course it could all be different and they could indeed die, I'm saying this based on the one line of him saying 'This is not the future my mother warned me about".

It will satisfy the action junkies, but leave those who want to see a continuance of the story empty. The barren wastelands are nice to see and gives them free roam for many neat things, such as car chases, motorcycle chases, air jet chases, etc. It had a bit more Mad Max then Terminator feel. You'll see a surprise cameo, which means only one thing when someone says that about this franchise, but when you see it you might laugh. We haven't perfected this yet and it looks fake and cheesy.

Terminator Salvation is a popcorn flick that takes the series in a new direction. No more time traveling to save people, now it's the fight to stay alive. This new direction might not sit well with some, but for those just looking to enjoy themselves for a solid action film, this delivers. The scenes are exciting and Worthington delivers what others should have. The ending is a bit ridiculous, but it's better then the rumoured ending with the skin swapping. On a final note, Connor mentions that he's never seen anything like Marcus before, a machine covered in human skin with organs. Yet, he HAS seen this before, maybe not the organs, but he acts like this is brand new to him. Just one plot hole in my mind, in a field of many.

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Suspect's Reviews



You kind of contradicted yourself in that review,

you said:

"On a final note, Connor mentions that he's never seen anything like Marcus before, a machine covered in human skin with organs. Yet, he HAS seen this before, maybe not the organs, but he acts like this is brand new to him. Just one plot hole in my mind, in a field of many. "


now if your saying he has seen a terminator like Marcus before, but without the organs then surely he hasnt seen a terminator like marcus therefore making his statement valid.

Yes Arnie in T2 acted human but he was 100% machine apart from the living tissue.

there is a difference between plot hole and your thoughts thinking something to what is being shown on the screen.



A system of cells interlinked
That's not how I read it at all, and you are misinterpreting. Suspect clearly says "a machine covered in skin with organs" in the quote you selected. Where are you getting this "without the organs" quote? Suspect didn't say that.

This film is about the path the machines take to get to the T-800 (McG says this during his spot on The Twenty, which plays before every film in Lowes Theaters), which is Arnold's model, so cleary Conner has seen that model before, during the entire T2 film, yes?

Regardless of how you [incorrectly] perceived Arnold in T2, they specifically state in The Terminator that the T-800 has organs, skin, sweat etc.

So, it's a plot hole. Of course, I don't know what sort of convoluted time travel hullabaloo gets injected into this new flick, so maybe there is a (hackneyed) explanation.
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In the Beginning...
I haven't seen the film, but after reading Suspect's review, I went downstairs and mentioned it to a guy here at work who did see it, just to get his thoughts. He said his impression was that John Conner expressed surprise at seeing a machine who believed he was actually human, and wasn't aware that he was a machine. If that is true, then the writing holds up.

He also mentioned that, apparently...

WARNING: "Terminator: Salvation" spoilers below
...the guy isn't actually a complete machine, in the same way that the T-800 models are. He has a human brain and heart, but everything else is either mechanized or simulated flesh. If this is true, the writing would still hold up.


But like I said, I haven't seen the film, so I can't speak to the validity of my co-worker's comments. He may have misinterpreted my remarks, or the film, or both (and I may be misinterpreting the scene in question).



I seem to be giving lots of the Hollywood flicks an easy ride this year; think still somewhat hyped to this one, even if it is just a trashy action film. After the write arounds made to make T3 i'm more than happy to see this 'future' come into play after long hearing about the proposal. Cheers for the review

Oh and...

Originally Posted by TUS
Christian Bale is the 4th actor to portray John Conner (that's right 4th, look it up)
....I did ......

Originally Posted by imdb
Christian Bale is one of seven actors to play John Connor. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), the adult John Connor was played by Michael Edwards, the teenage John Connor was played by Edward Furlong and the infant John Connor (who appeared during Sarah Connor's dream sequence of the nuclear attack) was played by Dalton Abbott. Nick Stahl played the fourth John Connor in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003). Thomas Dekker currently plays John Connor in the TV series, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (2008), with John DeVito playing a younger John in a flashback.
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In the Beginning...
After seeing the film, I don't think John Conner's surprise at seeing that Marcus was mechanized is a plot hole:

WARNING: "T4" spoilers below
Since Marcus has a human brain and heart, albeit modified, no other machine John Conner ever encountered had those organs or any other. So when he shows surprise at "a machine with organs," he's making the distinction between the machine-only Terminators he has encountered in the past, and Marcus. This is evidenced further when floaty-head Helena Bonham Carter tells Marcus that he's one-of-a-kind.


That said, I do have one question that may be a plot hole, but I want to get outside opinions because I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around it:

WARNING: "T4" spoilers below
How do the machines in 2018 know that Kyle Reese will be sent back to the past by John Conner to protect his mother? And for that matter, at what point did John Conner ever know that Skynet was sending a Terminator back to kill his mother? This is starting to get very "chicken and the egg."

It seems to me that, unless all the machines operate under a hive mind (unlikely, since the film seems to suggest otherwise), Skynet would have had no way of knowing that Kyle Reese became John Conner's father... obviously, because the first T-800 was destroyed. Unless Kyle was always listed as John Conner's father in personal records, but that still doesn't explain how Skynet ever knew that Kyle was from the future, not Sarah's own time period. So how did they know to look for him in 2018, and that John Conner would send him back?

AGH!



I seem to be giving lots of the Hollywood flicks an easy ride this year; think still somewhat hyped to this one, even if it is just a trashy action film. After the write arounds made to make T3 i'm more than happy to see this 'future' come into play after long hearing about the proposal. Cheers for the review

Yeah, i'm starting to get the feeling that i've been a bit easy on some flicks in the past year. Needless to say, after reading your review, Usual, I don't have high hopes for this film. I think it's the right direction in terms of furthering the Terminator story, but from what you and others have said it's just action heavy. And it's not even good action, just basic action with pretty effects, apparently. That doesn't sit well with me. I might have to catch this on DVD or something..



My biggest complaint was McG doesn't know how to present action. Like the film has tons of action, but there's no real hype to it. It's just there. As for the story itself and where they were going with it...I was actually impressed that it didn't blow. Not entirely well done, but a decent film nonetheless.
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Got some thoughts I'll try to expand on later, and I agree with a lot of the plot holes discussed here already, but for now, here's my review of Terminator Salvation:

Terminator Salvation



Terminator Salvation is, ironically, the kind of sequel a machine would make. It knows that people must run from the machines and that things must, if at all possible, explode, but it does not know why. ...READ MORE

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"Terminator Salvation is, ironically, the kind of sequel a machine would make."


Great line Yoda.
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The Adventure Starts Here!
I said this elsewhere but a few things stood out and bugged me about this movie (aside from the stuff mentioned in Yoda's review, which I wholeheartedly agree with).

First, should we be sympathizing more with Marcus than we are with John Connor? Because I had no desire to root for John Connor at all. A totally unsympathetic character. I was rooting more for Marcus or Kyle or the little mute girl. I think the film gave us too many directions to put our sympathies, and therefore it tore us apart and gave us no focus on WHO to root for most. Little girl. Teen boy who has to live to not screw up the race of mankind. Savior of mankind (whom we otherwise don't really like much). New terminator who has more angst and heart than all of them. Pregnant wife who wears a lot of makeup and obviously colors her perfectly coiffed hair post-apocalypse.

TOO MANY PROTAGONISTS.

Beyond THAT, why did they put a pregnant woman in the movie if NOBODY WAS EVER GOING TO EVEN REFER TO IT? Nobody mentions her pregnancy. She doesn't give birth. We don't ever see a baby in a future shot. It's not even representative of "hope for the future." It's just a big belly that she rubs occasionally.

And if that weren't enough, I got tired of every time a character said the holy name of "John Connor" ... which is when we could almost hear the angels singing in the background. It was total name-recognition hype by the writers, and it just fizzled with me because of my first point -- I had NO feelings for this Connor at all.

And since we didn't really get any sort of ENDING to this franchise in this movie, we are left to think that John Connor's role of salvation in this movie had everything to do with him saving his own ass by making sure his future dad doesn't die and can later go back in time and shtupp his mother. Self-serving salvation, if you ask me.

It's like Back to the Future if you take out the jokes ... and the good parts ... and just about everything else that made that movie a good movie.

Harrumph. Franchise movie. Little more than that.

P.S. I did love the CGI "cameo," of course.



All these reviews are having me become a little weary, but I'm still going to see it tomorrow instead of Night At The Museum.



The Adventure Starts Here!
Also, perhaps I am the only person that is bugged by this little point (part of the Terminator mythos, really):

Most movies or shows that use the "machines rise up and overthrow humans" (or even animals rise up, in the case of the Planet of the Apes movies) always have the slave-race (machines or animals) getting more and more humanoid, closer to being like us, before they rebel. Which at least makes some sort of internal sense. They are then in a position to create an advanced culture of their own.

But the Terminator franchise seems to do this backwards: They heavily imply that machines AT THE BASIC MACHINES-AS-TOOLS STAGE became sentient, rebelled, overthrew humans, and then.... THEN started making more humanoid machines themselves? How did they do this? I mean, how does a machine in a box or a machine that's piloted or run by a human suddenly, errrr.... build its own factory, repair its own self when it breaks down, take itself in for a oil change, design and retool other machines to do totally new and different tasks?

HOW does this happen? Without hands, fingers, HUMANS to continue working and fixing these machines, how do they rise up and create their own "culture," so to speak? And assuming they can find a way to get the idea to make humanoid machines, how do they do this? I realize we saw the inside of a terminator factory in this movie, but I have worked in factories with real machines, and you just can't have totally still-machiney machines building their own terminator motorcycle creatures. I mean, who was making those rubber tires??

You get the idea.

That's the sort of thing I was thinking halfway through the movie ... mostly because my mind was wandering while Bryce Dallas Howard was offscreen putting on another layer of dark crimson lip liner.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Connor states that he's never seen any like this before BEFORE he looks into the eyes of Marcus and says his line about him believing he's a human. Sure he's different, but I got the impression of him saying nothing like this before a bit false. He has seen stuff like this before, machines made to look human, this one is just slightly different. It was that bit of dialogue that threw me for a loop.

and I don't count infants and tv shows, my bad Pyro. You just HAD to do that though eh?



Well, I just saw it and I thought it was terrific. I'm not sure I'm interested in arguing with the entire board about it though. Needless to say I pretty much disagree with just about everything that has been said so far, starting with TUS's first sentence. Except for the part where he mentioned Wolverine, which in fact did stink and didn't even remotely follow the "source" material.

First off: What source material are we talking about here? There's been 3 films before this one and that's it right? Is there a book or a comic somewhere that I'm not aware of? The movie picks up several years after judgment day with Conner already a prominent member of the resistance, everything we need to know is stated quickly at the beginning of the movie in case you weren't into the first three or whatever.

I don't know what else to say. I'm surprised so many here seem to be bagging on it. It was good.

So, uh, yeah, you guys are all dead wrong. A kind of sequel a machine would make... I think the Jedi master may have been a little too busy thinking up clever lines rather than just enjoying the show. Oh, well. There's two more coming so I'm sure there will be plenty more for you folks to bag on.
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Hey, I'm fully capable of enjoying movies while I'm thinking of pithy things to say.

Anyway, I won't force an argument and I'm not bugged by anyone liking it, but the whole thing just felt so soulless to me. John Connor didn't have a shred of personality, the last part of the machines' plan was unbelievably inept (so much as to nearly constitute an actual plot hole), and it really didn't have anything to add to the philosophy of the earlier films.

Don't feel obligated, of course, but if you're willing to elaborate I'd be fairly interested in what you dug about it.



\m/ Fade To Black \m/
I really cant wait to see this movie it looks awesome and I bet it will be.
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N3wt's Movie Reviews New DVD Thread Top-100



You don't think a lot of the characters lacked....everything? Worthington was the only one worth giving a damn about.
I really didn't. I guess maybe I'm not sure what you even mean by that. This is an action/sci-fi movie. How much depth do you need?

Hey, I'm fully capable of enjoying movies while I'm thinking of pithy things to say.
I know, I was taking a little shot is all. Which you know...



Anyway, I won't force an argument and I'm not bugged by anyone liking it, but the whole thing just felt so soulless to me. John Connor didn't have a shred of personality, the last part of the machines' plan was unbelievably inept (so much as to nearly constitute an actual plot hole), and it really didn't have anything to add to the philosophy of the earlier films.
Again, I guess I don't get you here. When has John Conner ever had a soul? Or even a remotely likable personality? I know that most folks think T2 is the best one and I'd agree with that but it certainly wasn't because of John Conner. Did you feel like there was a soul inside that whiny little kid? I didn't. But then again maybe he doesn't have a soul. This dude has been chosen since long before he was born to lead a group of people from the brink of extinction. Can anyone honestly say: "This is how I would act in this situation." To steal a little line from another great future Man Vs. Machines movie, The Matrix.

"I wanna tell you a little secret, being the one is just like being in love. No one needs to tell you you are in love, you just know it, through and through."

John Conner knows he's the chosen one. We saw it on his face at the end of Rise of the Machines. Now he's living out his days trying to preserve the ones around him that he knows need to survive in order to "win" the war. I think just about anyone who has seen these flicks more than once could agree that John Conner has never wanted to be the one and in facts hates his life, and yet he's still living it. Personally I really and truly don't believe that he is supposed to be a likable character. Most Hero's aren't. That's what makes them Hero's, they do what the others can't do and a lot of times they end up dying. You didn't think when he went to 'Skynet Central' all by himself to try and save all of the hostages that he was commiting a soulful act? That didn't cause you to like him a little? Or at least respect him? Better yet though, do we have to like him? Or believe he has a soul in order to believe in him? I don't. So, in effect, I suppose I'm agreeing with you somewhat, but, I don't think it hurts the story at all.

After we got home last night we watched the first one again and I gotta say, it really held up even more. About the only thing missed was Reese getting his laser bar code at the detention facility. I can live with that. Plus, Salvation begins in 2018 and the first Terminator is set in 2029 so obviously they plan on spending some time elaborating on the next 10 to 11 years before Reese goes through the portal.

We gotta remember too that this re-luanch was designed as a trilogy from the word go, so maybe you'll come to like Conner a little more after they're all said and done.

As far as the machines plan goes, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I didn't think there was anything wrong with it and actually I thought it kind of a cool tip of the cap to some of Asimov's stuff. Robots making choices and all that. I liked it. And honestly if that little plotline was too much of a stretch then how has anyone been able to get into these flicks since the first one? Reese says during the first Terminator that Skynets defense grid was smashed, sending a T-800 was a last ditch effort to kill off John Conner. So after Sarah kills it that should be it. There are some gaping storyline holes from The Terminator to T-2 but those get glossed over because it was such a good flick.

So, uh, lighten up everybody.



In the Beginning...
I agree with a lot of the things that have been said, but I think I'm still somewhat siding somewhere between Yoda and Powdered Water on this one. It had significant problems, but I think it was still a few shakes better than Star Trek. I know it's cheap to critique one film by comparing it to another, but in this case, it doesn't seem inappropriate. They're both "jump starts" of popular but ailing sci-fi franchises. They're both thrill rides that are big on action, little on plot. And they're both looking to take the mythos of their stories into a new direction.

So, with that said...

Originally Posted by Yoda
Bale's John Connor, however, is especially mundane, suddenly devoid of all the personality he'd shown in the last two films.
I don't think anyone would disagree with this. He was just bad. And although I've never thought Bale was a particularly great actor, he's always had more success with characters of significant personality. His face might be cut out for stone-faced hero roles, but his craft isn't. He can't find the subtle ticks of a character; he's all intensity.

This is especially ironic because it was Bale the studio really wanted, and they had to make some concessions to get him on board. I do think the writers are partly to blame here. Just because your character has been, in some capacity, the focus of each prior Terminator film, that still doesn't mean that you don't have to imbue him with characterization and humanity. I can't help but remember a younger John Conner trying to imbue a machine with some sense of humanity, and yet the writers of Terminator Salvation failed to even try to do the same with Conner himself.

Originally Posted by Austruck
TOO MANY PROTAGONISTS.
I can understand this being a concern, but I think this was also largely true of Star Trek. Throughout that film, there was a pervasive feeling that all of the Trek characters needed to have substantial screen time, and a bearing on the events of the film. As a result, much of the additional time that could have been spent characterizing other characters - most notably Nero - was systematically chewed up.

In Terminator Salvation, I don't think the character problem was ever that prescribed. There are a lot of friends, but I rather think it works better when you refrain from characterizing the enemies. They are machines, and like their Battlestar Galactica brethren, are far more alarming when they're portrayed as such: unthinking, uncaring, largely faceless, collective machines. And in a film like this, I'm not interested in getting both sides of the argument. I'm with the humans. I want to see them win. So I'd rather have a larger collection of "good guys" to follow, and in this film, I never felt like there was a crowd.

The only character I didn't like, in addition to Conner, was Blair (the ejected pilot). Her affection for Marcus came on too quickly, and had little foundry. You could say that a lifetime without love can make you motivated to protect it once you find it, but you could just as easily say that a lifetime of seeing your friends murdered by machines can make you just as ravenous when you find out your boyfriend is one. Party foul.

Originally Posted by Austruck
Beyond THAT, why did they put a pregnant woman in the movie if NOBODY WAS EVER GOING TO EVEN REFER TO IT? Nobody mentions her pregnancy. She doesn't give birth. We don't ever see a baby in a future shot. It's not even representative of "hope for the future." It's just a big belly that she rubs occasionally.
I disagree with this, too. A pregnancy is just one of the many typical Hollywood devices that is never simple or arbitrary. It has to be connected to the story. It has to be important. But sometimes, people are just pregnant.

In T3: Rise of the Machines, the T-800 tells John and Kate that their children will go on to be important, as well. Blech. That's reaching right there. It's enough to have John Conner as an unborn savior; why can't his kids just be regular people? Why can't they struggle with living up to his name? Why can't they reject his methods?

So yeah, I liked that they didn't prescribe a "hope for the future" feeling to the baby bump. It was a nice, subtle nod that these people are still human, and still desire to do human things... even in a nuclear wasteland. (And apparently, they still use Revlon.)

Originally Posted by Yoda
Terminator Salvation is, ironically, the kind of sequel a machine would make. It knows that people must run from the machines and that things must, if at all possible, explode, but it does not know why. It knows that it must touch on themes of humanity and causation, but it does not know where its questions lead. It knows to use the names, iconography, and famous lines of the previous films, but it does not know how to imbue them with a soul.
I think, pound for pound, this could also be said entirely of Star Trek. That film was a connect-the-dots venture from the get-go, and I never felt like the events of the film - or the characters themselves - mattered. Perhaps it's just that we're still too married to the original series, and these strange new faces (ha, did you get the pun?) aren't yet familiar enough. But instead of really trying to bring them together and make something new, the guys behind Star Trek were only concerned with fitting them into a prescribed formula, in which all the same philosophies are said, but ring hollow because they belong to someone else.

Terminator Salvation suffers from the same retrospective angle: instead of letting its characters make the answers, it tries to make them adhere to the questions and answers of previous films. And so, it's ironic to me when we're given the famous line "no future but what we make," because the writers are too afraid to stray far enough to let that become true. It's only out of fear that the result won't feel like Terminator, and audiences will steer clear. But I beg to differ. We want to see characters drive the story in a natural direction. We want a new path.

Originally Posted by Yoda
But any momentum the film has established comes to a screeching halt in the third act, with the discovery of Skynet's helpful Exposition Machine. This machine has apparently been programmed to bring everyone up to date and explain the film's Big Twist. It has no reason to say any of the things it does -- let alone to a character who still has the potential to interfere with their plans -- but it does it all the same.
This is the film's biggest pitfall. There's no reason why the "villain" needed to have a face, much less resort to the 'ole "explain everything to the hero at the end with a smug grin" routine. Machines can't be smug, and a villain telling us his/her/its evil plot isn't cool anymore. Or did the writers get that email?

So, like I said, I think the film has significant problems, but on the whole, it's a Terminator film, and the action can't go without saying. I'm surprised many have said that it was only marginally exciting. At times, it lacked the intimacy of, say, a small truck trading fire with an oil tanker. That's true. But McG's use of lingering camera shots really sucked me in, and some of those sequences were unbelievably good.

And for God's sakes, Terminator Salvation wasn't even remotely as smarmy as Star Trek. Thank Christ.