The Terminator series is one of my favourite franchises and has been for quite some time, so when the trailer first broke many moons ago I wet my pants. Bale looked great in the trailer and the action looked spectacular.
So, I arrived this morning to watch Terminator Salvation and it got off to a bad start immediately. No Terminator theme, instead, some by the numbers thing from Danny Elfman. Oh hang on, here’s the Dada….da..dada. Oh its gone. Right. Why change the theme????Time for the salvation to begin then I suppose.
The story this time round sees John Connor leading the resistance after Skynet became self aware and decided to nuke most of the planet. Connor spends his time between listening to old cassette tapes of his mother, running a little pirate style radio station and shooting endoskeletons at point blank range. Then, insert Marcus Wright into the mix ,who’s only memory is of being on death row in the early noughties. Eventually he meets Connor (who's not sure what he is, because there's no mention of him in the tapes) and the grand finale begins, which sees them go on a little rescue mission and an attempt to destroy Skynet. And that's basically Terminator Salvation.
There is plenty of action sequences here to keep you salivating. The Terminator bikes are great as are all the ships. The gigantic Terminator harvester is awesome, as it goes about picking up humans who will be turned into Terminators. All the set pieces are stunning, with some of the best action sequences of the summer so far. The T-600’s are a bit of a disappointment though. They just clamber around like overweight robotic donkeys with a gattling gun. If anything there’s not enough endoskeletons rampaging around the nuked up landscape. From past movies I was always led to believe that the endoskeletons roamed the landscapes in large packs, crushing skulls as they went. Not the case in Salvation.
And no matter what you think of the Terminator franchise, you can never talk about it with out mentioning Arnold Schwarzenegger who has a cameo in this. Well, a digital cameo. A computer generated Arnie, appears in the latter half of the movie and it is certainly worth the wait as he looks amazing. As for the non digital members of the cast, Christian Bale still talks like Batman and has an average performance. I don't feel he is entirely convincing as the leader of the resistance, as he comes across a little disjointed at times and really plays second fiddle. Sam Worthington is far more convincing in the role of Marcus Wright. And the performance of the movie comes from Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese.
I really wanted to enjoy this movie, I really did. But for me, this doesn't feel like a Terminator movie. I appreciate that its a different story, in a different time but regardless it doesn't feel like it belongs in the franchise at all. For example – Star Wars still felt like Star Wars when it was Revenge of the Sith. All 103 Police Academy’s still felt like Police Academy’s. Maybe its McG’s vision for it, and to be fair he keeps the movie rolling at a solid pace, but it still doesn't feel right. Even the inclusion of the superb digital Arnie doesn't help! The dialogue with rehashing of some old famous lines and the inclusion of “You Could be mine” from Guns n’ Roses just come across as pure and utter cheesy muck.My other major gripe is the movie is a 12A. Maybe if the violence was toned up and it ended up as a 15A or 16 then it might have been some compensation.
As for McG calling Michael bay out to a penis measuring contest, If I were him, I wouldn't be pulling my pants off just yet.
On a final note, try as hard as I could, I couldn't love this movie. As a stand alone picture, its not so bad, in fact it would be enjoyable enough. But as part of a well loved franchise it just doesn't cut the mustard. Is it worth a watch? It is, but make sure to forget that your watching a Terminator movie and you’ll be fine!