I really, really wished someone else would have written this movie. There were a lot of things wrong with Terminator Salvation, but this is coming from a person who has watched the prior three installments and the television series. To the average young movie watcher who doesn’t know the entire cast of characters in John […]
I really, really wished someone else would have written this movie. There were a lot of things wrong with Terminator Salvation, but this is coming from a person who has watched the prior three installments and the television series. To the average young movie watcher who doesn’t know the entire cast of characters in John Connor’s story, this film will come off as a mediocre sci-fi action thriller with a confusingly weak story.
Taking place after a Nuclear blast has wiped out much of the human race, John Connor (now a grizzled war vet) is one of the leaders of a revolutionary underground movement hell bent on taking back the earth from their machine masters. In the first two Terminator movies we are given a bit of history on this John Connor, how he loved people, how his selflessness and bravado was enough to make them forget their fears and fight back against the zerg. What I saw in Christian Bale’s version of John Connor was a hardened loner-type, showing little to no emotion aside from the few times he was with his pregnant wife. This version did not feel like the leader we were made to believe led the revolution, he just lacked the sort of charisma that you would expect a guy like that to hold. He did not go through the ranks touching men on their shoulders and giving the fighters that reassuring eye to let them know he has their back… the tiny hints that a viewer looks for to confirm their belief that this man was their saviour, just weren’t there. No, John seemed cold, too cold, his decisions were not democratic, his beliefs are dashed aside at a whim and he seems to have no recollection of his youth (Terminaor 2: Judgement Day) when a machine taught him to think and not allow blind hate to cloud his judgement. This John Connor has a deep hate for the machines and it is reinforced by an ancient tape recorder that plays his mother’s instructions from the past. This wrong John Connor ruined it movie for me because he is the protagonist, yet his story, visage, and history are so wrong that it was hard to look past him and like the movie.
The story of Terminator Salvation felt like the piecing together of three different scripts being that it started out very well and ended up going nowhere fast. In the past movies we were led to believe that Skynet was so advanced and powerful, the only way out for the human race was to send someone back in the past to stop it from even starting. The Skynet we see in this movie is advanced… at building cool machines and motorcycles (that lack any real AI). To recall Arnold’s T-800 relentlessly doing detective work and searching for Sarah Connor in the first Terminator to seeing the T-600s in this movie (the obvious future of it all) walking blindly and being outsmarted by children, just didn’t make sense whatsoever. Hell the explosions were pretty but I had absolutely no fear of the machine menace that ruled the world. This is not how I felt in the older movies. Remember how hopeless it seemed when the T-1000 chased the Connor family in T2, how it seemed nothing could stop it? It made you say to yourself, “damn! How would you deal with 10 of those things if you can’t even handle one in this movie!?” Well somehow McG and crew forgot this tiny element because the dumb machines and clueless T-600 models are laughably bad at tracking anything.
Through all the horrible and forgettable writing that plagued this letdown, the best parts were the scenes with Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) and Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood). Not so much the chemistry, but the fact that they had the least annoying scenes in the entire thing. The action scenes which had Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and John Connor (Christian Bale) seemed to be full of the most unrealistic coincidences to fall in their favor. The story behind Marcus Wright was probably the most interesting and would have benefited the movie if they delved into his past a bit more. The conflict in screen time between him and Connor did not flow well and it would have been better if they stayed with him and ditched Connor altogether.
In closing I will say that Terminator Salvation was pretty but lacking in substance, relevance and ultimately reason. There is nothing to be learned from this one and it neither wraps up the saga nor adds anything to it. The story was a huge waste of time and a disappointment. Moon Bloodgood was deliciously hot though… I will give it that… but only that.