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Terminator Salvation (spoilers)

Posted: Sun, 31st May 2009, 3:25pm

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jawajohnny

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I'm surprised there hasn't really been any discussion on this yet. Anyway, I finally got around to seeing it last night, and I'm not that impressed. Pretty much the entire movie is action. It's just one action scene after another, and there's no depth to the plot, or characters at all. The one character arc in the story is Marcus Wright, played by Sam Worthington. Worthington is easily the best actor in the movie. Bale is respectable, but very one-dimensional. Anton Yelchin is okay as well... but he didn't get to do much at all. In fact, none of the actors have much to do.

There's a lot to like here. The visual effects, sound design, and score are all excellent. The submarine scenes are really cool (one of TSCC's best episodes took place on a resistance sub too). And of course, Arnold. I think his brief appearance was well done, and I would have loved to see more of him.

I didn't like the first half at all. The action scenes were overly long and unrelenting. Then the film settles down a little. I think the second half, with Marcus meeting Connor, and teaming up with him to infiltrate Skynet, was excellent. The fight scenes in Skynet reminded me a lot of the final scenes in the first two films.

Overall, it's an okay movie. Way too much action, with very little plot. Marcus's character arc well done, with him sacrificing his own heart to save John Connor. But I had seen that coming ever since Blair had told him, "you have a strong heart", because I knew what the original ending was (Connor dies, they rip off his skin and put it on Marcus's endoskeleton). The new ending is much stronger. In the grand scheme of things, I have to look at the franchise as a whole. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is a much better continuation of the timeline after T2. It has more interesting characters, and more developed plot. I would much rather have the series continue than have a fifth film. The series has way more potential. Just the final scene of season 2 alone, has better writing, development, and more heart (not to mention the potential avenues it opens up) than this entire movie.

While I liked the idea of having a future war film, I didn't see much of the "future war" we're familiar with (lasers, etc.). So I'm not sure I like the fact that it takes place in 2018. It just doesn't match up to what we've seen in previous films.

I could go on and on about T4 (I could talk about the Transformers rip-offs), but I won't. I'll just say Terminator Salvation had a lot of potential that wasn't fully realized. 6.5/10

Last edited Sun, 31st May 2009, 6:05pm; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Sun, 31st May 2009, 4:56pm

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Evman

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Yeah. The problem I had with it was mainly a combination of Christian Bale and McG both missing the entire heart and soul of the Terminator franchise - mainly epitomized by T2 and TSCC.

When Arnold shows up for his brief CG cameo, we don't even get a reaction shot from Bale that does the moment any justice. Think about it - this is supposed to be John Connor - the man who was once a boy who basically had a robot Arnold as his father for several days. The bond between them was strong. Even in T3, though the movie sucks, this connection still existed. Arnold even destroyed himself to save John.

In Salvation, we don't even get so much as a double take from Bale. You'd think he'd be slightly, even for just a second, effected by the presence of what was essentially his surrogate father, whom he hasn't seen in 15 years? Nope. That'd be too long of a break in the action for McG.

Christian Bale is not John Connor - and that is what ruined this movie. James Cameron always talked about in T2 how John Connor is not some super soldier - he is a commanding leader based on his brain, not his muscles. That completely went out the window in this film, as Connor is about the dumbest person in the entire story, being beaten out tactically by both Kyle and Marcus, not to mention Skynet. We see the resistance members choose to listen to him over the other leaders - but this moment is never earned by the story. I never once believed John Connor as a savior type figure - the movie simply didn't set that up at all, and I didn't buy it.

Bale's Connor whispers and growls and shouts, but has no heart. He is entirely selfish -Kyle Reese must be saved or he'll never be born, not just because he should be saved. And he willingly took Marcus' heart at the end... The John Connor from T2 or TSCC or even T3 would never have allowed that. Selfish bastard.

And don't even get me STARTED on the ending... So they can't find some dead, young resistance member from the great battle they just had to take a heart from? They HAVE to use the heart of Marcus, perhaps their greatest new asset in the war against Skynet? Come on - this guy went to toe to toe with a T800 and won. He has a tactical advantage of being able to infiltrate Skynet bases, and he was ultimately more sympathetic than Connor ever was in this movie. At that point, I WANTED John to die and Marcus to live on.

If the movie had less Connor, or at least another actor playing him, then the movie would have been better off - because Bale's presence managed to singlehandedly ruin the movie for me - and proved to me just how overrated he is.

It wasn't completely terrible - it just doesn't deserve to carry the Terminator name. Not by a long shot. Hell, even T3 had more heart than this soulless machine.
Posted: Sun, 31st May 2009, 5:43pm

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jawajohnny

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Evman wrote:

Yeah. The problem I had with it was mainly a combination of Christian Bale and McG both missing the entire heart and soul of the Terminator franchise - mainly epitomized by T2 and TSCC.
Exactly, Evman. McG completely missed the point. I don't think Bale's performance itself was bad... it just wasn't the right portrayal of the character. How could the John from T2 or TSCC have grown up to be such a boring, one dimensional character? Yes, he's a good soldier, but it doesn't look like he'd be able to strategically beat Skynet. In TSCC, it is implied that future John is in a "chess match" with Skynet, and that he probably doesn't even venture out of resistance headquarters. He's very secretive and seclusive, with Cameron being one of the only "things" he speaks to. I was hoping we'd learn exactly what was going on with him at some point in the series. He's a much more interesting character than Bale, and we haven't even seen him yet. And Thomas Dekker is easily the best John Connor of the entire franchise. By the end of season 2, he has developed from being a whiny teenager, to the point where he can now assert, "I am John Connor".

When I said that Arnold was well-done, I meant the CGI was good. But you're right, we don't get any reaction from Bale at all. The movie is just filled with sloppy editing like that. This movie is just an attempt to cash in on the name, and it has none of the heart that T2 and TSCC did. I don't think McG and the writers were capable of even thinking about giving us a reaction shot of Bale. It sure looks like they just threw a story together with little regard for existing continuity. I don't think they'd be able to come up with an intelligent, heartfelt scene like this, or this.

I just read that originally, McG wanted Bale to play Marcus, but for some reason, Bale insisted on playing Connor, forcing them to expand John's character. That kind of tells me the concept and script was flawed from the beginning. There's just no comparison between this, T1, T2, and TSCC... all of which are well-written, characters-first, stories. From now on, that's the only timeline I'm going to follow, and if it's over, so be it. Still hoping for a SyFy pickup, though. And no, I wouldn't go see T5 even if Cameron was in it (which they're considering). She would be out of place there. It's just not the future she came from. Alright enough of my gushing love for the show. smile

Why are they fighting in the daytime, and not at night? Hasn't the future war always been at night?
Posted: Sun, 31st May 2009, 8:29pm

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ben3308

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Rating: +2

For starters, I don't care how good the show is, it's still a TV show and is not meant to fit perfectly into the film canon, so trying to make it! biggrin

____________

I really, really enjoyed the movie, but did get a veeeeeery 'I am Legend' vibe in that it was not as character-driven as expected, and much of it unraveled near the end.

Also, Bale's shouts didn't work for me either; I was actually surprised when all is settled down after his scuffle with the legless T-600 and he radios in "CAHNNNNOOOR!" as if simply talking wouldn't be sufficient. Don't get me wrong, I love a good yell - ask anyone who knows me - but by contrast of the scene, once the whole 'life in jeopardy' moment is over, it's time for yelling to stop. This pretty much set up Christian Bale's expectations for the rest of the film.

However, I still think he did a good job. He wasn't the smart, compassionate John Connor we knew from previous incarnations (I'm not including the series, but am including Nick Stahl's rendition, which I enjoyed a LOT) but there were still traces of the boy that once was. Truth is, people change, especially in the face of war - head on. Now we can postulate all we want, but honestly I'd probably imagine a more hardened, didactic Connor in the future, too. Was this as easily conveyed as I'm sure Akiva Goldsman (and McG) thought it would be? No, probably not. But it works moderately well.

The selfishness ("No Kyle Reese, no John Connor!") was a bit strange to me, until you consider what very little prophetic information Connor is operating off of. All he knows is that there will be a war against the machines, that Cyberdyne and Skynet will fuel it, and that he's the key to winning it. That's it. His mother's tapes aside, that's all he really knows - so his own self-preservation is NOT an act of selfishness, but a calculated decision based on what he knows.

This is why he's so quick on his feet upon seeing Arnold: he's already made the decision in his head 'save Kyle Reese'. He may have spent days with Arnold but to Connor, Kyle Reese is this deux ex machina, if you will, that has inherently taught him everything he and his mother know. All his mother's wisdom (well, most of it) is sourced from Kyle Reese. When the T-800 shows up, Connor already knows what to do - sure, he's shocked, but his mother had already warned him "they will use the best parts of you against you", McG makes a point of showing this. Yes, I know it's a stretch, but I don't think the lack of reaction is as unmotivated as you all seem to think.

Moreover, this also lends credence to Marcus giving up his heart. It works from every angle: Marcus thought a second-chance would be impossible, but now he's found one. Sappy? Maybe. But it's what he wants. He's one of the most fleshed-out characters in the story, and you have a hard time accepting that he feels it necessary to give up his heart? Think about the timeline. Really think about it. Kyle Reese has to grow up before he can go back in time, right? And at that point, right before he goes back, Connor is winning the war, right?

As much as the whole 'no fate but what we make' line sounds good in the end, the bottom line is that the basis of the entire franchise is Connor's destiny as the leader. He will be the leader, it's almost inevitable. Command relieves him of duty? Bam, they're dead. Destiny at work. So yes, in the future, Connor - because of his instincts, his ability to 'follow his heart' and not let 'the best parts of himself work against him' - is more valuable than Marcus Wright. Why am I assuming this? Well, because we know that Kyle has to get older, which means that throughout those years Connor must be successful - why else would the original T1 storyline even exist?

But this is all just my logic. I liked the film. Yeah, it wasn't God's gift to filmmaking, but it was damn near the coolest action I've ever seen. I got a veeeeeeeeeeery Matrix Reloaded vibe when I saw it, so I went and saw it again and confirmed: yes, it's very much Matrix Reloaded in terms of earlier movie:quality:action:character development.

That being said, I was okay with Bale's performance and I found Anton Yelchin's to be incredible. Here's a kid who has, in all honesty, only ever played the pussy. Kidnapped kid in Alpha Dog, Chekhov in Star Trek, etc etc. Here, McG's direction (acting and art-wise) pulls this incredibly scrappy teenager into a believable Kyle Reese. Keep in mind, the young Kyle Reese probably would be more tactical than Connor - Connor's tactics are just diluted from Kyle to Sarah Connor then to John Connor. Besides using his own instincts, the majority of John Connor's preconceived knowledge is from Kyle Reese. And this is why I liked what McG did with this movie, he put the emphasis on Reese.

Marcus Wright may have been the key to beating a T-800 but at the end o the day, the intuition, compassion and skills of Kyle Reese are the ultimate key to everything. Reese's existence isn't just necessary, physically, for Connor to live, it's his aptitude and skills that will grow over time that will benefit Sarah Connor and, in turn, John Connor.

But now I'm arguing semantics. Basically, I really enjoyed the movie for what it was, and liked the way the action:story was paced and proportioned. Moon Bloodgood and Common also had respectable performances, and you all already know Sam Worthington did an excellent job. This is another step forward for McG in the path of Scorcese-esque greatness. He's not there yet, but he's on his way.

7/10, 10/10 if you're going to see it for the incredible action and effects.
Posted: Sun, 31st May 2009, 9:46pm

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jawajohnny

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ben3308 wrote:

For starters, I don't care how good the show is, it's still a TV show and is not meant to fit perfectly into the film canon, so trying to make it! biggrin
I'm not trying to make it fit the canon. Well, it actually fits the film canon up until the conclusion of T2... the series picks up between T2 and T3, and effectively ignores/erases the rest of the film timeline. I'm not trying to make the show fit canon... I'm just saying that if you want great Terminator, you need to pick up The Sarah Connor Chronicles timeline after T2, instead of following the T3-T4 timeline. I guess what I'm saying is that the series is closer to James Cameron's vision than the latest two sequels are.

Excellent post though, Ben. Another +1. You've justified a lot of what I've been thinking about, and you've convinced me to like the film a little better. It is a war, so I can see why Connor would be a serious, hardened soldier. Do I like the show's ideas better? Yes, but I don't have a problem with the route the movie took. The story was good, but it took a back seat to the all the great, yet incoherent and frantic action. So my final word: it's a good action movie, but it doesn't reach the full "Terminator" potential that the first two films, and the series have. smile

7/10
Posted: Sun, 31st May 2009, 10:12pm

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Pooky

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Don't feel like writing much, but I thought it was quite silly that Skynet didn't kill Reese on sight (that would mean they WIN. why capture him?), and it was also never explained how Skynet knew Reese would be sent back in the first place.
Posted: Sun, 31st May 2009, 10:13pm

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videofxuniverse

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I think the overall problem is people want it to be better than T2 anything is better than T3 but unfortunatly nothing will ever beat T2 simply because of when it was made and how it was made completely revolutionised special fx and film making. Today EVERYTHING Is CG over the top action and multi million dollar 1 take explosion scenes. You complain there is too much action, I am sure it would be worse if there wasn't enough action, but I am yet to see it. From the comments above it certainly seems like they completley lost the back bone to the franchise and that is the character personality and the core storyline.

I said to my friend that I really want to watch it, but I am worried that they are going to make the machines far too advanced too early in the future war. Because from T1, T2 and T3 they always brought a new more advanced terminator into the mix and if T4 has machines far too advanced then why the hell didn't they get sent back in 1984 rather than arnie whom by T3 was considered a commidore 64
Posted: Sun, 31st May 2009, 10:30pm

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Evman

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jawajohnny wrote:

So my final word: it's a good action movie, but it doesn't reach the full "Terminator" potential that the first two films, and the series have. smile
Precisely.

T2 is one of my favorite films of all time, and TSCC is just plain underrated. I still don't understand why people rag on it, because it was seriously one of the most intelligent, poignant, and entertaining series on TV. As Jawajohnny said, it's a much closer interpretation of the Terminator mythos than "official cannon" is, because it sticks closer to what made T2 and Cameron's vision so excellent. So upon seeing Terminator Salvation, I was disappointed. The core of the story was missing.

Ben - I can see precisely what McG and the writers were trying to do, which made the entire film more painful to watch, because you could literally see them falling flat on their faces.

You brought up the Matrix Reloaded - say what you will about the Matrix sequels, but there was one thing the Wachowski's got right. I never once doubted that Neo was THE key to the future. THE savior, and leader of Zion. He was basically Jesus Christ. And there was no questioning it.

That's who John Connor is. Or who John Connor should be. And this movie never showed that - I never believed that this man would ever win any war, or that he could inspire the entire resistance into following his orders over command's. I know that that happens in the story, but it was never earned.

And this is why the movie ultimately is a failure in respect to the Terminator franchise. On its own, it could be considered decent - but it simply lacks everything that made Terminator special.
Posted: Mon, 1st Jun 2009, 1:22am

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RodyPolis

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Pooky wrote:

Don't feel like writing much, but I thought it was quite silly that Skynet didn't kill Reese on sight (that would mean they WIN. why capture him?), and it was also never explained how Skynet knew Reese would be sent back in the first place.
Why would Skynet kill him on sight? They needed him to draw in John Connor. If Marcus never confirmed to John were Kyle was, then John never would have entered. That's why as soon as they had John, they sent that T-600 to kill Kyle.

And I doubt Skynet knew Kyle was sent back. They just knew Connor was after him, so they used him as bait. But they did know after they pulled out information out of Marcus.
Posted: Mon, 1st Jun 2009, 2:23am

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ben3308

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Precisely, Skynet had no idea that Kyle would be sent back, he was just bait. Live bait.
Posted: Mon, 1st Jun 2009, 4:10am

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Pooky

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They mention at one point that Kyle is number one on Skynet's wanted list. Your theory of him only being bait would at least place him behind Connor on said list, as he would only be a means to an end (killing the real target, Connor). They can't really know that Connor wants Kyle before Marcus, but he's shown as being on the wanted list before Marcus and Connor interact. Thus, Skynet knew Kyle was pivotal.

It makes no sense to me. tard
Posted: Mon, 1st Jun 2009, 5:13am

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ben3308

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I think Kyle would be on the list because they know he's important (not that he'll be sent back) and mainly that it's easier to catch Kyle Reese, an under-equipped teen, that it is to catch John Connor, a soldier.
Posted: Mon, 1st Jun 2009, 9:43am

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Simon K Jones

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Really can't decide whether to bother seeing this or not. It just sounds so incredibly uninspiring.

I'm not a fanboy of the series but I did enjoy it. What's interesting about the show compared to T3 and (so it sounds) T4 is that it identified what really made T1 and T2 so memorable. Sure, the tension and horror in T1 and the action in T2 is amazing and largely unrivalled in their respective genres, but it's the Sarah/Reese/John/T-800-as-father storylines that turned the films into classics and separates them from generic action movies.

The show understood that - was forced to understand it, because it clearly couldn't do movie-level action on a TV budget/schedule. I somehow doubt that's something that McG is capable of handling, though.

I suppose I'll have to see it just so that I can contribute to the debate intelligently, but I won't be happy about it. wink
Posted: Fri, 5th Jun 2009, 8:11am

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FreshMentos

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Hmm... I guess I'm sort of alone on this one. I loved this film. More than Star Trek actually. Don't get me wrong, I thought Star Trek was awesome, but I got exactly what I was expecting from it, nothing more. I went to T4 with low expectations, and they were surpassed by a long shot. I really dug the plot and it made me think. It did have shoddy acting in some scenes, but overall it worked out for me. I also really liked the character Marcus Wright.

Then again, I wasn't in what I would call a "sober" state of mind when I saw it so that probably had a strong impact on my opinion of the film wink . Regardless, I thought it was amazing biggrin

Maybe I need to see it again...
Posted: Mon, 8th Jun 2009, 3:36am

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er-no

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I'll just jump onto the side of the fence that nobody seems to be on. I caught this movie a few nights ago in New York on Broadway (woo woo). It was a great action and popcorn film. Some of the shots at the beginning were fantastic (the continuous shot with Bale and the helicopter). Brilliant! Felt like a bit of CG computer game moment from CoD or something equally stunning.

I just enjoyed it. Nothing more. Nothing less. Much better than T3. Obviously never going to take the crown of T2. But yes, good film. I'll watch and buy it again on Blu Ray I'm sure!
Posted: Mon, 8th Jun 2009, 3:57am

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bartman

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I guess I'll just say that I loved it and hope there is another. Then again, I loved all the Terminator movies even the much hated number 3. I dare say it was much better than Star Trek, but that is a whole other debate.

Bart
Posted: Mon, 8th Jun 2009, 5:00pm

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swintonmaximilian

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I felt like this film was a waste of potential, it could have been great. It was infuriatingly unimaginative, mainly in the depiction of skynet. Why did Skynet City look like an exspensive office tower if Skynet is a computer? What function did that touch screen serve? Surely not for Terminator use considering they are merely weapons? It seemed like McG and co paid no attention to the fact that Skynet is in no way human, isn't really a physical entity, and therefore does not need a complex touch screen interface or stair cases in it's fully automated T-800 factory. I know that these are minor quibbles, but they really took me out of the film, they could have done something really cool with Skynet, really put across the idea that it shares nothing in common with humans and that it's perception of life is nothing like our own, but they didn't, shame. I did enjoy it, up until the point it became set in Skynet City, it was enjoyable. I think Bale was miscast, his ''intense'' turn verged on embarrassing in places. Also, for a film about the future war, it might have been nice to see more than about 3 terminators in the entire film, and less of those ridiculous motorbike things. Anyway, OK film, really great effects and action in places, but I can't get the image of McG, smugly content with his boring effort having wasted the future war premise completely, out of my head.
Posted: Thu, 11th Jun 2009, 6:08pm

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No Respite Productions

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<explicit spoilers in this post!>

Hmm, some good comments on this.

I've told a few people that any reviews they see giving this film one or two stars (as has been noted in quite a few places) are talking s***.

This film excels in the first half, the action sequences are energetic and punchy, without having OTT editing that makes it difficult to see what is going on. I agree with the person who mentioned the continuous shot of Bale on the helicopter, it was well done. I thought the bikes were good too, bearing in mind the proper terminators had only just been created by Skynet according to John Connor.

The post apocalyptic wasteland was well realised too. The first 45minutes of this film propels it to a rock solid 6/10 on it's own.

Where this film takes a serious nosedive is in the 2nd half, pretty much the moment they reach Skynet HQ. It was as if the script writers just threw up a load of plotlines and thought, "yeah, that'll do". Towards the end of the film it was all getting a bit long in the tooth. It was also a bit of a shame that they didn't try and do something gritty and unexpected towards the end, but they played it safe instead.

Also the Arnie cameo was completely pointless and added zero to the movie. Ben made a pretty rock solid argument for Connor's lack of reaction, but weighing the two up I'd have rather seen Conner look on in shock as his surrogate father started trying to kill him, only to be saved by Marcus. They knew they had a duff 2nd half and whacked it in last minute to try and rescue it.

Oh and Sam Worthington... what a fantastic actor. What else has he been in? I need to see this guy more!

On that basis alone I really hope they find a way to bring Marcus Wright back into things, he is a brilliant addition to the franchise and brought a lot of emotion into what was otherwise a very neutured edition to the series.

Will never understand the hype around Sarah Connor Chronicles, watched one episode and that was waaaay too much for me. I'm glad McG and co have rescued this franchise back into the film market... no doubt it would have died a very slow and stale death as a TV series, like so many others before it.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a direct sequel to this story, with Bale back in a more developed role of Conner, and hopefully more of Sam W.

Anyone who has been reading this thread wondering whether to go or not... all I'll say is as long as you aren't precious about the first two films (bearing in mind they are iconic films rather than pieces of seminal art) and you don't mind suspending disbelief for the 2nd half... go for it!

7.5/10 - reaching a firm 8/10 when I get it on DVD and need a no-brainer action flick to drink a few beers to.
Posted: Thu, 11th Jun 2009, 6:42pm

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Sollthar

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Some very good thoughts in this thread, I share a lot of them really. So here's my little review:

First of all, let me clarify my opinion on Terminator 2, which is one of my favorite films of all time and it's not by accident considered as one of the most important movies in film history. When T2 came out, Cameron showed things on screen that have never been seen before, set production standards that stood for a long time and made filmhistory by creating a character that's now deeply embedded in pop culture. T2 is not only an action film, but also came out in a time where a story about the "war" between men and machine was very politically and socially relevant (computers started to take over people's jobs, home pc's got faster and faster).
So T2 is in so many ways a unique cinema masterpiece, that it's impossible to repeat. Still, any sequel with to the Terminator Saga will have just that to live up to.

Terminator Salvation did a lot of things right, and it also did a lot of things wrong. Where the terrible, terrible T3 turned the Terminator into a pop-action-hero, Salvation puts Terminators back to what they were created as: Ruthless killermachines. So much for the good.
James Cameron has an industry background and that shows in his movies. His fascination and precision with robots gives them a unique feel. His robots move slowly, stoic and look and feel heavy. That's what robots are. His machines don't do sumersaults, jump around in hip-hop style or strike funny poses (yes Transformers, I'm looking at you) because Cameron was well aware that that's just nonsense for something that weights more then a ton and is powered by mechanics.
McG's Terminators had both: The T-600 which felt incredibly cool, real and properly robotlike, the large harvester robot which made the coolest and most frightening sound I've heard in a while and the dropships. Then there were the new additions like the motorbike terminators which went into ridicolous transformers terrotiry with how they moved and behaved (besides, surely they'd built a mechanism into them so they can stand back up again should they fall over?). McG also pulled a George Lucas in a couple of scenes where he seems to forget that he's dealing with humans. When humans get grabbed by a hydraulic arm and thrown into a metall prison from 10 feet, they'll break a couple of bones at least. But not here. They just stand up and look scared - like a toy. When a human body get's hit by a metal door, he's at least unconscious, probably dead. Not here, one single painful look and back up again. That was a shame. The original Terminators actually hurt people. People that weren't made of rubber, but were fragile and broke even when the Terminator just hit them once... THAT's how it's supposed to be.

The weakest part of Salvation was it's script. It has tons of huge plot holes and inconsistencies and lacks what the first 2 films had: Heart and brain. Salvation is basically an action only fanfilm by someone who loves robots fighting, but has no understanding for the reality or philosophy behind it and doesn't much care for the characters that get beaten up. Shame.
Having said that, some of the action scenes were very good. The film had nice ideas and the production values were mostly top notch! Terminators looked great, some action hurt and some filmic ideas (like the helicopter shot) worked really well. I was also glad to see McG didn't jump onto the MTV-generation filmmaking, but kept his camera style oldskool and showed again: This is the way. You could actually tell what's happening. Great.

Actingwise, the films leaves the actors little to do. And Bale seems to be stuck in his "I'm Batman mode" and that's pretty much all he does. There's no one really memorable in this film because none of the relationships really matter. The random "let's throw in a girlfriend to give Connor some depth" attemt is actually pretty silly and a good reminder of the formulaic nature of the character interactions. Big shame.

Still, the film is miles away from being as terrible as T3. In many aspects, it was actually good fun and in the action scenes, it was often engaging.

Obviously, Arni's T-800 moment had the cinema cheering (including me), it was the best moment of the entire film and it was one of those "THIS is why I love cinema" moments for me. But it made me wonder...
When the best moment of a film is the appearance of a CG Arnold Schwarzenegger that looks like the Terminator from the original movie, then that shows something very clear:
What I actually like is the memory of how good the first two Terminator films were. And this scene reminded us of it. That's why they work. But when the best moment of a movie is the fact it reminds you of another movie, then there is the major flaw... What's good about the film is what Cameron has so well established. What's bad about it is what they've changed or tried to redefine.

Ultimately, Salvation is still just a good and solid action film with some Terminator moments thrown in. But it's still not what a Terminator movie should be: Cinema history.
Posted: Sun, 14th Jun 2009, 11:55am

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ashman

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Caught this last night. I have to say it was disappointing, you could almost hear every fan of the franchise reel back in their seats at how close this could have been to being a classic.

That said I really found a few things to like. The cinematography was beautifully shot with some great lighting choices. The sound design was also one of the strongest elements of the film, I liked the score but felt Danny Elfman wasn't the right composer for this film. Listening to the tracks on an ipod is much more enjoyable than hearing it alongside McG's vision for the franchise.

Sam Worthington also did a wonderful job of playing Marcus Wright with real conviction. I can't help but feel the the film would have been stronger without the other characters, John Conner and Kyle Reese, or at least have their characters weaved in towards the end of the film. I just found Wright's story much more engaging than the others.

The script was rough and I felt it was as if the studio execs sat around a table trying to think of the action scenes first and fit a story around that. The randomness of bikes ejecting out of a robot's leg is ridiculous along with the other umpteen random designs they threw in. While the action scenes are well shot I can't but help feel they could have been so much better with a different director.

This brings me onto my next point, McG. Clearly someone who's very good at shooting commercials because every scene felt that way. I laughed when the female pilot Williams removed her helmet and waved her hair around like she was selling shampoo. Then for the next hour in every scene I was force fed Sony products. Perhaps Micheal Bay came in to help him out? I found it astonishing he failed to control his set or even let it get to that point to let Bale flip out. If I started shouting at my co-workers and my boss failed to step in and control the situation, what kind of example does that set to the workforce? Not a good one.

One of the highlights was seeing the story link up to the first film and revealing a rather excellent looking digital Arnie. But again it's as Sollthar said, it's all the references to the other films that make you feel good about watching T4, it proves there are huge flaws and plot holes throughout.

While it was fun in places, like many others, I can't help but think what this film could have been. And with McG rumored to be involved in the next one, we'll never know.
Posted: Sun, 14th Jun 2009, 1:15pm

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videofxuniverse

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I am yet to see it however there is one question i do have. Does it have the same kind of battle intensity from the flashbacks of the first 3 films, because when i saw terminator 1 and 2 when it would show you the never ending firefighting between man and machine (always at night) i kind of wanted to just see that rather than before the war when everyone is trying to save sarah and John
Posted: Sun, 14th Jun 2009, 1:51pm

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ben3308

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This isn't a blue-toned, 80's action night war environment, rather, it's a bleak, daytime desert. This puzzled me a little when I went back and watched T2 (immediately after seeing T4, actually) but it's still an extremely well-realized vision of the post-apocalyptic future we're told will happen.

Basically, this focuses on the converse side of what James Cameron envisions - McG wants us to see that it's not just dreams of nighttime, rainy war battles that are scary, it's also being stuck in open, desolate areas in broad daylight, with little to no resources. This, specifically, may be the key catalyst in the development of Kyle Reese's 'street smarts' when dealing with Terminators: he's stuck in the middle of nowhere (well, LA) in a geographical basin, surrounded by machines. It's a very creepy, unnerving prospect that even in the day they must hide 24/7.

The biggest nighttime scenes are actually in a human-safe zone, where it's human-on-human combat, primarily. This is really well done, as the camera only follows the primary characters while out-of-focus artillery shells, mines, and SMG fire goes on around them. Very much in the vein of Saving Private Ryan, but very well executed in this film. Moon Bloodgood does a great job epitomizing what the Linda Hamiltons of the future war should be like - sensible, smart, calculating. Yes, she's not meant to be Sarah Connor, but I know I can't be the only one who saw a parallel there.

Also, I like your review ashman, but I disagree about nixing Kyle Reese - to me, he was the main thing that got back to the 'heart' of the franchise - his kinship, knowledge and hope all echoed the Eddie Furlong sentimentality and Michael Biene bravado we see in the other films.
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 5:00am

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RodyPolis

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Sollthar you said they threw in a girlfriend for Connor to give him some depth. But that girlfriend was Kate Brewster from T3 so I don't think it's should be considered as just a random thought from the writers.

I liked this movie, it was good. But it's one of those movies that would be great if it were more tragic and violent. That was my main problem. People weren't dying and I wasn't feeling sorry for anyone. The machines did like one killing and that's it. Show some dude with his legs blown off, a woman that lost her baby, people getting huge needles stuck in them by the machines . Anything!

I was more hoping to see the grittyness of this future. The color and the sets showed it, but nothing that happened in the movie does. I wasn't hating the machines at all. One thing I like about movies is how I much I hate the bad guy. If I don't hate them(to the point where I just want them dead no matter how short the movie gets), then something's missing.

So that was my biggest complaint. I didn't want it to be R rated, but it was to soft for what it's supposed to be.

This is in between 7.5 and 8. It's my favorite summer movie so far this year, and hope there's a sequel.
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 5:11am

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ben3308

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RodyPolis wrote:

Sollthar you said they threw in a girlfriend for Connor to give him some depth. But that girlfriend was Kate Brewster from T3 so I don't think it's should be considered as just a random thought from the writers.
Okay, I'm going to relinquish my 'I loved this movie!!!!" card for one second - WHAT? Sure, it makes sense now, but I had no idea that she was supposed to pick up the Claire Danes character. What?
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 6:35am

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Sollthar

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But that girlfriend was Kate Brewster from T3 so I don't think it's should be considered as just a random thought from the writers.
If that was supposed to be the same character then the writers are even worse then I thought...
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 6:36am

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Evman

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ben3308 wrote:

RodyPolis wrote:

Sollthar you said they threw in a girlfriend for Connor to give him some depth. But that girlfriend was Kate Brewster from T3 so I don't think it's should be considered as just a random thought from the writers.
Okay, I'm going to relinquish my 'I loved this movie!!!!" card for one second - WHAT? Sure, it makes sense now, but I had no idea that she was supposed to pick up the Claire Danes character. What?
Fail?

How did you not know this?
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 7:42am

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ben3308

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I dunno, I just figured that Claire Danes is older than Bryce Dallas Howard and it was hard to see them as the same character. Had they said 'Brewster' in the film it would've been immediately obvious. Call me stupid, but I normally pick up on these things.
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 8:47am

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ashman

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Ouch! I missed this too. I Had no idea that's who Bryce was playing. unsure

Perhaps they should have spent more time developing the script, story and dialogue instead of bad exposition, random robots and action scenes? Although the action scenes are pretty good.

This is not the future of the franchise I was told about.
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 8:57am

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ben3308

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I think it was just miscasting. Claire Danes was, what, 24 when they made the first movie? They needed someone who looked mid-30's to sell it as the same character, I think. Otherwise it's just too large of a stretch. Bryce Dallas Howard looks too young to play that character.
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 4:23pm

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No Respite Productions

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I have to admit, I hadn't a clue who she was until right towards the near end of the film where John calls her "Kate".

It did seem like a real relegation role for that character, but they could only feasibly cram in so much and I'm glad they devoted that time to the young Kyle Reese and Marcus.
Posted: Thu, 26th Nov 2009, 8:29pm

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Mike Q

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Apologies for the bump, I gotta say I'm disapointed with this film. I can't understand why Kyle reese wasn't killed as soon as Marcus found him, isn't that game over, but, how does skynet know that Kyle is important, they would have no link to him, as the father of John connor, or as the man sent back in time to help Sarha connor. And what are the chances that the first person that Marcus meets is Reese?

I liked it when Reese says "come with me if you want to live" seemed a fitting thing for him to say to people in that enviroment, but there were to many links back to the other films. Connor saying "tell them I'll be back" Connor luring the bike Terminators to him with the GnR song from T2, I did like the C.G Arnie, but the whole fight inside skynet seemed to rip off T2.

And someone please correct me if I'm wrong, these are terminators - right. So why didn't they terminate anything. Connor was thrown around, numerous times, instead of the terminator grabbing a hold of his mellon and squishing it.

When the terminator opens the cell that Reese is in, you would assume that he's a goner, but no, the terminator puts him on a table, for...some...reason. Alowing him to escape.
Posted: Thu, 26th Nov 2009, 10:14pm

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spydurhank

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So picture that you're Skynet and really think about this...
Future Kyle travels to the past to a time before he was born where he is killed in a huge facility. The police and CSI plus any number of emergency personnel show up. They find bits and pieces of robotic limbs and a John Doe "Kyle". All of that info would be on record to some extent somewhere. Years later Kyle is born, he has the same DNA as this John Doe "Future Kyle" which would also be on record.
If you're Skynet... That would raise a red flag and send out alarm bells across the board, don't you think? Which is why Kyle was number one on Skynet's list.

Nothing against Bale but he really dumbed the movie down while several folks are trying to church up his performance which was nothing less than terrible IMHO. To those that say his portrayal of Conner was one dimensional... I'm sorry but I say to you that his acting was actually falling into the negative digits. Some of the machines had more personality than Bale and I as well, was hoping for his quick demise. Hell, even the little girl that didn't speak did a better job than he did and it made me want to see more Of Marcus the chick pilot and Kyle which were much more interesting.
It's as if all of the other actors may as well have been extras. Why the hell was that? So we could stand by as Bale whispered loudly and yelled even louder? Bale's Conner was as annoying as those two moronic twins in Transformers two. And yes... TTSCC is way better than this movie.
Posted: Fri, 27th Nov 2009, 5:35pm

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Mike Q

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spydurhank wrote:

he has the same DNA as this John Doe "Future Kyle" which would also be on record.
If you're Skynet... That would raise a red flag and send out alarm bells across the board, don't you think? Which is why Kyle was number one on Skynet's list.
But even if they did store Reese's DNA in the past, why would skynet have future Reese's DNA, If they could collect that, they could kill him as well. And they also don't know that Reese is the father of connor, they "may" know about him being sent back, but not that he is the father of John.

I really liked the Marcus character, and think that this is where the story should have gone, and when Connor has his heart damaged, I really thought that Marcus was somehow going to become John Connor, face transplant or some such plot twist. And so the big leader of the resistance is in fact a terminator, of sorts.
Posted: Fri, 27th Nov 2009, 6:42pm

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spydurhank

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They would have birth records and such from when future Kyle was eventually born. From Skynet's perspective it'd be like this... Wow we've got this dead guy "Future Kyle" from 1984 then little baby Kyle which is born decades later and they both happen to have the same DNA... and not only that, They also share some of that DNA with John Conner who was in trouble with the law as a kid which would also be on record somewhere. That's how all of that easily ties in together.
Posted: Fri, 27th Nov 2009, 7:39pm

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Mike Q

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Good point with Connor's DNA, but still, they wouldn't have a record of Reese's DNA, he would have been born into the war, who would have taken his DNA and put it on record? Skynet, how and why would they take DNA, they would have killed Reese as soon as they figured out the link. There's no way of skynet having a record of Reese's DNA.
Posted: Fri, 27th Nov 2009, 9:18pm

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spydurhank

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Ah, that makes sense then. I'll have to check out the movies again and see if they mention when he was born. I always thought he was born right before judgment day.

EDIT:
Alright so I re-checked the refferances to the timelines in all the films and Kyle was born around 2002 and Jugdment day took place in 2004 so there would be records of his birth, question answerd problem solved.
Posted: Sat, 28th Nov 2009, 2:45pm

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Mike Q

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I think I was stuck to the original Judgemnet day, 1996-7 was it? But still, they wouldn't have DNA from Connor when he was in trouble with the law because they don't, or didn't take DNA from criminals, especially juvenile ones. And with Reese, why would there be a record of his DNA from when he was born, they don't take DNA samples of babies, so Skynet wouldn't have access to Reese's DNA, or Connor's for that matter.
Posted: Sat, 28th Nov 2009, 3:01pm

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Mike Q

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Mike Q wrote:



And someone please correct me if I'm wrong, these are terminators - right. So why didn't they terminate anything. Connor was thrown around, numerous times, instead of the terminator grabbing a hold of his mellon and squishing it.
I watched it again last night, with my son. The legless terminator at the begining grabs hold of Connor twice, and throws him around wall And in the battle inside skynet city, the terminator constantly throws him into walls, instead of ... well... you know....TERMINATING HIM burst
Posted: Sat, 28th Nov 2009, 4:49pm

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spydurhank

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I can't be sure but it may be due to all the corruption that was done to the timeline by time travel because Kyle is supposed to grow up as a slave in some kinda terminator work camp and he is clearly not a slave in this 4th installment. It's either that or someone just didn't give a damn about continuity and said to hell with it.