Posted by: yannaungoak | June 10, 2009

The new Terminator movie

We went to go watch Terminator Salvation today. It wasn’t too bad, and the action scenes were really cool.

Apparently the machines of the post-apocalyptic future use USB ports and respond well to Guns N’ Roses. They also have a thing for Buckminsterfullerene, they use them a lot in their screensavers or something. Sony still seems to be in business supplying the Resistance with hand-held blackberry-like devices.

Other than that, they pretty much nailed my vision of the post-apocalyptic future. The cinematography was downright awesome. I remember when I first watched Terminator 2 when I was about four years old and didn’t understand a word of English. My favorite scene from T2 was at the beginning when the giant robots were stepping on skulls and going berzerk with their huge machine guns. This new movie definitely fulfilled my childhood dream as far as giant robots were concerned.

There’s big spoilers from this point on, so be careful.

The whole movie seemed like three or four big action sequences strung together with a lame excuse for a script. First, John Connor finds a Skynet base with human experimental subjects and then there was a big explosion and we have our first fight scene. It was a T-600 versus John Connor in a helicopter. After that, all of a sudden this new terminator guy who has the classic cyborg-who-thinks-he’s-human disorder comes along and starts getting all confused about where he was and what year it was. Then he gets rescued by a teenaged Kyle Reese and they get to a run down gas station and we have the second fight scene, which was the best by far. There was this huge robot which had small motorcyle-robots attached to his knees, it was like a scene out of Power Rangers or something, except the robots weren’t colorful. There was a really cool car chase that ended with a bunch of satisfying explosions on a bridge. That was pretty much the highlight of the movie.

After that, everything pretty much goes downhill. It was more of an attempt to pay homage to the classic Terminator movies. They say things like “follow me  if you want to live” and “I’ll be back”, but apparently they thought the tone of the movie was too serious to drop lines like “Hasta la vista, baby”. Instead we get incredibly lame cookie cutter sci-fi dialog about the nature of humanity and the destiny of the world and things like that.

In terms of tying in with the other Terminator movies, I think they gave it a commendable try. But it was more like, “gee, if we make a new Terminator movie we have this whole checklist of plot points we have to follow” and then by the time they realized it they’ve spent their whole budget on special effects so they just gerrymandered the script to fit the checklist somehow.

And being a big fan of the Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series, I was hoping for more of a focus on the storyline and on genuine sci-fi. I was hoping that since the series has been canceled with a massive cliffhanger at the end of season 2, that the new Terminator movies would somehow tie that story in, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Sigh.

I’d still recommend the movie though. Just for the action scenes. If you liked the scene in the last Matrix movie where the big robots with machine guns defend Zion, you’re guranteed to like Terminator Salvation.


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