The new film Terminator Salvation is not just bad… it’s absurd, ridiculous, boneheaded and an absolute atrocity. The producers of this film should be vastly ashamed for not just killing the series (Terminator III already started the slow death, this one just deals the final blow), but for making me lose all interest in any Terminator film or storyline ever again.
I had a hint that this film was in a sad state when it seemed that McG, the “visionary director” behind this enormous waste of time had forgotten that he showed the name of the film once in the opening credits. It’s truly baffling. It’s as if he was totally not paying attention or, as I said to my friend upon exit, he just wanted us to be really sure we wanted to sit through this disaster. The opening credits have the typical summer blockbuster 3-D titles swirling about in the background… yeah, those letters that you know will eventually come together to spell TERMINATOR SALVATION. But uhh, before that, a white font pops up on the screen to tell us that. Then after a few more names, the letters finally do what you expect: they come together to form the title of the film again. TERMINATOR SALVATION. It reminded me of a flight attendant who starts every flight with an announcement of the final destination and advises that if this is not your final destination, you should deplane at this time.
Take my advice and deplane.
I didn’t, so I sat through the rest of this cinematic diarrhea with my expectations lowering with each passing frame until there just weren’t any left. I’m not going to bother detailing the plot because A) I hate spoilers and B) there’s no plot to detail. There is what seemed to be the germination of a half-baked good idea, but then when McG gets the budget from the studio and an A-list dramatic actor like Christian Bale he just goes to town in an effort to prove himself. Someone please drag his punk ass back to Drew Barrymore‘s house and let them spend inordinate amounts of time trying to figure out Charlie’s Angels III.
I mentioned Christian Bale, so now I must deal with him. I read once that Christian Bale almost deplaned from this trip and I wish he had. I have lost so much respect for this guy that I could care less if I ever see him again. Jonathan Nolan should probably take note and start looking for a new Bruce Wayne. Christian Bale is so full of himself in this film that he makes that cheesy growling voice from The Dark Knight seem like Oscar material.
The action sequences in this film aren’t that bad but they feel very stitched together. It’s as if the continuity person walked up to the director every couple of days and said, “Uhm, it’s only been 4 or 5 minutes of film time since we blew some shit up, so we should probably do something about that.” The end result is action sequences when you least expect it and violence that goes on far longer than it probably should.
Kudos also to the cinematographers of this work who have taken great pains to come up with creative shots for just about every action scene. Someone took some camera lessons from the Coen brothers here, perhaps. Either that or they were trying to shoot a Terminator film in the vein of Raising Arizona to let film buffs know that they feel this movie is just as absurd as you do (in a subtle kind of way, of course).
There is one particularly exciting sequence involving a gas station, expendable humans and one seriously large, pissed off Terminator. I highly enjoyed this scene and it stands out in my mind as a real hallmark of the film’s technical achievements. However, after that scene, do yourself a favor and walk out. The ending of this film is not only absurd, it questions whether or not anyone was thinking through this fertilizer at all.
To tell you the truth, even Danny Elfman‘s score was forgettable. Usually I’m a fan of Danny Elfman’s work but this was clearly not his typical, fast-paced orchestral tour de force that I am used to. I scarcely remember a note. It could be because there was just too much shit blowing up all the time, but who knows.
Christian Bale is absolutely pathetic as the “oh woe is me” John Conner. Helena Bonham Carter is dreadfully awful as… some weirdo doctor who wastes my time. Sam Worthington plays a character who could have had a decent impact on the mythos of the Terminator canon but he blows it just like everyone else. Moon Bloodgood is the female side of the film who doesn’t talk much… probably because she knows it’s better that she just phone this one in and pick up the check.
I cannot encourage you enough to withhold your money on this one, folks. As a matter of fact, I’m so outraged by this film and how bad it is that I simply had to sit down and write a blog post about it before any more of you go out there and give these idiots one more cent of your hard earned cash. Stay at home and write a nice letter to James Cameron instead. He’ll need the positive thoughts after seeing what these people have done to his baby.