Note: This is not my standard weekly post - this is a bonus one. To see my regular post, just scroll down past this one.
My Terminator Salvation Review
I terminated 2.5 hours of my overcast afternoon to get to and wait in line for the sneak preview of Terminator Salvation, so I figured that I might as well try to get my review up tonight to help people make an informed, spoiler-free decision this weekend. I know I waited about the length of movie in line, but I did walk into it knowing what to expect and I got exactly that: a summer blockbuster action movie.
The plot is basically what you think it is given the plots of the first two movies (the third one doesn't really count in the continuum of this movie's timeline, from what I remember of it). In the future, the government contracts Skynet for defense technologies, which creates robots that end up becoming self-aware and decide that humanity is a threat on "Judgement Day" and start trying to destroy the entire human population. Unlike the first two movies, which take place because robots from the future travel back in time, this one takes place in the middle of the war with John Connor right in the middle of the resistance as they prepare to attack Skynet. If I tell you any more than that then it would spoil what little there is to be spoiled (but the trailer does spoil quite a bit).
It's really easy to pick apart this movie. Let's face it: it's a hardcore action movie. No one is going to see it for quotable dialogue. Sadly, you never really connect to the characters so you don't care much about them. Character development is slim-to-nil, even with the leading role of Christian Bale as John Connor. Some of the supporting characters give predictably weak performances, most notably Common (although he is very good at hip hop). The only characters I ever felt myself caring about were Sam Worthington's and Moon Bloodgood's (you can just call her my future wife to make it simpler). I'm not even going to get into the scientific impossibilities or inconsistencies in the movie, or its strange idea of time (which differs with Lost and Star Trek). Of course, no one is going to this movie for a character study though or scientific accuracy, so to critique those points would be dumb. You're really going because you want to see this:
You will definitely see a lot of that. Those robots get pretty creepy, so if the robot apocalypse scares you excessively then this is definitely not the movie for you. Seriously, the robots are creepy, and there are some startling moments (not a whole lot, just a few). I definitely don't think the movie is appropriate for any kids younger than 13 (though I think even 15 is kind of pushing it). There's no sex or excessive gore, but there's plenty of violence and the robots are eerie. The dystopian future it paints can just be a lot to handle for a young teenager.
Anyway, the action is definitely stellar. There's also a lot of it. It reminds me of Mission Impossible III since the breaks between action scenes are few and far between, and each action scene is ridiculously intense and has you very anxious. I have to admit that it's a bit of a stressful movie to watch after a full day of work, but it's still fun. The only criticism I can viably make about the action is that at times the characters didn't seem sufficiently scared about the situations they found themselves in, but I could believe that they live in a world where the stuff that happens in this movie just doesn't phase them anymore because they've been totally desensitized to it.
I was sitting in the very front of the theater and I didn't notice any crummy CG. Whatever CG they had was actually pretty believable. They do an incredible job of creating a world and a reality that you believe could happen. I seriously found myself pondering what I'd do to deal with the robot apocalypse at points in this movie. I really wished they took it a step farther and covered a little bit further some of the ethical/logistical issues they touched upon with regard to robots rather than skirting them or handling them awkwardly, but I knew that it really wasn't that kind of movie.
Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. I'm not the pretentious film critic who's going to give this movie an F just because it wasn't the best movie of the year. Sure it didn't measure up to Watchmen or Star Trek, but it was a solid action movie. We live these super busy lives where we don't take a whole lot of time to stop and just rest and enjoy something, and I think that Terminator Salvation, ironically enough, gives us something to enjoy as a fun experience. Assuming that you don't think you're going to have nightmares about the robot apocalypse, I definitely recommend seeing this movie while it's in theaters. I've seen better action movies so I have to give it a solid B-, but I still think it's a very worthwhile B movie.