Terminator Salvation A Movie Review
Terminator Salvation (2009) A Movie Review
The Terminator franchise has been re-charged with a frantic, post apocalyptic jolt and is here to terminate your every sense with a barrage of mechanical mayhem.
Having taken over at the helm from James Cameron and Jonathon Mostow McG has given fans all they have craved since they first saw a metal foot crush a human skull two decades ago.
The year is 2018. Post Armageddon the world is engaged in a seemingly futile war with the machines. John Connor (Christian Bale) is the supposed prophet tasked with leading the ‘resistance’ against the unrelenting cybernetic organisms who’s sole aim is the extinction of all human life. With Skynet assembling a massive army all hope seems certainly lost, though despite seemingly insurmountable odds a small resistance stubbornly oppose to be eradicated by artificial intelligence.
The plot is central to the Terminator mythology, however after twenty five years it seems somewhat antiquated. In 1984 when Arnold Schwarzenegger stalked a petrified Linda Hamilton the concept of an indestructible machine sent back through time to terminate it’s arc nemesis (or, at least the mother of it’s nemesis) seemed entirely revolutionary, however today this concept seems tired and derivative.
In an attempt to compensate for the distinct lack of originality in the story the filmmakers have crammed the film with over two hours of eye-popping special effects and elegantly crafted cinematography. The film thunders along at a relentless pace leaving the audience barely enough time to catch their breath between sequences.
The Terminator franchise has long been considered a benchmark for science fiction special effects in true keeping this latest offering does not disappoint. The T-600’s looked polished for 2009 and as deliciously malicious as ever whilst keeping the essence of the original designs. The hydrobots appear intimidating and the larger designs daunt and overwhelm the small band of rebels whom dare to oppose them.
Terminator Salvation does deliver some of the most spectacular cinematography ever seen on film. The effects are non more noticeable than at the beginning of the film when John Connor takes off in his helicopter, only to be downed within seconds. The position of the camera in the rear of the helicopter follows the action inside and the audience feel the full force when it crashes to the ground.
McG seems totally committed to his vision of the bleak world John Connor, Kyle Reese and company are existing in. The desolation of the world is reminiscent of Cormac MacCarthy’s visionary apolocaptic novel ‘The Road’ and the audience are left with little doubt to the destruction this ongoing war has already inflicted on the earth. Indeed the barren landscape of the Skynet headquarters totally encapsulated the sterile wasteland that is the future.
The main criticism of this movie however is levelled squarely on the shoulders of the central lead actor, Christian Bale. He appears to have utterly misinterpreted the character of John Connor. He failed to personify the attitude and essence of his character so spectacularly that whilst on screen he is nothing more than an irritation. In contrast however, Sam Worthington as Marcus Wright was everything that Christian Bale’s character should have been. The audience was able to utterly connect with him on an emotional level and his plight seemed entirely more memorable than the supposed savour of mankind. Newcomer Anton Yelchin gives a heart warming performance as a young Kyle Reese, father of John Connor and immature kid bravely standing against the oppression of the machines. The talent of Bryce Dallas Howard was unfortunately under used. Her appearances only seem to cement the character as simply another subordinate to Christian Bale’s John Connor and surely an actress of her talent should have been accredited with more significance.
McG is gracious enough to nod to previous Terminator offerings that have built the movies into the revered franchise it is today. The renowned Guns N Roses soundtrack from T2 is present as is some all too familiar dialogue. As for the supposed Arnold Schwartznegger cameo I will not disclose such technical data, suffice to say fans will not be disappointed.
Terminator Salvation is a welcomed addition to the franchise. It suitable adds to the mythology whilst maintaining its own individuality. Whilst not without its flaws, most notably and incoherent story and dreadful performance from the leading actor, the movie is fun, fast paced, entertaining and visually stunning. This is all in all the essence of a summer blockbuster.