Film Review – Terminator Salvation

Is Christian Bale the guy movie execs go to to restart their former money making franchises? The “Batman” star along with “The Village’s” Bryce Dallas Howard, Anton Yelchin, and Helena Bonham Carter are just some of the top actors chosen to reinvigorate the Terminator legacy. Director McG (known for ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and ‘We Are Marshall’) takes a stab at the series that launched Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to stardom. The result is a loud, nonstop, battle movie with a few of the franchises’ key one liners tossed in just for fun. It revolves around the now grown up and married John Connor and life on Earth after the “Judgment Day” event. It is definitely worth seeing in theaters because of the tremendous visual effects, but is it a movie that’ll be up to the “Batman” standards we are used to from Bale? Well, read on if you want to live … or if you’d rather just finish reading the review (P.s. Possible spoilers ahead as well)!

- Not So Cheesy – An aspect of sequels that can be annoying, especially from movies with such notable one liners, is that the writers feel they have to repeat these well-known lines like it’ll be cute or something. The writers for “Salvation” did not however over do it with the numerous famous zingers from the original three films. There are a couple throughout the movie, but they are very subtle and the actors delivering the famous quotes don’t ham it up either. Great job!

- Visual Effects – The CG is incredible! Like another highly anticipated summer sequel “Transformers 2” – this movie would not exist without CG – it creates a believable habitat devastated from “Judgment Day” but it is still a location that is recognizable and familiar. The visual artists also did a great job making the Prisoner Transport machines realistic by seamlessly combining the CG with a perfectly replicated set for the actors.

- Won’t Be Left in the Dark – It has been awhile since I’ve seen any of the original “Terminator” films. If you’re like me, fear not, you won’t be left totally in the dark because McG was considerate enough to refresh our memories of the events that occurred during the previous movies at the beginning of “Salvation.” Thanks McG!

- Bryce Dallas Howard – As Conner’s pregnant wife, she and John work great as a tough team plotting against the machines as well as protecting their own people.

- Batman Voice Cameo – The only nit picky aspect of the “Batman” movies that I don’t like is Bale’s voice when he’s Batman (versus his normal voice as Bruce Wayne). It sounds unnatural. And, sadly, the Batman voice does come back like a T-800 throughout the film.

- The "Rebar Through The Chest" Trick – A common movie magic trick film makers like to use is this: the main character is relieved he’s finally defeated every last one of his enemies when one of them surprises us all by using his last bit of energy to impale our leading dude through the chest with an object. But, as in typical badass fashion, our hero does not die from his incredibly serious injury, oh no, low and behold he WALKS away alive and ready to be badass another day. John Connor + Rebar + Chest + Walks Away = Me Feeling Cheated by a Cliche

Honestly, there are more Pros than Cons for “Terminator Salvation,” which is not what I expected. The lack of clichés (minus the one mentioned above) and corny references to the other movies is pleasantly surprising. The dialog and plot are cohesive and believable. It’ll keep your attention, won’t confuse you with references and the acting isn't over done. I am definitely looking forward to the next installment, so keep an eye out for the review of “Terminator 5” due in 2011, because…

I’ll be back!
(hehe – I couldn’t resist!!)

Do you think “Terminator Salvation” upholds the key aspects of the original three “Terminator” films? What do you think is in store for the next two installments? Anything you particularly loved or hated about “Salvation?”

"Basically, I'm for anything that gets you through the night - be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.” – Frank Sinatra
So may the prayers, tranquilizers and JD be with you and see you next time.

No comments: