Thursday, May 21, 2009

Terminator: Salvation - 1 1/2 stars

This is no Terminator movie. This is just another version of Mad Max. Christian Bale is about the 10th actor to play John Connor, and while he may be a great actor, he gives the worst John Connor performance. Seriously. Michael Edwards was a better John Connor (he was old John Connor in T2).

Ever since I saw the first Terminator, I was interested in seeing more of the war against the machines. In T1 and T2 we see flashbacks of the war, and it looks cool as hell. Its always nighttime, the music and sound effects are great, and they all shoot really cool laser guns. Well, this is nothing like that. The sound is all wrong, the atmosphere and feel of it is all wrong, and they don't have the laser guns. Just regular machine guns.

I thought the resistance would be a rag-tag bunch of fighters without much in the way of technology or equipment. But in this movie, they are like the army. They have a submarine as their command center, and they have world-wide communication. Not the resistance I remember seeing in those flashbacks.

The first Terminator movies had great characters, and the relationships between those characters are what drove the movies. In the first one, it was the relationship between Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor. In the second one, it was the T-800 and John Connor. This time, nothing. I didn't care about John Connor or Marcus Wright or Blair Williams. I didn't even care about the relationship between John Connor and his wife Kate (I had to look it up on IMDb to find out who Bryce Dallas Howard was even playing, since we never once get the impression that they are married).

One of the worst parts of the movie for me was when they decided they had to give Skynet a face and personality. I'm spoiling it a little bit for you, but there is a point when a character is able to have a conversation with Skynet. Its like they thought audiences needed to see the villain and associate a face with the villain. I think Skynet is more terrifying when we just think of it as this worldwide computer network that is self-aware.

The makers of this movie have no idea why the first Terminator movies were great. They just thought it was all about the action. Well, the action does look good. But if you are not invested in the characters and the story, the action is pointless. What a letdown this movie is.

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