Monday, June 1, 2009
Terminator Salvation is the fourth film in the storied Terminator franchise. Set in post-apocalyptic 2018, it follows an adult John Connor, now a mid-level leader in the Resistance, as he attempts to stop Skynet from killing his (future/past) father. Along for the ride is Marcus Wright, a Death Row inmate executed by the state in 2003 and resurrected by Skynet for unknown reasons.
Marcus' quest for redemption provides the film's emotional center, but have no worries about the series going soft: from beginning to end this is an action flick.
Gone are the cheesy but frightening special effects of the original movie, replaced with slick CGI straight out of Transformers. It increases the number and complexity of the action sequences, but at the cost of the grittiness fans have always associated with Connor's war. Terminator showed us a dark, Stalingrad-like world where humans were reduced to eating rats. Salvation gives us a Resistance capable of fielding helicopters, attack jets, radar, field hospitals, submarines, and worldwide co-ordinated attacks.
[I can only justify this change by asserting that it is early in the Machine war; perhaps we are seeing the dying breath of the traditional military.]
Where does the film rank in the series? Did I enjoy it?
I would rank this movie right where it stands, as fourth in line in the series. It's not as iconic as the first, as original as the second, or as tightly plotted as the third. Most people would agree it fails to suprass the first two movies, but not the third. T3 remains a troubled and unpopular piece of canon, but I've always defended its worth. If nothing else, it reversed T2's belief that destiny was malleable; with T3 we recognize that some people, for better or worse, are burdened with greatness.
As far as enjoying it, sure, I did. It's a nice way to pass an afteroon, and a good popcorn movie. Sure there were plot holes galore, and I think the female pilot was less a tribute to Sarah Connor and strong women than a nod to the horny teenage boys in the audience, but whatcha gonna do?
2.75 out of 4, 67 out of 100