Effing awesome. Just effing awesome. (Sorry, I’ve been listening to comedian Daniel Tosh lately.) The Terminator film was as good as I expected it to be and I’m very excited about that. Finally, a movie met expectations that weren’t set somewhere below raw sewage. “Terminator: Salvation” is the finale of a month filled with four really good films. If you don’t know the films I’m talking about, you have some reading to do in my archive.
I’ve been waiting for this film to come out for a long time and I’m not just talking about since the first trailer was released. I’ve been waiting for it since “Terminator 3,” when they show Judgment Day actually happening. Most people did not like “Terminator 3,” probably because it was sub-par compared to the previous two films. What they missed was the whole point of that movie was to show Judgment Day so the story could move into the war with the machines. I agree that a third movie with the exact same formula and story was too much, but what do you expect from writers who eff around on most sequels?
“Terminator: Salvation” picks up in the year 2018, several years after Skynet nuked the planet. Pockets of human resistance exist around the world and are loosely organized, with their commanders in a submarine. I’m going to suspend my disbelief here because it sounds like a good idea until you actually think about it…and I liked the idea. It’s just hard to believe that Skynet doesn’t have the oceans completely covered when they have things patrolling tiny rivers. I’m also going to ignore the helicopters as being a bad idea. If I was part of the resistance, there is no effing way you’d convince me to get in a helicopter.
Anyway, the resistance has discovered a way to shutdown the machines and they tap John Connor to destroy Skynet. Meanwhile, Skynet is snatching humans to further the development of new cyborg terminators, or as we call them, Arnolds. Skynet has also hatched a plan to kill John Connor by capturing Kyle Reese (John’s father) using a guy who is mostly machine, but still thinks he is human. For those who saw the movie and weren’t paying attention (or are just effing dumb), this cyborg, Marcus, is actually the main character of the film.
The film actually begins with a short clip of Marcus being executed in 2003. He donates his body to Helena Bonham Carter, I mean Cyberdyne, for experimentation. Since the advertising people are idiots and showed us he was a cyborg in the previews, this intro scene is complete pointless. Good job you effing morons, you ruined the only real surprise of the film.
Marcus wakes up in 2018, looking like he was just birthed from a giant muddy hoo-ha, wondering what has happened. For the rest of the film, his goal is to find Helena so he can get some answers to what has happened to him. Even though we all know that John Connor is the key figure to the entire story, Marcus is the focal point of the film. He’s part of that transition from the original films to the new trilogy (eff yeah, there’ll be three, if not more).
The only thing that bothered me about the whole story was that Skynet was trying to capture Reese. The problem is that Skynet doesn’t know that Reese is John’s father, so why is it targeting him specifically to use as bait for killing John? We are never given an explanation for this and it was bugging me the entire time. They could have just made Reese a high priority guy in the resistance, thus explaining why Skynet would be after him. As it is, he’s just a nobody; a very young man who’s not even involved in the official resistance organization. I’m willing to let this go if they explain it in a later film, but I’m betting it was just lazy screenwriting.
As for the rest of the film, did I say it was effing awesome? The special effects were gorgeous and the lighting was perfect for a post-apocalyptic Earth. The machines were very cool with lots of different kinds and reminded me of the creativity of the machines in “The Matrix.” I really liked the way the bigger ones carried the smaller ones, especially the motorcycle terminators. They were clever without seeming indulgent and the efficiency built into the different machines proved that the creators were at their best for this movie. Now we just have to hope that the writers don’t give us the ole’ eff you in the sequel.
Rating: Worth a lot (a lot) more than you paid for it. In fact, I think you should sneak out the back before the theater manager finds you.