Thursday, May 28, 2009

Movie Review:Terminator Salvation

If you like sharp, well crafted dialogue with thoughtful, well developed plots, internal consistency, and movies with something deep and meaningful to say about the human condition....this movie may not be the right choice for you.

 On the other hand, if you like action-packed flicks with a surface-deep story and a lot of fun, punch your ticket it is time to go for a ride.

Terminator:Salvation is more about Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) than it is John Connor (Christian Bale) even if the screen time slants slightly towards Bale. 

The movie is set in 2018. In keeping with the dark nature we have seen of the future in the other Terminator movies, it is a bleak world indeed. Standing buildings are a thing of the past, technology other than war machines has seriously regressed, and the humans are at war with the machines.

Somewhere in the ocean the leadership of the human resistance is on a submarine planning a technological attack on Skynet while John Connor is among the ground forces. Up pops Wright, a man who has no knowledge of Judgment Day or what happened to L.A., yet this causes no questions for people such as, "Where were you for the past 18 year?"

This highlights the intrinsic stupidity of the movie. That is a pretty basic question, yet it gets blown off. Another fine example of the lack of attention to detail would be the sequence where Wright hot-wires a car, Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) says he doesn't know how to drive...then manages to steer the vehicle off-road down a ravine, through a complicated set-piece chase scene and ends with a perfect Rockford Files e-brake slide. Not bad for someone who "doesn't know how to drive".

Once you get past the internal logic holes, however, this movie is a lot of fun. It has the elements that made the first couple movies so enjoyable; out-gunned humans being chased by implacable, nigh-indestructible machines and having to find ways to stay alive long enough to figure out how to destroy the machine.

Along the way Wright has to figure out if he is human or machine. This journey is marked by key moments differentiating how other people perceive him.

The movie has some fantastic call-backs to some of the most memorable moments in the first couple movies and some nice cameos that should bring a smile to the face of anyone who likes the franchise.

Overall, it is an action-packed, enjoyable flick that moves the franchise forward and is worth the price of admission for those who are fans of the series. Oh, and if you liked Bale in the Batman series, check out his return to that voice during his "don't bomb Skynet" communique. That laugh alone is worth the price of admission.

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