Written by John D. Brancato & Michael Ferris
Directed by McG
Running Time: 1:54
for intense sequences of sci-fi violence
and action, and language.
Terminator Salvation was a hardcore sci-fi action film which had a simple story and pretty much just set up future sequels.
The machines have (finally) taken over the world. The survivors of the nuclear holocaust are fighting to take back control. They are led by their chosen one, John Connor, who knows he must find Kyle Reese in order to send him back in time to save John from the terminators sent back to kill him. But finding Reese is no easy task and the machines are getting closer and closer to totally annihilating the human race. Meanwhile, Marcus Wright wakes up after supposedly being put to death nearly 15 years earlier. Unsure of where, or when, he is, Marcus subconsciously seeks out John Connor, feeling Connor will know what to do. But unknown to him, Marcus has his own secret - he is one of the machines. Can Connor trust something created by the enemy to help him in his cause? Or will the machine's secret weapon end the battle once and for all?
Terminator Salvation finally brings us to the battle against the machines. The previous three films all took place before the war started and all dealt with simply trying to keep Connor alive. But this movie takes place after the war starts, but about 10 years before Connor sends Reese back in time to save his mother. Which means obviously, there will be at least two sequels - one where we get to the point Reese gets sent back in time, and one, presumably, where this war will finally come to an end. It all appears to work from a time jumping point of view, but really, if you think about it too much you're wasting your time. The movie doesn't really have much to do with the terminators we're known in the past. The story isn't about a specific terminator hunting down Connor - it's more about Connor trying to learn from the audio tapes his mother left for him, and Marcus trying to come to grips with his place in the world.
Sam Worthington, who plays Marcus, is a true star in the making. He's more the heart and soul of this film than Christian Bale. I don't know where Sam came from or what he has in store for himself in the future (I could IMDB it but I'll let you do that), but he certainly can hold his own in this massive franchise film. Bale is his usual solid self although there are moments where he overacts a bit. But he tends to do that too. There is never any real danger to his character, in the minds of the viewers, since you know where the story has to go. So the movie is more focused on Marcus since we don't know where his character will eventually land. Is he really a good guy? Or have the machines found something they can use against the humans?
Visually the movie is very strong. It's very gritty and earthy showing us a post-apocalyptic wasteland where humans are forced to hide at all times from the prying eyes of the machines. The action sequences are fairly strong and the special effects were very good. The rest of the characters/actors were decent although none of them really stood out. Having Bryce Dallas Howard playing a grown up version of Claire Danes was interesting seeing as how Bryce is 2 years younger than Claire. At least Christian Bale is 5 years older than Nick Stahl. The movie did have some dead spots though and at times dragged on. And there was no sunlight or happiness in the film. It was consistently dark and moody which makes sense but also doesn't leave you with a good feeling when you're leaving the theater.
The story was actually very simple. John Connor needs to find and save Kyle Reese because Connor is the only one who knows what Reese has to do in the future (and the past). And that's really the entire plot. The rest of the story is about emotion and belonging. I like keeping the story simple because it allows you to focus on the characters leading into the inevitable showdown in the sequels. And having small moments that take you back to the original films was also a good touch. It makes this movie feel connected to the others, while still being able to stand on its own. A small on screen scroll reminds you of the story line from the previous films so even if you've never seen them, you can still go out and see this one.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked Terminator Salvation. It turned out to be better than I expected it to be. It was visually strong and had some good action sequences. The story wasn't very deep and it was obvious that this was just a set-up for the sequels, but it's a good start for the beginning of another Terminator trilogy.
Netflix DVD Rentals. Only $4.99 a month. NO LATE FEES; Free Shipping. Try for FREE!