Home > Film Reviews, So bad that its GOOD! > Terminator Salvation: First Impressions

Terminator Salvation: First Impressions

Finally I got time to watch the most awaited movie of this Summer. Though the movie was released on May 21st, it was last week that I managed some time to go and watch it,mostly because of my travel to Europe and all.  Its been more than 4 years that the last movie abomination was released and the memories of the previous episodes were begining to fade.So before I went to the movie, I made sure that I had watched the first three installments to go to the movie fully prepared and also to come back with an unbiased view which had already become an object of introspect after I read about the reviews online. To tell you the truth I believe I have got an unbiased view on this movie and theres just so much to write. So I will focus on the first impressions and a short review of the movie here before taking on more intellectually challenging topics in my following posts. A few days back I was asked to review Crank 2 but I think the bitching can wait a post or two. It is imperative that the robot apocalypse gets the first precedence and hey ! Arnie is there !!!

YAAAAAAAY !! ARNIE !!!!

YAAAAAAAY !! ARNIE !!!!

The movie has a very linear plot, John is a nobody yet people know that he is the prophecised savior of post apocalyptic mankind from their robot overlords . His daily schedule involve losing his people in ass ripping blasts and crashing helicopters all across the wasteland.In between, just for the lulz he puts on the hats of a HAM radio operator and sends bat signals to locate his would be dad Kyle Reese. During one such ass ripping explosion and subsequent successful crash of his helicopter we are introduced to Marcus. A naked human being crawling out of the blast site and howling like a castrated bull. He in turn is saved by Kyle reese with his stupid ass dumb side kick and later they get captured by Skynet in the most bizarre circumstances.Marcus tries to save them but he gets thrown off a big hunter killer into the water in an equally bizarre way and we get to know Moon BloodGood. Marcus teams up with Moon Bloodgood though the audience is deprived of her actual ‘good’-ness due to some PG 13 shit. Later they travel to the resistance base where Marcus is blown by a Magnetic Landmine designed to go off in the proximity of terminators. Katherine Brewster is the vet who graduated to exemplary medical skills just by interviewing doctors and reading books and she is in charge of putting Marcus’ guts back in together and then we know he is a machine with a brain and a human heart. Meanwhile Batman insists that he jumps in the middle of the ocean and somehow manages to get into a submarine which is the command HQ of the resistance. We come across General Ashdown who is presumed to have taken charge after he retired form training Rico and gang in Starship Troopers. Anyway in the most absurd way  you can actually disclose a classified information we know that Skynet has published a list of prime targets  and teen age Dad Kyle and grown up son Connor are topping the list. They also inform him of some kill switch they found out. Obviously this turns out to be a conspiracy to eliminate all resistance leadership present and future at one go. What does Batman do about it ? he crashes some more helicopters,re-programs a moto terminator with a USB stick (yeah,reminds me the Staples catchphrase-“That was easy”)and rides it to work. Meanwhile Moon BloodGood with an implicit promise of revealing her Goods (one day) to Marcus,frees him and helps him escape. Marcus saves John and they together infiltrate Skynet Facility which strangely looks deserted and devoid of armies of robotic entities. Battle ensues and we see a naked austrian american governor again and finally in a well scripted move John is impaled with a steel rod/pipe/experimental mechano dong right through the heart. Marcus kills the T800 in a manner which would surely make the original Kyle Reese fret “That was Easy!” (OMG again !). John survives through the ordeal without a working heart, once again proving his super human bat like abilities and blows up everything for the lulz while being taken to a safe location in a helicopter-and for the first time in the movie the helicopter doesn’t crash ! Finally Marcus gives up his heart for Connor and the learned Vet performs a cattle surgery on John and replaces his heart. Pretty rich story isn’t it ?

Kate Brewster can treat both once the fun ends.. SERIOUSLY !

Kate Brewster can treat both once the fun ends.. SERIOUSLY !

Now the hard part. This movie had a director who had graduated from music videos to films like Charlie’s Angels. For a while the trailers combined with the re-edited NIN song suddenly was showing enough promise to make Cameron’s Terminator movies look bad. What I realise here after watching the entire movie is a music video director  is at his best on screen for the entire three minutes of a song he is directing. The trailers were 4 minutes long and that revealed pretty much the entire story.We will come to the analysis of the story a little later but it is imperative that I mention at this point that those three minutes of the music video look like a strawberry tart just because no one says anything,the director doesn’t have to concentrate too much on character development and you just need to arrange the sequence of actions or pelvic thrusts through skimpy clothes, piece after piece, one after another like LEGO blocks.LEGO is good to build a gun but that gun isn’t Gun enough to maintain law and order in a real life riot !

Yes Yes... I know its horrendous !

Yes Yes... I know its horrendous !

The story looks like it is a jumbled mess of LEGO blocks for a set destined to create a flawless depiction of a City but with a few important pieces missing.As a result the jumble is still there-the city to be lies inside there somewhere but it is impossible to construct given that the important blocks have gone missing. McG created a lot of speculations about Terminator Salvation’s ending.And we all now know what it is now, but for a moment if we park the ending and try to look into the story arch which evolved to that ending we do not see an intelligent or innovative plot. Any screenwriting intern in Bollywood can write a script better than that if at all melodrama is the whole point. Now after the months of anticipation and sitting through the Terminator : Sarah Connor Chronicles I can safely say after watching this movie that Sarah Connor Chronicles was 1) Robot enough 2) Scary Enough 3) Innovative enough to crumple McG’s vision into a lump of used tissue and throw it in the toilet bin. Lets take a vital moment into consideration in the movie. John is just another survivor to the remnants of the army commands worldwide-no ones going to agree that he is the designated general of the resistance and he has to work his way up. People with years of careers in Army will never act according to a Civilian’s will. That part is so very right. But heres how McG handles it. John is pu$$ied around by his CO in the begining of the movie,CO gets blown to bits and John wants to meet the top commanders.As expected they refuse to honor his request and he barges in (we ignore the fact here that he did that after jumping off in the middle of a stormy ocean from a VTOL and finding the submarine and entering it-how i don’t know,because McG doesn’t know either).But strangely he is not arrested instead given out the most classified information . Later he ‘just’ asks other resistance pockets to follow his will and they simply agree. Now don’t you think we just missed the point HOW he became their leader ? I am sure destruction of the submarine wouldn’t have been the reason. So these ‘missing pieces’ are everywhere. Lets now see in contrast what happened in Terminator :Sarah Connor Chronicles and how it was far more innovative. The second season of the series concludes with John being transported along with the Garbage Terminator to the future ! See that ?? THATs  innovation-breaking the rules…..for the first time in the entire terminator timeline the characters travel to the future and they do it in style. And his arrival to the future is also very very strategic.He jumps his years and survives the judgement day-no one in the future knows who he is and what his history is, making him the perfect character for growth. Also given we see a young Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation, he could have paired up with the young John and the story would have been more concrete where we come to know how they beat the odds and how Kyle became John’s most trusted man. See its that easy – you do not need an external character like Marcus Wright to unite John and Kyle- they themselves can do it if the storywriters put some understanding into it.

Whaa... ???#@$!@#$ After all that effort I put up you say I wasnt even needed ????

Whaa... ???#@$!@#$ After all that effort I put up you say I wasn't even needed ????

Now coming to the fun part-blowing up stuff! Trust me theres a lot of it. Also nobody can complain about the  impeccable and nearly perfect action seen in the entire movie. Batman alone crashes almost all the helicopters in the entire movie save one and in every action sequence theres always something that blows up for no good reason. My only complaint here are the chase sequences. They should try to understand the fact that Matrix defined and set a career best in chase sequences.You can never beat that with sheer adrenaline. Wachaoski brothers have immortalized themselves there. Though,in terms of eye candy it was enjoyable and pretty innovative considering the mototerminators (read bike) chasing truck instead of the contrary we saw in Terminator 2. In one of my previous posts I have said that this guy was beginning to make terminator 2 look bad.Well I take it back. Terminator 4 is what Terminator 3 should have been;but it will never match up the depth of characters and natural integration to the storyline of Cameron’s masterpieces.  Also it never matches the horror of the utter unstoppability of a killer machine depicted by Cameron’s Terminators.Heck it doesn’t even match T-X from Terminator : Rise of the machines. I particularly remember Kristanna Loken as the vicious T-X killing that kid and his sis and of course the entire footage where she went to hunt future cattle surgeon Kate Brewster (Ahem ! apart from her unique ability to change her cup size at will) . The look on that poor Cat Owner’s face after she was shot god knows where is enough to reflect that terror. Also totally ignoring the presence of  Nick Stahl, it is safe to assume that the cyclotron chase sequence was also very very ROBOT. Sorry Mr. McG I do not feel scared by any of your terminators no matter how much you try to bring in the digital likeness of Arnie. However you were successful in scaring me with the incessant howling by all the  main characters whenever it was necessary to actually deliver some intelligent and well written dialogues .

Stop pointing fingers dude x( We had very high hopes on you !!!!

Stop pointing fingers dude #@$@#$ We had very high hopes on you !!!!

Also here is this issue of inert characters.IMHO Christian Bale got the maximum exposure while whatever there was left was shared between Sam Worthington and Anton Yeltchin. And hilariously this movie was supposed to be about the later duo 😀 . Rest of the characters were there just to populate the screen and yes Kate was ONLY needed to perform the cattle surgery on John-nothing else. Sam was good and he was impressive and so was Anton. But three characters never can steer a movie to success particularly if the balance of exposure is not done thoughtfully.Theres this central theme here that everyone deserves a second chance-but my guess it has more to do with McG making another followup to this fest of CG-effect heavy blastorgasm than finishing the job in hand properly. May be in his next chance where he dreams to bring Batman John Connor back in Gotham City London (OMFG), he can actually prove something but for now I would consider Terminator Salvation to be an Epic Fail from the perspective of a true terminator fan no matter how much money it rakes in internationally.

Like I said : EPIC FAIL!

Like I said : EPIC FAIL!

A major saving grace was the CG cameo of Arnie.However I fail to understand why he was made to look so big like he was more than 8 feet tall. Arnie is supposed to be a prototype T800 which is expected to mix into the human crowd and assassinate targets as and when necessary-not to scare them away. A human being with so much girth and height is an absolute stand-out-of-the-crowd candidate totally nullifying its purpose of infiltration. And also showing huge moobs without any relevance only excites the gay crowd- not the terminator fans.

Like I said.............see the shocked child on your left corner ?

.............see the shocked child on your left corner ?

I am going to follow up this post with a few sequels since as I said in the beginning theres so much to write. Please stay tuned.

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  1. irwingd
    June 28, 2009 at 4:55 am

    pretty good write up. I saw Transformers 2 week after T4,much better movie,even if it is a Micheal Bay one

  2. September 19, 2009 at 12:58 am

    Very cool review. Nice job !!!!

    Terminator is not only a sci-fi. I think Terminator serie is a anticipation concept. One of these days. Before the end of this century .Some armys of the world will operate real war cyborgs and robots.

    Politicaly correct because no more human lost ….

    For me The Terminator movie has been a revelation !!!

    Me i very liked the Terminator Salvation movie . Non stop Action !!! Yes the story is not very elaborate but the action scenes are perfect for me !! If you like special effects this movie is for you !!!

    You can visit the TERMINATOR MUSEUM here:

    http://www.myfantasyweb.com/terminator/terminator.html

    Full of wallpapers, screenshots,action figures,soundtracks and movies

    Some Terminator Salvation trailers:




  1. July 4, 2009 at 3:34 pm

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