Friday, May 22, 2009

Terminator Salvation [2009]

I’m just going to warn you right up front – I love post-apocalyptic movies. That is if they are done right – which means I’m not going to jump out and say that I love Waterworld, The Postman or Battlefield Earth simply because they are post-apocalyptic films – because I don’t. That being said - Terminator Salvation – does it right.

Judgement Day has happened – it is now 2018 – and the world is in ruins. John Connor and an army of human fighters are locked in a battle of survival against the Skynet Terminator army. When Marcus Wright shows up on the scene – someone who’s last memory is being “terminated” on death row in 2003 – Connor and the Resistance are left struggling trying to determine which side he’s on.

Terminator Salvation is loud and in your face - with plenty of memorable action sequences. That’s not all it is though - it’s also a story about humanity. It’s about John Connor and struggling to save his own humanity by helping his father Kyle Reese. It’s also about Marcus Wright and his internal struggle to determine his own place in the world and the questions of his humanity.

Christian Bale plays John Connor with a lot of tension – but as we know from the franchise – he’s already got a lot to live up to. He doesn’t know what move to make in order to save humanity – but he’s been raised to believe that he’s the one who’s supposed to make that move. It’s also interesting to find his character being the one people look to – but also so low in the chain of command that he’s struggling to make the difference he feels forced to make.

Marcus Wright, played by Sam Worthington, is an incredibly interesting addition to the Terminator franchise. Worthington plays him adeptly with an amazing mixture of toughness and vulnerability – that both work towards the overall plot – and towards advancing the main theme. Anton Yelchin, as Kyle Reese, is also a welcomed addition – as it’s great to see more background on one of the best characters in the franchise – as well as giving us a hint of why Connor selected him for the all important mission in the first place.

I LOVED the “cameo” by “Arnold” – that was just geek-tastic! Speaking of geek-dom I found it particularly satisfying to see part of the evolution of the Terminator robot – with the obviously old beat-up clunker T-600’s patrolling around.

I find that I have very little negative to say about Terminator Salvation. There were a couple of things in the last act I wasn’t 100% happy with – but nothing major. One thing that did really irk me was that the film was obviously prepped for an “unrated” edition – as there were some odd edits that seemed like they skipped something of note. This phenomena of releasing an “unrated” edition DVD is one that I simply wish would end – it’s not like the DVD has hardcore porn that would in fact make the film “unrated” – or they take out a whole graphic bloody violent scene. There just seems like important discovery scenes missing – almost to the point the edits were jarring.

That all being said – I loved the movie – it was the kind of popcorn entertainment that makes the summer movie season worthwhile. There was tons of over the top action and it kept me entertained throughout. I give the film a full 5 out of 5 stars – but you weren’t surprised because I warned you and gave away the ending. Yes, like I said I’m biased towards post-apocalyptic films – and as I read all the negative reviews out there – I wonder where the other reviewers are coming from?

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