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Review: Terminator Salvation by Jamie
Review: Terminator: Salvation
Disclaimer: Spoilers have been avoided, where possible but some might have slipped out here and there.
Terminator: Salvation is a very difficult film to review. I can adequately judge whether or not it lived up to my expectations because, in all honestly, I’m not entirely sure what my expectations were. I knew going in that this would be substantially different than any other Terminator film, dealing as it does with the post-Judgement Day war rather than time travel, and so all the film really needed to do was show a few major battles between humans and robots and I probably would have been sated. Did the film deliver on this? Not quite.
The film does deliver on special effects, for the most part, with massive explosions, giant robots and the classic skeletal Terminators. There’s even an appearance from a CGI Arnie, a scene which I couldn’t help but smile at. There are massive explosions, robo-bikes and air raids galore but it seems to feel as though there’s much more show than substance here.
A great example of this is pretty much the whole first half of the movie. There’s plenty of action sequences with giant robots and flying machines but the whole thing seems boring. In fact, my biggest complaint about the film as a whole is that it seemed to take a damn long time to get into. Seriously, how do you fuck up so badly that you make robots blowing shit up boring?
Another thing that I’m not entirely sure how to feel about is the fact that neither John Connor or Kyle Reese are the main character in this film. That goes instead to a new character named Marcus Wright. Ok, so here comes a spoiler… kind of. To be honest if you haven’t worked this out fairly early on in the film for yourself then you’re a moron. Marcus is a cyborg. Human brain, human heart, robot/human hybrid nervous system and a Skynet chip attached to his brain. His storyline is basically the same one that we’ve seen in things like Battlestar Galactica and even, to some extent, Terminator 2, what does it mean to be human? Is it your birth/creation that defines you or is it your actions? It’s an interesting concept to be sure but it’s explored so much better in the previous two examples for one simple reason. Marcus Wright has a human brain ergo he’s a human. Simple as. Oh and is human heart, is a very strong, powerful heart. Trust me, that’ll be important later.
Marcus also brings about what is, in my opinion, the worst special effects in the film. Part of his face is blown away revealing the metallic skull beneath and it just looks shit. I can’t exactly place my finger on why but it looks so strange and unrealistic and far, far worse than similar effects in the first two films. I don’t understand why it was so difficult to pull it off. I guess it just goes to show yet again that sometimes physical effects are more effective in certain situations than computer-generated ones.
Christian Bale is pretty much Christian Bale in this, playing the part well though in some scenes he just seems to be going through the motions. Anton Yelchin is pretty good as Kyle Reese though he doesn’t really have that much to do past the halfway point of the film and, despite my general dislike for the character, Sam Worthington was pretty good as Marcus Wright. Perhaps the worst actor was Common who thankfully only had a small part. Seriously Hollywood, not all rappers need to become actors. In fact, I’d go so far as to say most of them don’t. Seriously.
So to sum up, first half fairly boring, picks up in the second. Story is pretty much lacking as is character development but it’s probably still better than you’re average summer blockbuster mindless action flick and I can pretty much guarantee you it’ll be better than Transformers 2.  At least I could tell what was going on during the action scenes (except for the opening one. That one seemed almost Bay-esque.) Overall I think it’s worth a watch just for the second half and CGI Arnie. That was pretty fucking awesome. Now I’ll finish this review with some minor gripes that’ll make much more sense once you’ve seen the film.
Ok, why do the Robo-Bikes have a USB port and why are they constructed so that someone would be able to ride them? Why is it that, despite it being a dark, grimy future everyone has impeccable teeth? How come a bunch of people can stand in the middle of SkyNet’s command post without being swarmed by Terminators? And why is it that John Connor doesn’t realise that if Kyle Reese is killed before being sent back in time, Judgement Day won’t happen? Sure John, you won’t be born but then a Terminator won’t be sent back in time to stop Kyle and Cyberdine will never find the chip and design SkyNet in the first place. Damn, Terminator time travel logic fucks my mind. Laterz.
Disclaimer: Spoilers have been avoided, where possible but sometimes, they just can’t be.

Terminator: Salvation is a very difficult film to review. I can adequately judge whether or not it lived up to my expectations because, in all honestly, I’m not entirely sure what my expectations were. I knew going in that this would be substantially different than any other Terminator film, dealing as it does with the post-Judgement Day war rather than time travel, and so all the film really needed to do was show a few major battles between humans and robots and I probably would have been sated. Did the film deliver on this? Not quite.

The film does deliver on special effects, for the most part, with massive explosions, giant robots and the classic skeletal Terminators. There’s even an appearance from a CGI Arnie, a scene which I couldn’t help but smile at. There are massive explosions, robo-bikes and air raids galore but it seems to feel as though there’s much more show than substance here.

A great example of this is pretty much the whole first half of the movie. There’s plenty of action sequences with giant robots and flying machines but the whole thing seems boring. In fact, my biggest complaint about the film as a whole is that it seemed to take a damn long time to get into. Seriously, how do you fuck up so badly that you make robots blowing shit up boring?

Another thing that I’m not entirely sure how to feel about is the fact that neither John Connor or Kyle Reese are the main character in this film. That goes instead to a new character named Marcus Wright. Ok, so here comes a spoiler… kind of. To be honest if you haven’t worked this out fairly early on in the film for yourself then you’re a moron.

Marcus is a cyborg. Human brain, human heart, robot/human hybrid nervous system and a Skynet chip attached to his brain. His storyline is basically the same one that we’ve seen in things like Battlestar Galactica and even, to some extent, Terminator 2, what does it mean to be human? Is it your birth/creation that defines you or is it your actions? It’s an interesting concept to be sure but it’s explored so much better in the previous two examples for one simple reason. Marcus Wright has a human brain ergo he’s a human. Simple as. Oh and is human heart, is a very strong, powerful heart. Trust me, that’ll be important later.

Marcus also brings about what is, in my opinion, the worst special effects in the film. Part of his face is blown away revealing the metallic skull beneath and it just looks shit. I can’t exactly place my finger on why but it looks so strange and unrealistic and far, far worse than similar effects in the first two films. I don’t understand why it was so difficult to pull it off. I guess it just goes to show yet again that sometimes physical effects are more effective in certain situations than computer-generated ones.

Christian Bale is pretty much Christian Bale in this, playing the part well though in some scenes he just seems to be going through the motions. Anton Yelchin is pretty good as Kyle Reese though he doesn’t really have that much to do past the halfway point of the film and, despite my general dislike for the character, Sam Worthington was pretty good as Marcus Wright. Perhaps the worst actor was Common who thankfully only had a small part. Seriously Hollywood, not all rappers need to become actors. In fact, I’d go so far as to say most of them don’t. Seriously.

There are some good things to be said for this film though, paticularly in the second half. Things really begin to pick up and the T-800 series of Terminators is finally brought to life. I also really like the previous model, the T-600’s who seem to ahve rotting or melted flesh on their metal skull. They are also a little bulkier than their sleeker brothers and lumbering killer robots are always cool. There’s also some nice nods to previous films such as utterances of classic lines like “Come with me if you want to live,” and “I’ll be back”, the afforementioned CGI Arnie and a brief snippet of “You Could Be Mine” by Guns N’ Roses. Very nice.

So to sum up, first half fairly boring, picks up in the second. Story is pretty much lacking as is character development but it’s probably still better than you’re average summer blockbuster mindless action flick and I can pretty much guarantee you it’ll be better than Transformers 2.  At least I could tell what was going on during the action scenes (except for the opening one. That one seemed almost Bay-esque.) Overall I think it’s worth a watch just for the second half and CGI Arnie. That was pretty fucking awesome. Oh, and it’s still better than Terminator 3.  Now I’ll finish this review with some minor gripes that’ll make much more sense once you’ve seen the film.

Ok, why do the Robo-Bikes have a USB port and why are they constructed so that someone would be able to ride them? Why is it that, despite it being a dark, grimy future everyone has impeccable teeth? How come a bunch of people can stand in the middle of SkyNet’s command post without being swarmed by Terminators? Where the fuck were the skeleton strewn streets that we’d seen in previous Terminator films? And why is it that John Connor doesn’t realise that if Kyle Reese is killed before being sent back in time, Judgement Day won’t happen? Sure John, you won’t be born but then a Terminator won’t be sent back in time to stop Kyle and Cyberdine will never find the chip and design SkyNet in the first place. Damn, Terminator time travel logic fucks my mind. Laterz.




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