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Terminator Salvation

Terminator: Salvation

How is it possible McG continues to get these huge directorial movie projects? I’ll tell you – he is capable of making the trains run on time, but not much else. He has no vision, discernible style, wit or knows how to get much out of his actors. Whenever I watch one of his films, I think of this scene in Jay and Silent Bob Strikes back where Matt Damon is doing a sequel to Good Will Hunting and he asks the director how he should do a scene and the camera cuts to the Director saying “Just do it however you want to,” while he counts his piles of cash. Terminator Salvation is one soulless endeavor.

A lot of this is the fault of a bad script combined with lazy direction, but I also am officially sort of fed up with the entire franchise and how it treats time-travel.  It’s the saga’s magic bullet that solves – or muddles everything. They have used it so much that I just no longer care about anything that happens in this Universe and there seems to be no consequences to them using it other than nothing major ever seems to change. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles television show made me care again, but they canceled that and this movie has nothing to do with the events of that, so again nothing matters.
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The most impressive thing about Terminator Salvation is that it features only one character who actually earns our emotional engagement – and it’s not John Connor [Christian Bale using his Bat-voice]. Neither is it sweet, mute, cute, black girl Star [Jadagrace], a kindergarten-aged child who is so obviously planted to manipulate our emotions that the strategy fails, miserably; nor is it Connor’s pregnant wife Kate [Bryce Dallas Howard] whose worries about her husband are so underwritten that the character feels more like an add-on than someone from the original story. It’s not even Moon Bloodgood’s Blair, who follows her heart when it comes to dealing with the character who does earn our involvement, Marcus [Sam Worthington].

John & Marcus

Y’see, we meet Marcus in 2003, just before he’s about to be executed for murder – and Dr. Serena Kogan [Helena Bonham Carter], who is dying of cancer, persuades him to donate his body to science by allowing him a kiss [“That’s what death tastes like,” he notes]. When he awakens, it’s in a desolate 2018 and he makes the mistake of attracting the attention of a T-600 – fooled by its bipedal appearance. He is saved by the teenaged Kyle Reese [Anton Yelchin] who exists, plot-wise, only to provide Marcus with directions and Skynet with bait to lure Connor to his death.

Other than Marcus, the human characters are of the “insert tab A into slot B” variety. Connor is one-note and utterly lacking in any real charm, or charisma; Star is but a blatant manipulation by the writers [who also wrote the disastrous T3]; Blair exists, primarily to convince us that Marcus is human; Kate is there to make think that John Connor can actually care about anything other than beating Skynet. Even the submarine-based Command exists only to make Connor look real – despite some vintage mugging by the extremely ill-used Michael Ironside.

The real star of the film the half-human cyborg, Marcus [which you probably figured out from the trailer]. Outside of Worthington, the movie’s real stars are, as in T3, the machines – and even then, all the quality FX in the world can‘t give them any sense of real intelligence. In The Terminator, and T2, the back and forth between humans and machines seemed like a game of Risk – each move was made within the structure of a plan. Move and countermove. In T3 and Salvation, there’s none of that. As good as look onscreen, the machines of Skynet are random and chaotic.

Even worse, for all its technical skill and well-executed action sequences, Salvation is a machine on virtually every level – excepting Marcus, who is not only engaging, but actually provides the film with its only genuine moment poignancy [if you see Salvation, you know it when you see it].

Sadly, for all its budget and high-powered cast, Salvation is little better than an empty, soulless, but well-made B-movie – which places it in the company of other beautifully made misfires like Max Payne and Punisher: War Zone. This series should died with T2 – and more people should have watched the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series, which honored those movies and built upon them.

Final Grade: D+

EM Review by Sheldon Wiebe

Posted on May 23, 2009

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Marcus Wright, a death row inmate, is about to die when he is visited by a physician dying of cancer. She offers him a second chance of life if he donates his body to science. He was skeptical at first but decides to taste death and signs his life away.

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Fast forward to Los Angeles in the year of 2018. The human race is very sparse and we are fighting a war against the machines. Enter John Connor who was part of the resistance when his team was killed while finding information on a new type of Terminator. He is suddenly a leader trying to stop the war from going any further.  Marcus finally awoke from his coma to discover that everything he knew was gone. He runs into a young Kyle Reese & a young girl who were hiding from a Terminator. Then they intersect a radio broadcast from John Connor who is asking all in the resistance to continue the fight against the machines and to survive.

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terminator-salvation

By the year 2018, the war between man and machines will be full throttle (no McG pun intended). As the humans band together and form the resistance, one of their foremost leaders is John Connor, a man who has been fighting in this war since before he was born. This is where Terminator Salvation, the fourth installment of the franchise, launches from.

The reviews for this movie are going to be incredibly polarized. Some are going to enjoy it immensely while others will decry it for ruining James Cameron’s science fiction classics. I’ve already an amazing amount of articles saying it’s the worst movie ever, and others that talk about how well crafted it is.
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I have to say I’m looking more forward to playing the Terminator: Salvation video game than I am to see the movie. The game trailer has all the cool moments and classic terminator music that’s missing from the movie trailer. Check it out.

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Terminator Salvation – New 4 Minute Clip

Terminator Salvation

Release Date – May 21, 2009

The highly anticipated new installment of “The Terminator” film franchise is set in post-apocalyptic 2018. John Connor is the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. There’s a new 4 minute clip at Apple Movie Trailers.  I stand by my original comments from a few weeks ago, I’ve seen nothing from this movie that makes me excited to see it. Will I like it once I do? Most likely, yes. But as of now, this looks like yet another lazy, “visionless” effort from hack director McG.  The movie has Christian Bale, but from what little I’ve seen, it seems like he’s overacting a bit and the Batman voice isn’t working for me.  Here’s another 2 minute clip.

Fame 2009 – Teaser Trailer

fame

Release Date – September

A few weeks ago I was thinking about “If there were any movies that had a material impact on my life?” For the life of me I couldn’t think of a single one. I don’t take this stuff that seriously. But when I saw the Fame trailer, it dawned on me that the film that really had an “impact” on me was the Fame television show – not so much the movie.  I was in Choir, Band and Played Piano from Elementary School all the way to my first year of College. Fame made being a musician and in a band cool not an activity for “nerds and outcasts.”  My high school was unique in that we really didn’t truly defined cliques. Everyone sort of cross pollinated with the Band being a common ground. So we had folks from Cheerleading, the Sports Teams, Year Book, etc. All taking part and I think the popularity of Fame had a lot to do with that.  I even applied to Berkley College of Music because of Fame. With that said, I had no opinion regarding the idea of remaking Fame. Actually, it seems like a pretty simple concept to update and make it “relevant” for today’s kids. Especially when State governments are cutting school music programs – it could be even more important and used to highlight how important it is to keep them.

The first trailer for the Fame 2009 movie hit the nets a few weeks ago and it’s the anti-trailer.  It looks horrible and boring. Where’s the excitement, the sense of urgency, the “I gotta make it” feeling from the original movie? Where’s Debbie Allen when we need her? It’s all missing from this trailer. For a movie I didn’t care about prior to seeing the trailer, I now find myself a little upset at how crummy it is.  I do LOVE the opening moments of Out Here on my Own (a song I used to know how to play on the Piano), but then it switches to this GOD AWFUL Ska (?) version of the iconic Fame theme song. Just HORRID. Here’s the trailer.

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Today isn’t the last day of spring – at least, not according to the calendar. For movies, though, it’s another story. I’m not exactly certain when May became “spring” for movies, but it’s a fairly recent development. What marks the season is the first in an onslaught of blockbuster, tentpole movies that all the major studios have scheduled to make the most of their favored demographic’s spring break/summer vacations.

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Most movie writers/critics have already listed the films they especially want to see, or expect to do boffo box office – and last week, our own Michelle Alexandria went against the grain by listing the movies she was least desirous of screening. After much consideration, I’ve decided to split the difference and have compiled a list of the five films I am most looking forward to – and the five I most wish to avoid at all costs [not that I necessarily will – such is life for film writers...].

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