SMSM ’09 No. 12: Terminator Salvation

June 24, 2009

terminator salvation

 Even by dumb action movie standards, Terminator Salvation is an extraordinarily stupid film. Maybe not as dumb or unnecessary as Wolverine, but not far behind on that scale. In fact, Wolverine provides a nice parallel to this fourth installment in the Terminator franchise. Both focus on their main character in a far different context than they’ve ever been seen before. Both follow in the wake of unnecessary adaptations that have diminished the value of their franchises. Both are mind numbingly stupid.

Salvation introduces Christian Bale (who had his infamous meltdown during filming) as a grown up John Connor, an officer in the resistance against the machines who are seeking to eradicate humanity. For a film series that has had its share of complicated timeline issues, Salvation doesn’t help in clearing up any discrepancies, instead focusing on a standalone story about an assault to be mounted against the machines’ Skynet headquarters. Connor’s young father (played by Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin) and a heretofore cryogenically frozen executed murderer (Sam Worthington) gather to join in the fight.

Still with me?

The problem with Salvation is that, through McG’s commitment to robot bombast (which is steadfast), the franchise loses the meta-commentary on human interaction with technology that was present in the original, and in the brilliant first sequel. This version’s machines are big and dumb, just like the humans. So who’s the good guy?

Film: Terminator Salvation
Director: McG
Stars: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Common, Helena Bonham Carter

Viewing situation: Weekday matinee, medium crowd; digital projection
My grade (out of 10): 3
Rotten Tomatoes average: 33%

Next up: Land of the Lost

Summer Movie Suicide Mission ’09: Seeing them all, all summer long. Follow Summer Movie Suicide Mission on Twitter: @SMSM09.

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