Terminator Salvation

“Terminator Salvation” was not half bad.

I mean that literally; it’s not a great movie, but I really enjoyed about half of it, which is more than I can say for “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.”

The film opens with a man on death row, Marcus (Sam Worthington); he murdered his brother and a dying scientist Dr. Serena Kogan (in a superb bit of casting, Helena Bonham Carter) convinces him to donate his body to science.

He dies…and some years later, its 2018. The machines have taken over the world, but a scrappy band of resistance fighters, including one John Connor (Christian Bale) are still fighting the good fight to defeat Skynet and take back their planet.

The Resistance finds a Skynet base, and while they are attempting to download some data and rescue some prisoners, Skynet strikes. John Connor is the only survivor, but out of the wreck comes Marcus; he’s a bit confused, but once he meets up with a young Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and a mute girl Star (Jadagrace), he gets a better handle on the history he’s missed and what is out there.

Along the way, both main characters encounter a lot of baddies, lots of things are blown up, and we get to see just how screwed humanity is in this world gone mad. The audience is fairly immersed in this post-apocalyptic world, but like the other films in this series, the action scenes just really bored me.

I really liked Marcus’s journey and while I knew his secret, it’s interesting to see how the other characters, including Marcus, react to this not-quite human. That was the half I liked; the endless stretches of CGI monster battles and Connor brooding at times made the film a chore rather than a joy.

The Terminator franchise has always lived and died on the special effects, and while they have always been phenomenal, watching things explode for twenty minutes is not my idea of fun movie watching. A lot of the sequences were, I suspect, an homage to previous films, but they mostly came off as derivative. Maybe if you’ve seen one Terminator smackdown, you’ve seen them all.

I liked Marcus and his storyline enough to keep watching, but I can’t really recommend the film. It was better than “T3,” but so are a lot of movies. Who knows, maybe I’m just still bitter about “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” getting axed; as much I liked Marcus, I’d much rather see more of that than another movie.

“Terminator Salvation”

Written by John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris

Directed by McG

Starring: Chrisitan Bale (John Connor)
Sam Worthington (Marcus Wright)

Anton Yelchin (Kyle Reese)