Sunday, June 7, 2009

Terminator Salvation

Warning-- Spoilers!

I have a few movie franchises that I am a huge fan of, and follow religiously. Terminator is one of them. I watched "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (yes, I was one of the five, apparently) and liked it. I still have my Cyberdine polo shirt from the Universal Studios gift shop (where I had a treasured copy of the "full" version of T2 on VHS until the greedy bastards released it on DVD so you didn't have to trek to Florida to buy the footage).

Let us say I am a fan of the Terminator franchise.

I went into Terminator Salvation with low expectations. Rotten Tomatoes has it as 33% fresh as of this writing. Aint It Cool News has not been kind to it. I was prepared to be very disappointed.

But, you know what? I actually liked it. A lot.

I liked the post-Apocalyptic world. I liked the plot line of Marcus, the robot-who-thinks-he's-a-real-boy. Even though it was painfully obvious, it was interesting to watch it play out. There were a whole lot of plot holes around an hour and a half into the movie, and I thought it was going to rank below T3 (which, if I may say, sucked ass). But then the movie turns around and throws a huge plot-twist in there, and lo! and behold all (well... most) of the plot holes were wrapped up and I turned to my wife and said "this movie just got 100% better".

The scenes where they map Schwartzenegger's face onto the T-800 was perfect. Absolutely perfect. They contrived to burn away his flesh before they could screw it up, but it was just beautifully done. Better than the clone troopers in Star Wars II and III. Bravo.

Which is not to say that there weren't a few things wrong with it.

The T-600's were just too obviously bulky in order to fit guys into suits. They looked terrible.

In the first movie, we are told that the Terminator is a "model 101". In T2 he was a T-800. I'd like an explanation, please. (For a non-canonical explanation, see the teaser trailer below.)

When John Connor sends out his broadcast to the resistance asking them to hold off on their attack on Skynet... didn't he just rat out the fact that they were planning an attack on Skynet? He was broadcasting in the clear...

Why didn't Skynet at least have some failsafe in Marcus? "Oh, I will control you with a chip in your head. DAMN! You plucked out the chip! All my plans are undone!" A global-spanning AI who is a bajillion times smarter than man can't think to put in a self-destruct into a prototype with a human brain?

Heart transplant surgery 15 years past the production of any advanced medical supplies in the middle of the desert in a field hospital? My credulity is strained. I saw it coming as soon as the T-800 impaled John Connor, since they made such a big deal about Marcus's heart, but really...

I liked many of the homages to the other movies. But for the love of the Gods, hearing "I'll be back" and then two seconds later "You Will Be Mine" by Guns 'n Roses was just too effing much. Yeah, we get it. Second movie. Very clever. Shut the eff up, newb!

Don't get me wrong. I liked this movie a lot. If you're at all a fan of the franchise, you'll get something out of it. It sure as hell beats the last one. Definitely worth the $11.

But yeesh, if only they'd let me make a movie, I'd do it *RIGHT*

Oh, and having said that, I would have made the T-800 factory just a little more like this: