johnlink ranks TERMINATOR SALVATION (2009)

My July of blandly-received films continues! This time, we have the fourth TERMINATOR film. And this one comes in a little differently for me, since I was rooting against it a bit myself. See, I hate McG a lot. Any director willing to give himself a nickname, and then credit himself using it, doesn’t deserve much praise. And looking at his resume, what has he actually done to deserve any credit? But, alas, I must be fair and try to arrive at this film with no bias.

I watched TERMINATOR SALVATION (2009) on 7.24.10. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

My immediate reaction after finishing the film was “Hey, that wasn’t so bad.” And, really it wasn’t. On a straight entertainment level, the film mostly succeeds in creating intensity and nice action pieces. The battles were crisp, the effects were solid, and the movie is certainly a roller coaster ride of fun.

The problem is that the first two Termiantors were that and more. The third is not nearly as memorable, mostly for its lack of emotion AND great fun. This new installment falls somewhere in the middle. It is no classic, as the first two are, but it is a highly watchable movie which has enough moving parts to keep its momentum flying.

Some of the problem is McG. While the outdoor daytime stuff looks great (though that’s not the Skynet future I remember), the nighttime and interior stuff feels extremely artificial and set-dressed. The infamous Christian Bale rant would have you believe that he was performing the climactic scene from King Lear, rather than a big summer movie. However, there is very little emotion here. There should be. The set-up is there. The conclusion actually mirrors the conclusion to the second one fairly closely. But McG either can’t or won’t delve into any kind of emotional film making. It feels like the payoff moments are left on the editing room floor.

What McG did do well is create these monster action sequences which keep your heart pumping. The scene where the giant Terminator attacks a small colony of people who are being visited by Kyle Reese is particularly thrilling. I just wish the dots were better connected.

Sam Worthington is solid in this, though he continues that phenomenon of playing a role he will later mimic in a following movie. His character here is not unlike his character in AVATAR. The final scene is, in many ways, a direct copy. This happened with Leonardo DiCaprio recently with SHUTTER ISLAND and INCEPTION. It doesn’t necessarily take away from any of the above mentioned movies, it is just an interesting event that seems to be taking place as less of a variety of films get produced these days.

All in all, this is a decent enough movie to watch again, though I would generally choose the first two before the fourth. I’m glad I saw it, even if it means I have to admit McG made a half decent film, or at the very least, one that is fun.





~ by johnlink00 on July 25, 2010.

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