Movie Monday: Terminator Salvation

25 05 2009
Pictured: The most boring Terminator Ive ever seen.

Pictured: The most boring Terminator I've ever seen.

So, like with Star Trek, I went to a Wednesday preview showing of Terminator Salvation, and like most Terminator fans, I was salivating for Salvation. Then the movie started. As always, if you don’t want spoilers, just avoid the green paragraphs.

This movie sucked. I can actually say with certainty that the only real enjoyment I found in the first two-thirds of the movie came from me and a friend mocking Christian Bale every time he said anything. Every time John Conner said anything, we added how it was distracting, and how he and that actor/robot/vehicle were done, professionally.

(For the two people who didn’t get that joke, it’s about Bale yelling at a guy for walking in his light and being, in his words, “@#$%^%ing distracting.” It also spurred a five minute yelling session from the angry crybaby actor. Youtube “Christian Bale freak out.”)

Not that John Conner was the main character. Yup, you heard right. The previews have lied to you. The main character is the interesting, yet totally gypped, due to editing, Marcus. That being said…

The entirety of the first half of the movie is terribly predictable. From the very first shot, I predicted a majority of the movie. With proper editing, the movie’s suspense could have been top notch and the plot could have actually flowed. An hour in, I actually nearly fell asleep and asked my girlfriend if she was just as bored as I was. She was. Now, time for the spoilers.

In the first scene, we learn about a guy on death row who sells his body to Dynacorp, so we are instantly like, Terminator, lulz. If that wasn’t enough, we then see him emerging from a burning Skynet tower in Conner’s adult time. So, most everyone puts two and two together and realizes he’s a Terminator.

However, the movie then beats us over the head with it, making him do impossible things, time and time again. He hits a flying machine with a four-way and destroys it in a single hit, people break their fists on his face, he hits rocks at a couple hundred miles an hour to no damage. At this point, I’m yawning, knowing he’s a Terminator for an hour now, and THEN they play it off as some big shock, showing you his inner workings.

In addition, they overplay a hook on the back of a tow truck for the better part of five minutes, as well as a scene where the Terminator, named Marcus, is gunned down by the resistance, finally trying to make it seem cool that he suddenly shows battle damage.

Now, if the movie had started with Marcus yelling in a burning ruin, then the title, then his introduction and battle, underplaying his super-heroism, and then suddenly showed the flashback just before revealing his half-machine nature, it could have been really dramatic.

But those problems are passable, even if it IS a simple editing fix that could have saved the movie and made it interesting. The real two problems I had with the movie, that were BLOODY DISTRACTING, were the lack of a soundtrack and poor pacing.

The soundtrack was more than minimal. If I read the ending credits correctly, there were only FOUR SONGS. They play a Guns ‘n Roses Song for six seconds or so, as well as an Alice in Chains song for the same duration. In addition, they play (according to the credits) the theme from Terminator 1 and 2. They still released a soundtrack, but of the ten people I saw it with, no one remembers the songs playing during the movie even once past the opening credits. Also, for no reason, they say the title twice in the opening. Why? Who knows.

The pacing was bad. REALLY bad, going from a scene where someone was talking peacefully with a girl to INSTANT ACTION with no transition. No wipe, no music, just a scene switch that makes my highschool home movies look like gems.

Also, by the end of the movie, nothing has happened, at all.

They destroyed one Skynet tower, with hundreds left, or so they say, meaning NOTHING HAPPENED. In fact, the only enjoyable part was the Arnold impersonator showing up near the end and the final fight sequence.

In the end, I feel like I spent 2 hours feeling like I had watched a boring 3 hour movie. Skip this nonsense.

GG gives this mess 3 / 10

(4 with Bale’s freak out lines inserted.)

Until next time guys, we’re done professionally. -GG

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4 responses

25 05 2009
Zasalamel

You grip over the predictable nature of this film, editing aside, stems more from the trailers than the film itself. There is no mystery going in here, unlike T2. Honestly, I think that is the point here, there is no mystery. We know this guys not what he thinks he is – its called dramatic irony. Many of the great works of theatre from antiquity use this to great effect. Using your logic as to how this movie should have been edited, Oedipus Rex would be just as, if not more, boring, because the whole story was known by its audiences – backwards and forwards.

As to the soundtrack, there is a difference between a SCORE and a SOUNDTRACK. you obviously have them confused. I agree that the T2 theme is under utilized (it is sampled/referenced), the score is fairly decent, though set back in the mix. That’s different and refreshing, every action sequence is bigger without being mixed too loud. Besides, who the hell would still be making music after Judgment Day if music alerts Terminators? Who plays music on the radio if music alerts Terminators? Soundtracks are a collection of songs that (supposedly) inflect the mood/tone/scenes/themes of the movie – they often times include music NO WHERE in the film. Besides, music budgets for movies are small, and the songs that are in the film are not cheap.

Finally, I totally agree with you on Christian Bale.

That is all, have a nice day, my friend. XD

26 05 2009
glitchygoblin

You have a point. I apparently meant Score. I do think it being up in the mix would bring more flavor to the slower, more monotonous scenes.

As for the dramatic irony, if that’s what they were going for, I still wasn’t entertained by it… I found it sluggish. So, if they were going for that, they should have picked up the pace, IMO. As for the trailers, I only saw them once of twice. In fact, I saw them so INfrequently, I actually thought part of the movie was from a Transformers 2 trailer I had seen.

It didn’t help that the robots looked exactly like the bayformers in some ways. XD

26 05 2009
Niko

I tend to agree with Chris on this one. Predictability, to me, doesn’t mean bad Nice Oedipus example, by the way Chris).

I thought that this movie was somewhere between ok and decent. It did what it set out to do, and it was a fairly enjoyable experience, but it’s not necessarily a good movie. I could tell that Marcus was more of a main character than John, but not too terribly much more, and I thought the editing reflected that.

As for the score, I was fine with the lack of music. I like action scenes with that hyper-sensory experience that focuses the audio onto the particular sounds of actions, like cars speeding by, explosions and what not. I prefer to hear the action than a song. I think they had music where they needed it.

26 05 2009
glitchygoblin

That’s your opinion, but I thought the action was lacking in points, to the point where I was falling asleep.

Music could have added to the experience, that’s my point.

You can say you don’t like lettuce on your sandwich, that you like to taste the meat, but even still, that sandwich would be dull, IMO.

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