Monday, May 25, 2009
Movie Review: Terminator: Salvation
Everyone now knows that I quite wanted to see this movie
. :-) I saw it Friday night, and to tell you the truth it was pretty much everything I had hoped it to be.
I will forego a complete story backdrop for the Terminator series. This may make my review senseless, but I'm sure anyone can find enough information online if they really have to know. I decided to watch the Terminator movies for the sole purpose of being able to understand this one. I didn't like either of them much. Both were fairly unconvincing, the first one had a nude scene (:-O) and the second...I mean, c'mon, a liquid Terminator? :-/ Haven't tracked down T3 yet though. While I was very displeased with the nude scene, I do admit that the first film is quite integral to understand this new installment.
When a friend asked me what I liked best about the movie, I gave them four reasons:
1. Nonstop action
Perhaps a little much, but from the beginning to the end of the movie we have nonstop action. It is all excellently done, with bullets, guns and explosions being as common as fluffiness is in a romcom (more?). Battles between the machines and the humans are often very satisfying visually. The humans have something of a global resistance military (anything global creeps me out, but it's at least understandable in this fictional world). I was happy to see them using bullets instead of lasers like in the future sequences in T1 and T2. The resistance, often nothing more than small bands of humans attempting to survive (cue the survivalist aspect I like), fights against the machines and they fight hard. Besides the regular small, militiaesque groups we have a true military, and the viewer gets to see helicopters, A-10 Warthogs (a cool little dogfight was in order here), troops, and even a submarine. Quite good, all things considered.
2. The Machines
One of the major reasons I wanted to see this film, I was not disappointed in any way, shape, or form! While I like the Terminator machines themselves well enough (but please, without any human flesh--I don't buy cyborgs, personally), I was mostly excited with the other machines. My favorite had to be the motorcycles, as well as the HK (Hunter-Killer, basically an awesome hovercraft designed to destroy). We also get treated to a giant Harvester (designed to literally capture, or harvest humans) and what I can only describe to be a toothed eel (called a Hydrobot). We also see some other machines, including the somewhat dim-witted T-600 Terminators. All very, very satisfying and quite impressive! Very inspirational to a Lego builder like me...
3. The Apocalyptic Setting
...as was the APOCA feel. Bombed out buildings, deserted highways, the burning shells of automobiles, and everything else in between. All very appealing to my tastes. I mentioned the Lego aspect before, right? Well, I've already started to see Terminator MOCs just like I predicted. I loved the feel throughout the whole film. Very, very well done!
4. Christian Bale
I know, I know, it sounds stupid but I mean it. I know little about his personal life nor do I care really. I love how he did the Batman/Bruce Wayne role and I just plain like how he does those manly roles. I think he's a fantastic actor and he's one of my two favorites (the other being Jang Dong-Gun). He did an amazing job in the Batman movies, and although there was less room to "act" in this film, he did the job of John Connor, making him convincing, believable and our hero all at the same time.
Thankfully, the film has no sexual content, besides a few kisses, a low midriff on a woman who snuggles up against a man (claiming all she needs is body warmth...haha, yeah right), and an attempted rape (it never even gets far--the men are attacked in turn, booyah!).
An issue that can be seen in T2 is the concept of women in combat. True, Sarah Conner's case was a strange one, but this film took it to a new level. One of the main characters is a female pilot. While one can understand the position in such an apocalyptic world, once again this is a fictional scenario and women still cannot be in combat. Plain and simple. A little girl is also somewhat involved in the resistance, but her role appears to be less of a combat role and more of a surviving young member of the resistance.
A little language, yes, but I did not notice too much. The violence is high if you count action, but rather low if you are more thinking of blood and gore. Very little gore showed its face on the screen. Instead, we have bullets, explosions, and machines.
[WARNING: SPOILERS!] On a positive note, without divulging too much of the plot Connor stands against a huge amount of opposition from his superiors (who have it in mind to bomb the area) when he is adamant on saving the lives of countless captured humans.
A few words about the worldview. To understand my POV here I'm going to point my readers to my reviews of The Matrix and Reign of Fire. This film has a similar worldview which, in the end, I don't really agree with, at least in their execution of the consequences (machines take over the world, humanity is threatened, blah blah). While I dislike this aspect and also hate time travel in my movies, this film was still pretty good in my estimation.
When I said it was everything I'd hoped it to be, I meant what I had been thinking last summer during filming (and all that hubbub, *cough*ahem*cough*). Christian Bale's involvement signaled to me what had been done with the Batman series. They kept the necessary aspects even if silly (The cape, the ears, the Joker's face and Harvey's as well, etc.) and made the best of it. Terminator: Salvation took the unconvincing sci-fi, time travel storyline and, while not being able to completely ignore it, still made it much better--with one notable exception, however.
WARNING: SPOILERS!] In this film we are introduced to the character of Marcus. To cut a long story short he is nothing more than a true cyborg, a man turned into a machine. He still has his brain and his heart as well as his skin but his insides are all metal. Connor sees a machine and not a man, even though Marcus had no idea he was a machine until he is captured by the resistance. Another character, that same female combatant, sees a man and basically turns traitor to save him. As the film progresses, we learn that the woman was right, but nonetheless I wholeheartedly agree with Connor's initial reaction. The whole ethics of such a concept, how this can happen, how a soul can move to a hunk of metal from an original body (Because he had his original heart and brain?), etc. are questions I cannot answer nor do I find them worth too much consideration to put it quite frankly. I don't believe it will ever happen.
I found all of this much better than the evil Terminator turned benevolent bot, but still wasn't all too convinced.
So, not amazing, but it was as good as it could be considering its origins.