Terminator Salvation (Minor Spoilers)

Posted: May 23, 2009 in Movies

Ever since I was a kid, the one movie I wanted to see was a Terminator movie set in the future.  Prior entries of the franchise showed only small peeks at the bleak future world, but we finally got our full length feature of the man machine war in Terminator Salvation.

It opens in an unexpectant direction, with death row convict Marcus Wright in 2003, who reluctantly agreeing to donate his organs. The audience is clued in that they are donated to Cyberdyne. (The scene looks a little awkward.)  Cut to 2018 where John Connor leads an attack on a machine base, uncovering a cell of imprisoned humans. Some of which are dead and had been experimented on, as Skynet is developing the T-800s which have a human disguise.

Next John goes back to base, and Marcus mysteriously emerges in what’s left of L.A. Suprisingly the movies action focuses more on him than on Connor, as he ends up meeting a teenage Kyle Reese, who has a tiny subplot involving earning the right to truly be in the resistance.

Meanwhile Connor becomes involved on what hopes will be a final assault on Skynet. He  is not necessarily the leader of the resistance, but a sort of prophet who seems to know a lot about the machines and their plans. (Through the tapes his mother left him, which we get to hear. We also see the photograph of Sarah Conner, taken in the first movie) Unlike previous entries, there’s actually a few plot twists as the action progresses, some more predictable than others. The third act appears to have a big plot hole, but I’m 90% sure it’s resolved by the climax.

I liked the cinemtography showing the barren dirty landscapes of the American west. It’s not the cool blue tinted color scheme like how the future was shown in T2, but more dusty and hot. Another difference is there are not laser weapons, rather regular guns are used by both humans and machines. There’s some nice cues from previous entries, and action scene with a truck, the line “Come with me if you want to live,” “No fate,” and “I’ll be back” is used, but that last one might make you groan. The song “You Could be Mine” from Guns and Roses is also used for a moment in a nice nod to T2. And in case you’re wondering….(SPOILER)……… we do get to see ahnold …

Also there’s no mention of time travel, the T-1000, or the Terminatrix. We do get to see how Connor does end up becoming the actual leader of the resistance, after he survives a hell of a wound at the end. Definitely leaves things open for a sequel.

It was cool to see some different kind of Terminators, including the T-600s that were mentioned in the first film. The action surprisingly slows down about half way through, and most of the action, especially at the end, should have been much more suspensful than it was.

Parts of this entry could have been fleshed out more, as we got to see more characters and relationships, and again the action could have been more suspensful. Like lots of these kinds of movies, it starts out well, but loses a little by the end. Three and a half stars.

P.S. I might be done with movies for the summer, since I’m refusing to see Transformers, and am boycotting G.I. Joe.

  1. Thanks Jim. I am a shameless fan of any and all futuristic sci-fi. Appreciate the time you took to write this. I don’t get to actually go to movies anymore (20 month old baby), but I will catch this one at home.

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