D: McG. DP: Michael Fitzgerald & Shane Hurlburt. W: John D. Brancato & Michael Ferris. Starring: Christian Bale/Sam Worthington/Moon Bloodgood/Anton Yelchin/Bryce Dallas Howard/Common/Helena Bonham Carter.
Nothing rings in a new chapter in a blockbuster franchise better than an on-set rant by the lead actor towards his cinematographer. I repeat, nothing. It builds up hype about the actors performance, it reveals an on-set environment hardly anyone witness, and forces people to chat and scope out the film weeks and months in advance of it’s release. So bravo Mr. Bale, your little unprofessional hot flash has sold more seats than you could have imagined. But what will they think when they finally re-emerge from your John Conner journey?
Terminator: Salvation is set in that prophesied future that Sarah Conner and eventually her son, John, will learn about and have prepared for in the past three films. The original films, all basically chase films, revolve around a terminator from the future arriving in the past to warn/protect/save one of the Conners. However in this new film, we are now in that future (2018) with the grown up John (Bale) as he fights as part of the Resistance we have heard so much about. However, besides Bale’s military antics we are given the parallel storyline of Sam Worthington’s Marcus who finds himself in this future world, without memory. And it is this parallel between the man who knows everything about machines and the man who knows nothing, but is a machine that is the most compelling.
Besides this parallel the film is extremely loud, polished action film that, although has its moments where it references older films and iconic lines, stays on the surface of the emotional journeys of its characters. McG creates a believable, dark and decrepit 2018 that oozes and breathes the need for survival. However, Bale’s John, although fearless and inspirational, lacks any real depth as to why he is ‘chosen one’ on the leader path. His lack of questioning his destiny makes the film all too easy and give’s Worthington the weight in the film.
Other than Bale and Worthington, we are given little in character development, with Bale’s wife Kate (Howard) doing little but looking very pregnant and agreeing with him. Even spunky and independent Blair (Bloodgood) is ready to throw it all away for love, leaving the only women in film being nurturing mothers or risky lovers. Haven’t we learned from previous Terminator films that not all women to exist in the either maternal or sexual category? Can’t they be both and even take on the future of the world?
Besides obvious story flaws, Terminator: Salvation is still enjoyable and will satiate the appetite for more Skynet escapades. And just like in previous films, we are given great music, with Danny Elfman helming a soundtrack that brings the whole experience into gear. So strap on your seat belt, don’t insult the actor trying to do his job and get ready for some eardrum explosions.