Good news, everyone! Terminator 4 might not suck. I can't know for sure without actually seeing the film, but I do have a good feeling about it, having flown to New Mexico a few months back to explore various hot, dusty sets and meet cast and crew.
The three themes I heard over and over during my set visit were "Batman," "Macs," and "T3 sucked." It was like attending some strange but beautiful techno-mass that was worshipping Gizmodo's own holy trinity.
"In the same way Warner Bros. took Batman and really turned the franchise on its head and made it really dark and really cool, we're going through the same whirl with our Terminators," production designer Martin Laing explained to us in front of a wall of concept art.
He showed us robots, lots of them. But unlike the slick and crafty T1000, these machines are constructed of dark, dirty alloys. They're big. They're bad. And they're driven by crude mechanics like pistons. The T600, a completely new, Frankenstein-ian Terminator is evidence of this trend. Standing over seven feet tall and modelled to be the product of a Soviet tank factory, the T600 has a blatant disregard for personal grooming as his rubber skin cracks away in the desert heat. He makes the Schwarzenegger T800 look like a sleek sports car, a fitness model... a politician.
"Imagine your first Mac," director McG explains later over the bounties of the crafts services. (That's movie-talk for free food.) "You had a IIcx. You had two megs of memory. And now you have a MacBook Air. It's leaner, faster. Technology is more and more space efficient and that's the language we've been following with the machine development."
Indeed, McG and Laing both mentioned Macs and Batman, an unlikely combination that makes a whole lot of sense in terms of SkyNet's learning curve in eradicating the human race, especially as I inspect the giant exoskeletons, the retrofitted robotic motorcycles, and the huge bulldozer-esque people "Harvests."
This is the post-apocalyptic Terminator Salvation world we have to look forward to, one that's crude and imperfect—not just unpolished, but smeared in a deep mixture of oil and dirt.
"Anybody can flap their lips and say that this is going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread," McG admits. "All I know is that Bale doesn't fuck around—he's already Bruce Wayne, he doesn't need to be John Connor."
That's pretty much all I can say for now, but rest assured you'll hear more from my visit later on.