After spending hours battling with the devastating reviews given to the new Terminator Salvation film, I actually went and saw the film for myself. And I’m glad I did. (Spoilers ahead!)Let me be straight up about this: if you go to see Terminator expecting to see a clever, engaging piece of art, you’re looking in the wrong place. If you’re looking for a logical movie that always makes sense, you’re looking in the wrong place. If, however, you’re after a relatively enjoyable 90 minutes or so watching robots blow shit up trying to kill humans and humans blowing shit up trying to kill robots, then this is definitely the movie for you.
This is Terminator. It’s not supposed to make a hell of a lot of sense. The paradoxes of time travel – which was one of the main issues in the first three films, is but a passing thought in this film. There’s no sending people (or robots) back in time to kill either Sarah or John Connor. There’s only war, and the hope of ending it, that drives this film.
Don’t get me wrong – there are a lot of things in the film that seem stupid, just like Matt pointed out. Like how the T800, instead of just killing John Connor in a one on one battle, decides to just keep trying to throw him against walls. Or the fact that the same robot can kill Marcus, a weird Terminator/human hybrid, just by punching him the heart. But that’s not the point. In T2, why is it that even though an entire truck full of liquid nitrogen crashes into a smelting factory, nobody calls the police or fire department? In T3, the TX fricken controls regular cars via some hacking remote control system, even though that’s not possible in any kind of reality. The point is that stupid, ridiculous leaps in logic are a part of the Terminator series.
Truth be told, the script could have been a lot tighter. Christian Bale grew on me as John Connor, despite his gravelly Batman voice in the early part of the film. Sam Worthington did a good job – I actually wanted to see him succeed and kick even more ass than he did, and I totally believed that he was a hybrid machine who thought he was human. The film’s ending was a bit cheesy, but so’s the idea that robots can be sent back through time.
Terminator Salvation isn’t going to win any Oscars. There’s no ‘Heath Ledger’ performance that stands out as a moment of complete brilliance. But the special effects are amazing, the plot works as well as it can and the action is pretty much non stop. If you spend too much time analysing the reality of a movie so set in an unreal world, then you’re never going to enjoy the film. Which is a shame, because it is enjoyable.
And contrary to what Mark said in his review, it shits all over T3.