A need for a movie "Terminator"

May 27, 2009, midnight | By Jenna Bushnell | 12 years, 6 months ago

This film requires much "Salvation"

It's hard to know where "Terminator Salvation" falls on post-apocalyptic man versus highly-intelligent machines movie spectrum. On one hand (in this case it would be a sturdy metal appendage), this flick capitalizes on the advancements in Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) technology and brilliantly uses them to depict an ominous planet earth that is being terrorized by robots. On the other hand, though, its sloppy plot, pointless characters and melodramatic script drag the movie down to mediocrity.

"Terminator Salvation" is both a prequel and sequel to the three respective "Terminator" movies that precede it. The film mostly takes place in post-apocalyptic California in 2018 and follows a battle between a coalition of super-computers called Skynet and earth's last humans that oppose them who call themselves the resistance. The film's protagonist, John Connor (Christian Bale) has traveled back in time to protect his father from being murdered by the robots that are bent on killing the entire human race. Along for the ride is Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a death row inmate who is resurrected years after being executed because he donated his body to science. As the war ensues, the two, along with others in the cause, have difficulty resisting Skynet's tricks and treachery.

It's a shame that the filmmakers even bothered to include dialogue in this movie because it only worked to overcomplicate the plot. The value of "Terminator Salvation" comes from the exciting action scenes where Bale and others blow up and crush robots in efforts to defend the human race. The talking, unfortunately, detracts from this by adding confusing elements. If viewers think too hard about how John Connor would be able to travel back in time to prevent his father's death or why Marcus Wright came back to life only after an explosion, their brains might blow up as well.

In addition to the shoddy plot, the myriad of corny one-liners drags this dud even further down. While fans of the old movie might expect a Schwarzenegger-like homage to "I'll be back," instead, the film was rife with meager attempts at profundity. That, paired with poor acting, threw the movie off course even more.

Also disappointing was the film's star. Bale was extremely perplexed and dull in his role as Connor. Perhaps exemplary of his one-sided acting abilities, Bale grimaced and touted around in a similar fashion to the way he acted in the "Batman" movies.

If being bombarded by explosions and wild robot attacks were not enough, the film also included biblical allusions. Yes, that's right, "Terminator Salvation" is an allegory. This analogy is based around Marcus Wright and is initially apparent in the opening scene where he is executed while he is standing up and is attached to a cross-like table. Wright is then resurrected and goes on to act even more like a deity as the movie progresses. It continues as the protagonists make their way through the literal "valley of death."

If viewer's heads don't spin by the end of this movie, their resilience should be applauded. This movie fails because it tries too hard to be something it's not. It would have been a much better use of time to create series of montages of robots blowing up for under two hours. Don't bother to see "Terminator" unless "Star Trek" is sold out.

Jenna Bushnell. Jenna Bushnell likes sunshine and funfetti cupcakes. In her free time she enjoys excavating ancient Mayan temples, choreographing classic Broadway revivals, and smiling at strangers. For the right price, she will recite all of the words to "Rock Yo Hips" by Crime Mob. More »

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