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Feigning normality since 1973

Thursday Night Movie: Terminator: Salvation

Filed in: TV & Movies.

Since it's still over a week until Revenge of the Fallen, I decided to go and see Terminator: Salvation. Unlike the previous three films in the series, this one totally eshews the use of time travel in favour of depicting a post-Judgement Day America under the grip of Skynet. While it succeeds really well at showing us a post-apocalyptic US, and at being a decent action flick, that's about all it does. The characters are only barely drawn in most cases, and the movie can't seem to decide who the main protagonist is — John Connor or the other guy.

Spoilers ahoy!

We begin with Other Guy, who is played by Sam Worthington and is on death row. He's visted by Helena Bonham Carter, who persuades him to sign a consent form to donate his body to science. After he's executed, we flash forward to the future where John Connor is looking for Kyle Reese, the man destined to go back in time and become John's dad. This is the only motivation at all he gets through the entire film. Kyle, incidentally, is played by Anton "new Chekov" Yelchin, and has a small mute sidekick. Despite being John Connor's dad, there's no family resemblance at all.

So we spend the whole movie flicking between Connor and Other Guy, not quite being able to tell which one is supposed to be the main protagonist. I think we spend more time with Other Guy, so maybe it's meant to be him, but the Terminator series has always been about John Connor, so that's kinda like making a Batman movie and then spending more time following Green Arrow around. Other Guy also gets more of the character development than anyone else. OTOH, Michael Ironside was good, but he always is. Even in the crappy Highlander sequel.

So if you go to Terminator: Salvation expecting special effects and action sequences, you're likely to be happy. It's fun, but strangely focused for a Terminator movie. I'll be interested to see if the sequel marks an improvement.

Posted June 15, 2009 8:52 PM

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