Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a spy report in from McG's Terminator: Salvation. I know the flick has been screening around recently, but I also know Warner Bros has been enforcing embargoes like crazy, even going so far as to restrict Twitter updates after the screenings. So, it's good to hear from someone like Clounshoo to give us an indication of what we're in for while the gag is on for regular reviewers. I think you'll find the below review to be very level-headed and honest. Looks like there's a fair amount of good things in the movie and some maybe not so good things, but if Clounshoo is right on then I think I'm going to enjoy this flick a lot more than I did TERMINATOR 3, which constantly made me embarrassed for those onscreen. Enjoy the review, but be warned of some spoilers!
Hey guys. I wrote in a month ago about Bruno and figured I’d contribute again with an early Terminator review. Once again, I’ll do a “the good, the bad, and the rest” format since it made it easy for me to get my thoughts down last time. If you want my overall thoughts, just skip to the end. The Good: Sam Worthington. He was really cool. He’s getting promoted for this, what, barely at all? He’s pretty much the lead here, but he’s not as big of a name as Bale so he doesn’t get nearly as much press. But he’s good. I liked watching his performance. He pulls off the Han Solo “tough guy with a heart” act really well. It was fun. The kid that played Kyle Reese. Not nearly as irritating as Eddie Furlong, if at all. He did a good job with this. Some of the action scenes. There are some HUGE explosions that Michael Bay would be proud of. Some good scare and thrill moments with the terminators. MINOR SPOILER --- Arnold. Fit perfectly, and not gratuitous at all. Really well done, and brought a smile to my face. --- END SPOILER FX were right on for the most part. They rarely looked cheesy or fake, and they were believable and extraordinary at the same time. The Terminators themselves. Badass. Especially the big T-600 models. Bryce Dallas Howard. She was in this very little, but I liked watching her. She had a very pleasant demeanor and a glow to her that somehow fit even in the chaos. She should have had more screen time. The Bad: This is definitely a PG-13 movie. More accurately, though, this was not a movie made for adults. Terminators 1 and 2 were “adult” movies. This had plenty of scenes in it that could have been found in Fast and Furious or a movie of that ilk. Here’s an example. MINOR SPOILER --- Beautiful (but deadly) woman is all alone by a campfire in the middle of the desert after a full day’s journey. Beautiful woman is still gorgeous. Five hillbillies show up and make dirty aggressive jokes about how there “ain’t no man around to pertect ya.” Beautiful woman retorts with Hollywood version of “woman power,” a joke about breaking hillybilly’s face and then proceeding to take down two of them quickly before being knocked down and then saved by lead. --- END MINOR SPOILER Would we have seen that in a James Cameron movie? Perhaps. Would it have been shot like a scene from “Gone in 60 Seconds?” Not a goddamn chance. Now don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t ruin the movie, and these moments are few. But it is clearly aimed at teens and young adults more. Christian Bale. Ok, he’s not bad, but I feel he missed the mark here. I’m a Bale fan, and it just doesn’t feel like he knew quite what to do with this character. It’s a one note piece, for sure, but so was Sam Worthington’s character and he hit the right note. Bale just seems a bit off. The first five minutes. TERRIBLE. I think everyone in my row agreed that the first segment was awful. Really awful. It’s just a set-up scene, but the dialogue and scenario are done really poorly in my opinion. MINOR SPOILER – “So that’s what death tastes like.” Who fucking wrote that? Christ. END SPOILER - Thankfully the trend doesn’t continue past the intro. The last five minutes. Almost as silly as the first five minutes. MAJOR SPOILER --- We learn halfway through that Marcus (Sam Worthington’s character) is a hybrid terminator/human type thing, so he’s mostly machine but he has human organs. Well, John Connor is dying at the end of the film because he got all beat up and “his heart can’t take any more.” Whatever the fuck that means. So Marcus tells everyone that John can have HIS heart, because he wants to use this as his chance for redemption. Ok, I can buy that heart transplants are simple and effective a mere decade from now. But they’re in the fucking desert in a tent with no walls and it shows the two lying next to each other as we crossfade to the epilogue. Really? Are you fucking serious? A heart transplant in the middle of the open desert with a pregnant Bryce Dallas Howard supposedly doing the surgery? And this ends the movie? Right. --- END SPOILER Character development. There wasn’t much at all. Not much more to say about that. The mute black kid. There’s no other way to put it. It (and I say “it” because I was certain it was a little girl but my friends kept saying it was a boy but really, what difference does it make) was a pointless character that screamed quite loudly, “Look! Hollywood has found the most minor of all minorities! It’s black, a child, AND has a speech impairment!” And of course, it never got hurt (even as all the rest of mankind got wiped out), it “sensed” danger before anyone else, and it ultimately and literally saved the day for all mankind. Way too gimmicky for my liking. Transformers/Matrix. There were a few parts that seemed ripped straight out of Transformers. There were MANY parts that reminded me a lot of the last two Matrix movies. Try not to draw the same conclusions when they are - MINOR SPOILER – being attacked by the various machines (especially the water terminators that look a lot like the squidies) or making their way to the machine city. – END SPOILERS – The rest: The McG factor. This is the best McG film I have seen. An admission, though. It’s the only McG film I have ever seen. That said, I read a lot of the attacks on him and his credibility and “how can a guy named ‘McG’ do a Terminator movie justice” and all that bullshit and his retorts and so on, and I think this movie is pretty much the brighter side of exactly what a lot of people thought it would be. It’s big, it’s fun, it’s kinda goofy, but you can tell the guy’s trying to make it dark. It’s just that the gloss still shines through. The Plot. It’s pretty simple hide and seek stuff the whole time. It is what it is. Action. Can there be too much action? I want to say Terminator: Salvation speaks loudly about that, and what it’s saying is yes, there can. Some of the scenes are awesome and big, but some could have been dropped in favor of more character development, in which there is very little. Overview: I liked Terminator: Salvation as a popcorn movie. My expectations were mixed for this, so I think I was pretty levelheaded going in and not expecting too much or too little. There were plenty of cool scenes, a few lame scenes, and that really awful bookending of opening and closing shots. The middle chunk though is an enjoyable movie with some good thrills and fun sequences. As a side note, I stumbled upon T2 on cable last night while I was falling asleep, and was caught up again quickly in the greatness of that story and I thought about how well it has held up over almost two decades. Today, I walked out of TS smiling for sure, but there wasn’t a single feeling in my body that Terminator: Salvation was anything more than a “just good enough sequel” to spend a few hours beating the early summer heat with. I’ll give it a 6.5 out of 10. Once again, you can call me Clounshoo.