Poorly-written Terminator Salvation review: I saw it last night because I (well, my husband, actually :) is awesome

I was lucky enough to attend an early screening of “Terminator Salvation” last night, courtesy of the Chicago Nerd Social Club and my husband‘s ridiculous body of movie trivia knowledge (especially when it comes to Terminator), which was the means by which we wound up winning six passes.

Due to a parking mishap (trying to park in downtown Chicago is generally a mishap to begin with), we wound up near the end of the line and nearly didn’t make it into the theatre. Somebody announced to the line that the screening was at capacity, and that no one else would be let in (the tickets stated that they overbook these events to ensure a full theatre, just like those bastard airlines do). People at the front of the line, however, were not budging, for whatever reason, so we stuck around (while many others left, unfortunately including, I believe, a couple others from the CNSC who would ultimately have been let in) figuring there must be some conflicting information passing around. Turns out that despite all the nasty fine print on our tickets, we had seats reserved for us, and were ushered past all the other poor saps who had obviously also spent too much time looking for parking. Damn fine seats they were, too. Richard Roeper wound up sitting directly behind us, because although we had those two empty seats left in our row, he didn’t want to bother us to move over.

(There were, by the way, a bunch of empty seats left in the theatre during the movie. In the very front, but hey. I know they would have been gladly occupied. Very organized system you’ve got going there, AMC!)

So anyway. Zee movie. I must point out that although I very much liked and have seen the first three movies at least a zillion times, and every episode of the television series, I am not a qualified fanatic. My husband can claim that status, and as far as I know, he is still processing what he’s seen, and hasn’t come to a final determination as to his opinion. He’ll be seeing the movie at least two more times, he expects. To me, this indicates that he didn’t think the movie was bad (he stated that it didn’t “burn his retinas like ‘Alien vs. Predator'”, or something along those lines), but that he was expecting more out of it (perhaps unrealistically, with a little bit of wishful thinking, too much build-up during the wait for the release, and a veil of nostalgia which no doubt makes the first two films seem better today than if he hadn’t seen them as a child — what can ever hope compare to fond memories from our childhood?)

So this is coming from someone who basically watched “Terminator Salvation” as just another action movie, albeit one with a series of predecessors that do rank high on my list (minus some lines that they definitely could have left out of T3).

First of all, even I found myself losing my suspension of disbelief a number of times about nitpicky details and plot points, so I’m sure hardcore fans will have a lot more of that sort of thing to complain about. But I’m perhaps more prone to that sort of thing than the average person to begin with, since I’m logically-minded and have grown up consuming a lot of hard (read: sciencey) sci-fi. Everyone in my family was a Star Trek fan, and some of that nitpickiness certainly wore off on me, too. Considering these facts, most of those sorts of issues that I have can probably be written off…

I had two more reasonable problems with the movie, and they’re 1000% related. The writing and direction assume, as do most media these days, that the audience has no attention span whatsoever. The intervals between the countless firey, orange explosions were very short indeed. The constant action came at the expense of adequate plot and character development. I wouldn’t have expected the plot to be terribly complex given the nature of the movie, but I thought that characterization was brushed over detrimentally.

I realize that many of the characters were already known to us from the earlier films, so they should be somewhat familiar to us. However, we’re winessing them in a different time period, in situations that couldn’t possibly be more far removed from those we saw them in pre-Judgement Day, and they’re at different stages of their life (i.e. Kyle Reese is still a teenager in the movie, which is set in 2018). The characters and situation the movie throws at us deserved more back-story. I felt like I wanted more explanation as to what happened after Judgement Day, and how the characters wound up where they were, than the few brief lines of text that scrolled by forming the transition from 2003 to 2018.

There were also, of course, many smaller parts in the film to provide characters as obstacles or Terminator-bait. Some of these characters appeared prominently enough that I wanted to know more about them, but none of their stories were fleshed out, and their scenes seemed incomplete or uneccessary. Either don’t focus on them at all, or do something interesting with them!

But besides alllllll of that whining, I came out of the movie feeling good about it, so I don’t mean any of the above terribly harshly. Their attempt to hold the viewers’ suffering attention spans was successful, and I didn’t notice myself becoming bored at any point. The movie felt shorter than it actually was, which generally means I at least had fun watching it. The acting was satisfactory enough, during the moments the focus moved away from simply blowing shit up (I mean, I don’t think anyone really had to challenge themselves much in that respect). Christian Bale is still freakin’ hot, so win. And we all got a kick out of digital Arnold’s cameo, and his marvelous 1984-hairdo…

20 thoughts on “Poorly-written Terminator Salvation review: I saw it last night because I (well, my husband, actually :) is awesome

  1. This is a sad case no doubt but comments like “God said it was a great catch” really shows how a belief in a fairy tale such as The Terminator distorts the reality of a situation. God did not say to Come home”, a hard ball hit the world in its chest and killed him. Unexpected? Yes. Sad? Maybe. He may have been happy as heck seeking Salvation and playing it to it’s fullest so in my opinion it is not sad as he was celebrating the joys of life. Divine? No.

    Zen and Taoism teaches attachment causes pain and suffering, and although it is hard to not have attachment to a character, one can see how attachment stops us from enjoying what we have and who we love in the moment. It teaches us Death is a natural part of life. When it happens to a Terminator it seems more tragic, but it is a part of life none the less and finding comfort or laying blame to a make believe creator distracts us from the realties that life dishes up.

    I myself would find it more difficult thinking my spawn is floating around somewhere without me, living with a jealous and vengeful being who supposedly commanded Abraham to kill his only son…Why would I want my child “Living” with such a God? Knowing that this child is feeling no pain, will never know suffering again, and is totally un aware that he has passed is way more comforting in my view.

    Religion is a lie and a myth, and living and thinking of our dead in a make believe way only tarnishes the life that they led.

    The “God” thing may help people cope with tragedy or hard times, but the underlying message of Christianity or Islam, or Mormonism, or whatever made up religion involved causes death and prejudice and hatred toward the living.

    Have we not evolved enough to deal with the realities of death without needing to believe in the un believable?

  2. This is a sad case no doubt but comments like “God said it was a great catch” really shows how a belief in a fairy tale such as The Terminator distorts the reality of a situation. God did not say to Come home”, a hard ball hit the world in its chest and killed him. Unexpected? Yes. Sad? Maybe. He may have been happy as heck seeking Salvation and playing it to it’s fullest so in my opinion it is not sad as he was celebrating the joys of life. Divine? No.

    Zen and Taoism teaches attachment causes pain and suffering, and although it is hard to not have attachment to a character, one can see how attachment stops us from enjoying what we have and who we love in the moment. It teaches us Death is a natural part of life. When it happens to a Terminator it seems more tragic, but it is a part of life none the less and finding comfort or laying blame to a make believe creator distracts us from the realties that life dishes up.

    I myself would find it more difficult thinking my spawn is floating around somewhere without me, living with a jealous and vengeful being who supposedly commanded Abraham to kill his only son…Why would I want my child “Living” with such a God? Knowing that this child is feeling no pain, will never know suffering again, and is totally un aware that he has passed is way more comforting in my view.

    Religion is a lie and a myth, and living and thinking of our dead in a make believe way only tarnishes the life that they led.

    The “God” thing may help people cope with tragedy or hard times, but the underlying message of Christianity or Islam, or Mormonism, or whatever made up religion involved causes death and prejudice and hatred toward the living.

    Have we not evolved enough to deal with the realities of death without needing to believe in the un believable?

  3. Christian Bale actually touched this movie and turned it to puke green linoleum or some similar color. Much of the plot and character flushing out was supposed to happen but once he got the script, took over the role of John Conner, and demanded more than less than 5 min face time (yes you were rarely supposed to see him) in the movie, it all went to hell. So yeah…

  4. Christian Bale actually touched this movie and turned it to puke green linoleum or some similar color. Much of the plot and character flushing out was supposed to happen but once he got the script, took over the role of John Conner, and demanded more than less than 5 min face time (yes you were rarely supposed to see him) in the movie, it all went to hell. So yeah…

  5. You’re a cunt. You’re the reason I hate females ( and I am female, myself ). Stop being such a twat like every other woman in the world. You’re just a douche bag and a pussy.

  6. You’re a cunt. You’re the reason I hate females ( and I am female, myself ). Stop being such a twat like every other woman in the world. You’re just a douche bag and a pussy.

  7. Christian Bale should have been seen, and not heard in that movie, then…

    Sami, that’s an interesting opinion, but I’m not sure what it has to do with Terminator. In any case, I do believe that I shall continue to behave as I please, as I have always done in the past, regardless of what idiots on the internet think. Thanks for the advice, though.

  8. Christian Bale should have been seen, and not heard in that movie, then…

    Sami, that’s an interesting opinion, but I’m not sure what it has to do with Terminator. In any case, I do believe that I shall continue to behave as I please, as I have always done in the past, regardless of what idiots on the internet think. Thanks for the advice, though.

  9. I think the intention of it was it to be more of a prequel as opposed to sequel. Obviously by listening to the tapes of his mother and freaking the fuck out at Arnold-like-ness, he obviously did not experience the events of T2 – yet the events of T1 did occur. Fuck it I don’t care anymore.

    If Michael J Fox didn’t have Parkinson’s there would be Back to the Future 12 by now.

    THANK GOD

    P.S. Your WordPress is throwing all kinds of PHP/MySQL errors – fix that shit.

  10. I think the intention of it was it to be more of a prequel as opposed to sequel. Obviously by listening to the tapes of his mother and freaking the fuck out at Arnold-like-ness, he obviously did not experience the events of T2 – yet the events of T1 did occur. Fuck it I don’t care anymore.

    If Michael J Fox didn’t have Parkinson’s there would be Back to the Future 12 by now.

    THANK GOD

    P.S. Your WordPress is throwing all kinds of PHP/MySQL errors – fix that shit.

  11. What PHP/MySQL errors? I haven’t noticed any, so you’ll have to be more specific. Might just be my host being lame (again). I’ve been planning to move.

    And I dunno… Time travel… Hard to keep those sorts of stories straight…

  12. What PHP/MySQL errors? I haven’t noticed any, so you’ll have to be more specific. Might just be my host being lame (again). I’ve been planning to move.

    And I dunno… Time travel… Hard to keep those sorts of stories straight…

  13. When I comment WordPress complains that I don’t have a valid ipv4/ipv6 address which I find hard to believe. I think you just hate Safari.

  14. Warning: gethostbyaddr() [function.gethostbyaddr]: Address is not a valid IPv4 or IPv6 address in /home/cyanotic/public_html/negativesmart/wp-content/plugins/disemvowel.php on line 21

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  15. When I comment WordPress complains that I don’t have a valid ipv4/ipv6 address which I find hard to believe. I think you just hate Safari.

  16. Warning: gethostbyaddr() [function.gethostbyaddr]: Address is not a valid IPv4 or IPv6 address in /home/cyanotic/public_html/negativesmart/wp-content/plugins/disemvowel.php on line 21

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  17. Weird. Looks like a couple of plugins are being bastards. I’ll check into it when I have time… Which’ll be, like… Never.

  18. Weird. Looks like a couple of plugins are being bastards. I’ll check into it when I have time… Which’ll be, like… Never.

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