Sunday, May 24, 2009

Terminator Salvation Review (Spoilers??)

It's no secret I was excited for this movie and would have seen it whether I heard it was good, bad or ugly. Not only for being a Terminator movie, but also because it has Sam Worthington in it.

Was it a perfect movie? Unfortunately, no. Was it the story of the century? No, it wasn't. Was it the worst movie ever made, as some critics seem to be telling people? No, it certainly wasn't. You see, the problem with Terminator Salvation was that the studio made McG make it a PG-13 movie when it should have been R. Simple. That's why. Had they let McG make the movie the way he wanted it made, it would have been a much stronger story and would have appealed to the audience it was for: Adults. Not children who have bad parents.

There were some things I think should have been changed and maybe they will for the DVD, let's hope. Certain things were left out of the final cut, things were changed from the storyboards and concept art and they should have been left alone. This seems to be something that occurs all too often in Hollywood; Execs get their hands on something and rip it to shreds trying to make it fit what they "think" the public wants or wants to see. Let the creators do what they do.

That being said, I did not hate this movie and I was not completely disappointed or dissatisfied. The movie opens up on a man in prison, Marcus Wright, who signs his body over to Cyberdyne Systems for research. Then he dies via lethal injection. The Resistance is attacking a Skynet compound and they find out that Skynet has been gathering human prisoners and using them to experiment on. My guess it that some more was filmed of this scene, namely the part where they find the bodies being experimented on. They get some information and Connor is sent topside to find out why no one is responding. Welp! They're all dead, that's why. Skynet is also sending one of their Transporters full of humans to their headquarters and John starts to take off after them when the whole compound explodes below him leaving him the last member of the group alive. After he is picked up he demands to be taken to Resistance HQ and ends up diving into the water (they're in a submarine) and goes on board where he is told that they found out that a there is a special signal buried in the frequency that may be an off switch. Now, this would sound too good to be true to I would not trust it, but these guys do and Connor says he'll do it and he'll test it out. This scene was also massacred according to the Official Movie Preview graphic novel, which consisted of a much richer scene that was cut to shit.

This is the crux of the movie. Marcus wants to save Kyle and Star since he feels responsible for protecting them. Later he wants to get whoever made him the way he is. John Connor wants to, duh, destroy Skynet but also finds out that Kyle Reese is on Skynets "to kill" list and must save him. (I always wondered: If Kyle were killed in this movie, John could never be, so would he disappear Marty-McFly style? Or would John Connor always be because a different man would be sent back in T1?). I didn't think the ending was that great though and without spoiling it I will point out that apparently the real ending was spoiled last summer and so they rewrote the ending.

The parts that needed changing were as follows:
  • There needed to be more Terminators.
  • In the scene where Marcus approaches Skynet HQ and he is scanned by a giant gun turret, early storyboards (I am a nerd, so deal with it. See page 19 of Tara Bennett's awesome Terminator Salvation Official Movie Companion book) show him encountering a normal Terminator, which scans him and lets him through. This should have remained as it was in the boards because it just makes more sense for him to encounter one of the, what should have been, numerous Terminators around the Skynet main facility. The strange lack of them didn't make sense.
  • Marcus' relationship &/or connection with Blair was incredibly cut up, or at least it seemed. While we get that she sees more in him than a bad guy/machine/killer, whatever and that he is attracted to her because she is a woman and he hasn't seen one in a longggg time, the scenes are so cut up that it feels truncated and almost shoved aside. It's raining, she is looking at her wound, tells him to go get something they can burn, then it's not raining and she encounters some assholes who start a fight with her which Marcus saves her from. Then they are around a fire and are acting awkward toward each other while she cozies up to him and tells him to "relax, she just wants some body heat". What's missing? The scene where she cleans her wound, with her top off, which apparently wasn't crass or distasteful, and he sees her. Here it is in picture form from the trailer:
  • They also needed to include the scene that contained the following line: Connor: "I knew it, I knew it was coming but this is not the future my mother warned me about, and in this future I don't know if we can win this war"...Why wasn't this in the movie? This was a great line!
  • The scenes that contained these following shots (some scenes were in the film but were different, others were not in the movie and I don't know why they were changed/cut):

Why would you cut this part out? In the movie the "Arnie" T-800 goes after John in the Skynet HQ. There is a T-600 that is going all crazy-ass haywire because Kyle stabbed it in it's weak-spot and is shooting everywhere. Arnie rips it apart and goes after Connor. It appears that at some point he picked up the gun and shot that shit. That should be put back in for the DVD.

This HK was not in the movie. It's obviously when Connor and his group went down into the Skynet bunker. For some reason they decided to make all of the Terminators disappear, cut out this shot and the next one and just made them kill everyone topside.

Who is that guy back there? On the gurney? In the movie it was Marcus, who is throwing that thing at the screen and breaking the window when he decides his fate. Now who is that on the gurney?

The movie had beautiful effects, set design, lighting, art direction, costume design and I know somewhere in there, there is a great just got lost in the shuffle and confusion of studio fixin's.

Now...put these things in the DVD, lengthen it, flesh out the stories and make an awesome DVD.


  1. Great review, nerd.

    I'm with you on the lack of Terminators. Not enough Terminators AT ALL. Not enough blood either.

    I thought the ending was a yawn.

  2. Read the book. It will answer many of your questions.. Such as why skynet was not teeming with terminators.

    It's a quick read. I read it and thought,
    "this is a bogus book, I hope the movie is better" The movie was a diluted version of the book. Which I assumed was written from the script. Now, I don't know. The effects were cool though.

  3. Is this the movie novelization? I didn't read it ahead of time because I was waiting for the movie. I'll pick it up at Target today.

    I also thought the ending was a yawn. I get that Marcus wanted to have another chance, but both versions of the ending (this one and the original) weren't the best...

  4. I wasn't a fan of the PG-13 rating either. It should have been a hard R--and with more Terminators.

  5. Agreed...I wanted Marcus to jab that thing right into that guy's neck! Jab! Jab!