In 1984, there was a little film with a modest budget, a spirited director, some lesser-known actors and actresses, an amazing story, and a special effects wizard (God bless you Stan!) that caused a MAJOR commotion. That film was “The Terminator”. It was a major hit, but it created a pulse in Hollywood for both the story (which would become a franchise) and its director. I was 14 that year, and I was positively blown away by “the Terminator”. I hung that movie poster up in my bedroom and it stayed up from that day until just a year ago or so. I even bought a pair of Gargoyle sunglasses back in the ‘80s to look cool like Arnold (it didn’t work, but I had to try). “The Terminator” gave us some of Arnold’s most memorable lines, like “I’ll be back” and “nice night for a walk”. 1984 was a GREAT year for movies – but that’s another story in and of itself.
So, I have followed the Terminator franchise in film since the start. I loved the 2nd one when it came out, but I didn’t much care for a “liquid” Terminator. It looked great but that’s the weakest part of the 2nd film, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”. The 3rd film came along out of nowhere it seemed. “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”. I have to say, I really like this one more than the 2nd one! I just hated Eddie Furlong as the snotty little brat in “T2”, and much preferred Nick Stahl as John Connor. Heck, I even liked the T-X (or as she was later nicknamed “the Terminatrix”) better than the T-1000 played by Robert Patrick. But most of all, I liked the way the 3rd film ended. The machines rose to power and mankind was almost destroyed.
It is extremely difficult to write GREAT science fiction, but it is even more difficult to write great sci-fi when you deal with time travel. Folks, some of the very best writers in the world don’t ever want to have to write time travel stories, and even they only rarely succeed. So, when I heard that somebody was re-booting the Terminator franchise with a multi-film (a trilogy in fact) movie deal, my first thought was “uh oh, somebody is now going to ruin the whole thing”. What I would later find out was that this trilogy would take place in the future, and would chronicle John Connor’s rise to become this savior of the human race. Add Christian Bale to the film, and suddenly I think it might just be worth a damn.
Then, I find out, it is in the hands of this guy named McG. I’m thinking “who?” and so I have to look him up. What I would discover impressed me. He’s been touching projects that have become successes his whole life – the guy has the Midas touch it seems. So, I get excited again. Yet somehow, I miss this in the theatres? What’s wrong with me? Am I losing my sci-fi geek-ness? Not at all, I am happy to report. I simply got caught up with life. So, I finally got a copy of the DVD for Christmas – thank God! Suffice to say, Suzanne had to practically restrain me from running home and rapidly ripping open my prize.
As for this installment to the franchise, this is what I have to say: I am impressed. Somehow, the writers managed to pull these 3 very different films together to form a background that the whole audience should know – as does the main character of the film, John Connor. It’s an action movie to be sure. There’s a lot of great action – as is the case with ALL the Terminator movies. The machines are impressive and they do a great job with presenting the T-100 series. I was just blown away by the story of this film though. What a tough job that must have been! As far as I am concerned, McG hit one out of the park with this one!
Christian Bale is a believable John Connor. He’s a great action star that can also really act. I was more impressed though by Sam Worthington who plays a very interesting role. I have never seen Sam in any movie before this, so I don’t know if he’s a “newcomer” or not. He’s got a lot of talent though and it shows in this movie! Bryce Dallas Howard plays Connor’s wife Kate, which is a continuation of the 3rd movie’s storyline. However, she’s pregnant. Excuse me? I don’t like this because I can tell you right now that this aspect of the storyline will play a significant role later on. The machines will be after Connor’s baby. Yay. Woo. I am NOT thrilled by this storyline development. Granted, I could be wrong – and I sincerely hope I am – but I doubt that I am.
“Terminator: Salvation” is a fine way to give this beloved franchise of mine a new life. I was pleased to see the movie and I am even happier that it now resides among the other great science fiction films on my shelves. So, for any other geeks out there that loved the very 1st film and were wondering if this latest one was a dud or not, I am here to assure you that it is well worth a watch or two!
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE
- Terminator Salvation recap: McG gives us a robotic sequel with added stupidity (guardian.co.uk)
- Terminator 5 announced (tuorhothmovies.wordpress.com)
- Terminator Franchise Set For New Trilogy (contactmusic.com)
- Terminator Salvation Movie Review (theeradicatorreviews.com)