Monday, June 08, 2009

FILM REVIEW: Terminator Salvation

Here are five points on the trilogy reboot:

1 | Casting:
Sam Worthington: You know there's a lot of buzz going around about Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) and I just don't get it, but there's no doubt in my mind that Worthington is meant for the big leagues. Many would assume that Christian Bale requested Worthington so that he would be the biggest star on set, but as director McG reveals in EW, the person who played Marcus Wright needed to be a mysterious unknown. Mission accomplished. The 32-year-old Australian has the deep, gruff voice of a rebel warrior and the face of an unassuming vagabond, but once the emotion starts spilling through his facade, he becomes mesmerizing. I look forward to seeing him in James Cameron's Avatar and the mythological epic Clash of the Titans.
Anton Yelchin (Charlie Bartlett and Star Trek): The 20-year-old did a great job of emitting the kind of hope and bravado that we'd eventually see in an older Kyle Reese. I've been smitten with his acting skills since I saw Charlie Bartlett and my admiration for him has only increased since I've seen him in this film and in Star Trek. I have high hopes for his future.
Christian Bale: When you think leader of a revolution, you think Christian Bale. That is after all what the new Batman saga is all about--inspiring others to fight against the evils of the night. He was hardly used to his full potential in the film though, so hopefully he'll have more to do in the next one.

2 | The role of Marcus Wright as the protector of Kyle Reese and the savior of John Connor is incredible. James Cameron waited for the second film to illustrate a machine's humanity, but McG presented not only the possibility of enhanced Artificial Intelligence as feeling-breathing-thinking entities, but also the reality of heartless and mechanical humans. It was a poetic role reversal that needed to be emphasized for this future world to feel like it could exist.

3 | The action--pardon, the McG action--as always was a sight to be seen. I don't care what anyone says, McG always has incredible action. Always. So I wasn't in the least bit surprised when I got exactly what I paid for. My favorite gadget had to be the motorcycle-type drones. And my favorite suspense-fueled action scene had to be the car chase in the beginning, where Marcus and Kyle have to fight off drones, an air strike, and a giant Terminator.

4 | The Little Touches: I appreciated the part...
• ...where Marcus gets punched. He processes the hit, pauses, and then slowly moves his head back, seemingly unaffected, in great Terminator fashion. Chills.
• ...when Kyle tells Marcus: "Come with me if you want to live," which is the line the Terminator says in T2 to John's mother.
• ...when John asks his wife to tell his soldiers the infamous line, "I'll be back."
• ...when Arnold Schwarzenegger's head pasted on a body builder's massive torso bursts onto the scene, mute and ready for action.

5 | Gripes:
• No offense to Moon Bloodgood, who is sufficiently hot, but I probably would've picked a different actress. Someone with a little more bite. You know, someone with Angelina Jolie's intensity and sex appeal.
• I don't quite understand how [SPOILER] Marcus walked through a magnetic mine field and got blown to bits, and Blair still didn't realize he was metal.
• I'm not quite sure why John didn't react when he saw Arnold's face. He just seemed frightened. There was no flicker of recognition.
• I wish they would've had John say the words--in Star Wars reversal--"I am your son." I guess they could save the formal introductions for the next film.
• The way that Bale blew his role out of proportion, putting so much importance in it, and the fact that not only did Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) but Paul Haggis (Crash) do a treatment on the script, disappointed me. The story and the content was well structured, but the dialogue was below par. I wasn't exactly expecting Saving Private Ryan-type dramatics, but with those two writers on board, you'd expect something a little more epic. I mean, it's the official beginning of the Resistance, I should get chills.

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