Saturday, 28 April 2012

Terminator Salvation (2009)

I had seen this before, many years ago, and all I could really remember was the bad CG Arnie towards the end. Actually it exceeded my expectations, it was a lot better than I remembered. Though there was no direct time travel involved this time, all of the action being set post-Judgement Day, the story still had enough intrigue and originality while still being fairly true to the original canon.

Let's be clear, this is no James Cameron brilliance, but director Joseph McGinty Nichol (McG) does seem to have an eye for directing the action here. There was one scene in particular that impressed me. John Connor climbs out of an underground base, and from this point the camera tracks him. It tracks him to a helicopter, watches him get in, take off, when he is hit by a missile the camera whips into the chopper to just behind his seat as he crashes, and then when John unbuckles his seatbelt, he falls upwards. A nice touch. Not finished though, the camera tracks round him as we see the huge machine that destroyed his helicopter, and then he is finally confronted by a Terminator. For a film I was expecting to simply be milking the Terminator cash cow, I was fairly impressed by the scope, and design of the film.

Christian Bale is good and fairly dependable as John Connor, and Anton Yelchin is fine as a young Kyle Reese; but that's about as good as we get. Michael Ironside phones in a performance as General Ashdown, which is a shame as he can be so much better. His character is very much a bit part though, so he doesn't get the opportunity to be memorable. All of the rest of the cast are background really, apart from Marcus Wright who is played by the personality-less Sam Worthington. Spoiler Alert! OK, so I know he's actually a machine, but come on, even Arnie managed to have some personality when he was a Terminator; and if he couldn't manage it then he wisely didn't say very much! Sam Worthington's character speaks far too much for a guy who can't act!

Having said that, I still enjoyed the film more than I expected to. This is probably down to a half decent plot, and fairly solid and inventive direction from McG. Not a classic, and possibly an unnecessary addition to the Terminator franchise, but certainly better than the third film. It's just a shame that Brad Fiedel's wonderfully iconic score is ruined by Danny Elfman.