After calling the third Terminator film ‘hooey’, it resurfaces once again to try to close the story. It comes back with a little more attitude, coupled with names like Bale and McG. Fans of John Connor can rest easy as this instalment hangs together better as a movie than its precursor.
The member of the resistance, John Connor, returns as the unsung hero of the remaining free world. He is dragged off around plundered earth circa 2018 fighting the self aware machines of Skynet. A handful of his cohorts are hell-bent to right the human lives by going on pseudo-suicide missions just for humanity to stay afloat. As if all this weren’t enough, they are hunted and gathered like sheep to the headquarters of the enemy for experiments. Unbeknownst to everyone, a half-human half machine Marcus Wright (played by fresh faced, Sam Worthington) is on a mission.
For the first hour, Terminator Salvation rights the wrong that damned Terminator Rise of the Machines. Gone are the heavy exposition scenes, where everything slowed down to tell the audience what is going on (and then stalled completely to make sure everyone ‘got’ it). Gone too are the dodgy “hasta la vista baby” lines. But it stays faithful to the first two originals by paying homage to decent remarkable movie quotes (Come with me if you want to live and I’ll be back). So far this sequel moves more freely and seems to enjoy itself in the chaos that it built. The performances are somewhat better, too. Its part and parcels fall right into place.
While Terminator Salvation pushes the suspension of disbelief too far for anyone to stay on board, it’s the last half hour that solidifies the narrative. Though it may seem a mockery of the audience’s intelligence, the film rises off its shattered third instalment with accurate outline of the prophesy. It’s a tad easier to figure out what’s behind it all because John Brancato and Michael Ferris devoted their script to the famous bravado of McG. They sustained the entertainment value without straining the motive of the franchise. Played with muffled dystopia colour that almost always spells danger, McG actualizes the lingering danger. The machines are foreboding in a non-Decepticon way which holds its own mechanized terror (don’t let a dismembered Terminator fool you, it still packs a punch and can still snap you like a twig).
Danny Elfman also provided a resounding musical score that was both loyal to the original and brazen for raising the ante (notable in the opening credits). Perhaps because I went to watch it at a decent movie house, I was provided with the complementary but necessary digital sound surround (and when I say digital sound surround, it’s the type wherein your chair rattles and the floor vibrates with every crescendo).
It might give away too much by using a tag line like The End Begins. Yet the twist gets underway. A handful would also say that the talking computer and medical procedure Connor had to go through is a bit silly, yet I find it befitting for all its entertainment value. Heck, even the special appearance of the famous T-800 in human flesh is welcome to me. Although it comes ostensibly lost in the purpose, Mc G’s dumbed-down Cormac McCarthy–isms at least had fervor.
Terminator Salvation delivers a shapely, stylish, white-knuckle scifi-thriller that is both liberal in story and faithful to the storyline.
It breezes through arcane details with just as much dizzying speed and amusement. Never mind that John Connor sounds like Batman.