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Review

TERMINATOR SALVATION. Much better than you remember

After six years since the controversial release of Rise of the Machines, it was decided that it was enough time for the wounds to heal…

EDITORIAL team

21 February 2024

TERMINATOR SALVATION. Much better than you remember

… and that audiences were ready not only for the fourth installment but for a whole new trilogy! Automatically, the question arises: again? What new can be invented in such an overexploited topic? It turns out, quite a lot!

The conclusion of Terminator 3 put an end to the mutual pursuits of humans and terminators in our time. Judgment Day turned out to be inevitable, and although its date was “shifting,” humanity’s tendency towards self-destruction had to lead to it. Moreover, right at the beginning of the latest episode, we learn that the destruction of Cyberdyne‘s headquarters didn’t help much, as work on unraveling future technology continued in another branch of the company. The war against Skynet differs from what we saw in James Cameron’s opus magnum prologue. The machines don’t gleam as if they’ve just rolled off the assembly line, and they don’t shoot colorful lasers. These inconsistencies can easily be explained by the fact that Skynet’s technology is not only backed by Cyberdyne but also by the military. However, it’s better not to delve into logical explanations for everything because in the end, one can stumble upon one of the many time paradoxes. Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation Christian Bale Sam Worthington

It’s the year 2018, so the war has been going on for over a decade. The plot of Terminator Salvation consists of several threads thrown into one bag. In addition to the endless struggle, there is a freshly developed secret weapon that could significantly tip the scales in favor of humans, and there is the character of Marcus Wright. Thanks to the trailers, it has long been known that he is half human, half machine. It’s a pity that the creators decided to reveal this interesting plot twist, not to mention that they released about 20% of the movie in the form of various trailers, commercials, or simply cut fragments. But, of course, nobody forced anyone to watch anything. The idea of the hybrid worked out in practice, although it’s not something new; it has been explored several times in comics (but considering what sometimes happened in them, I guess they’re not part of the official canon). However, one should not expect long and deep discussions about where the line between man and machine lies, that’s not this film’s address. Besides these two main threads, the film focuses on moving from one point to another. The characters are almost always on the move, going somewhere, driving, or flying. It’s like taking the skeleton out of a computer game: go there, do that, come back. There’s a lack of backbone, and the impression that Terminator Salvation is a mishmash of pursuits and shootings loosely connected by the plot is very intense. The script is literally bending over backwards to refer to the previous parts. There’s so much of it that people who haven’t seen them (are there any?) could completely lose track of the plot.

Terminator Salvation

Kyle Reese mentioned the easily detectable T-600 with skin made of crude rubber, now you can see them in action in a partially destroyed version, which Cameron didn’t show for aesthetic reasons. Softy. There’s much more to it; it immediately reminded me of Ridley Scott, who, for the needs of one scene, built hyper-detailed Nostromo interior decorations or placed fictional futuristic magazines on the set, which, even watching Blade Runner, you can’t notice. It seems that the screenwriters wanted to refer to the prequels at all costs, starting from significant story elements like Connor’s search for his future father, ending with plenty of small details. Before the premiere, it seemed that due to completely different realities, Terminator Salvation¬†would be detached from its predecessors, while, thanks to such cheap tricks, it’s completely the opposite. The director’s name raised doubts, but I admit that McG did a decent job with the future fight, which could previously be seen in short flashback scenes. The post-apocalyptic atmosphere, dirty and tattered decorations, or finally, new types of machines, all worked out well. Multi-story Harvesters or pursuit moto-terminators complement the ranks of the machine army well. The new units are specialized in specific tasks and appear believable, well, except for the Hydrobots, which swarm around the hidden base of the resistance movement, but somehow they can’t find it.

Terminator Salvation Christian Bale Sam Worthington

Christian Bale did well in his role. The bar wasn’t raised particularly high, after all, the previous Connor (Nick Stahl) was clearly lacking some balls. The character crucial to the entire series has been rehabilitated, and we no longer remember that he was a whiny complainer whom nobody cared about. I don’t have serious objections to the rest of the cast; they play adequately and credibly, but no one is reaching for acting heights because there was no need. SPOILER ALERT The freshly produced T-800 model 101 turned out great – digitally rejuvenated Arnold’s face was overlaid on the body double. Admittedly, you only see it for a few seconds, but it still makes a huge impression. The digital Arnie doesn’t have some ultra-realistic facial expressions, but after all, it’s just a robot. END OF SPOILER.

Terminator Salvation Christian Bale

Solidly executed action scenes of Terminator Salvation are a good complement to the slightly underdeveloped script. A lot happens; even the initial sequence of the attack on VLA, where Skynet made its nest, gives an idea of their excellent level. The story is not without gaps or errors, but let’s not forget that the whole plot of the first two parts was based on time paradoxes, so pointing fingers at minor stumbles is not appropriate. I must admit that I went to the cinema with considerable apprehension. It was unnecessary. It’s evident that McG, no matter how silly his name sounds, is in the right place. The guy has a well-thought-out concept, knows what and how to show, feels the realities of the series, and respects its previous episodes. And yet, many good licenses weren’t so lucky and were butchered by having the wrong person in the director’s chair.

Words by David Karpinski.

EDITORIAL team

EDITORIAL team

We're movie lovers who write for other movie lovers!

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