Terminator Salvation

I was scared. Very scared. Not in a The Grudge way. Not in a The Sphere way. Far worse. It was a deeply rooted feeling of helplessness. The kind of fear you cannot pinpoint, because you don’t understand it. You don’t know where it came from, but it’s there. So while the credits were rolling, I delved into my brain and rummaged in the furthest corners until I finally understood. I was too young. Far too young. Not last Monday, but when I first watched Terminator and Terminator II. Because Terminator: Salvation is full of references to them – and those were the only films in my life that gave me sleepless nights!

Some references are of that in-your-face kind. CGI Arnie shows up for example – don’t get angry with me, there’s no way you could not know of that “cameo” if you followed the making of the movie at all. A more subtle reference for example is the look and feel of the showdown, which looks and feels just like the most memorable moments of the films that scared the shit out of me when I was 10 years old. And how I love being scared! A couple of weeks ago I spent $300 on skydiving just to feel nauseous and sweaty. Good to know I can get that feeling cheaper.

Knowing you can piss in your pants for $6.50 – admittedly only if you watched the first two Terminators at the age of ten – and feel good about it is one thing. Knowing about the inner values of the film you’re reading the review of is another. But do you really want to know? I didn’t, and I was happy.

But in case you are interested in plot and character development, this beautiful movie might disappoint you a bit. I guess that comes with a screen play being completely rewritten, because the star of the movie (Christian Bale) auditioned for the main character Marcus Wright, but felt more interested in the supporting character John Connor. What would lead to slight friction with an auteur filmmaker luckily (or not) seems to be quite easy in Hollywood: letting a supporting character become the main one and the formerly main character a slightly less main one.

This is how we end up with Marcus (Sam Worthington) appearing, going north (WTF?), discovering he is slightly less ordinary than the rest of the remaining human population, and meeting people who love him straight away. OK, some are trying to kill him, but let’s put it in Baader-Meinhof-Complex Baader’s words: “fucking and shooting is the same!” (End of German accent.) The only problem with the wild love making part is that the only available hot chick – the other one is John’s wife and pregnant, which isn’t one of my fantasies just yet – “is only looking for warmth. Relax.”

And what does the supporting-character-become-superstar John Connor do? He does what a proper supporting character in a war movie does, just more of it: jump around in dirt and mud, shoot Terminators, and keep the morale of the fast disappearing human race high: “if you hear this, you ARE the resistance.” Constantly and repeatedly. Yes, THAT often.

I enjoyed Terminator: Salvation. A lot. People complain about some cheesy scenes – I ignored them. Others complain about a supposedly inexistent plot – who cares? Some wonder where the supposedly psychic little black girl (WTF?) came from – perhaps we’ll have a Terminator vs. X-Men soon, so who cares? And others again complain about early foreplay without the act – OK, that was actually me.

Terminator: Salvation

Director: McG
Screenplay: John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris
Cinematography: Shane Hurlbut
Editing: Conrad Buff IV
Score: Danny Elfman
Cast: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood, Bryce Dallas Howard, Helena Bonham Carter, Anton Yelchin, Jadagrace, Common.

About the author

Woitek Konzal

Producer, Consultant, Lecturer & Researcher. I love working where technology meets media in novel ways. Once, I even won an Emmy for digital innovation doing that. Be it for a small but exciting campaign about underground electronic music collectives or for a monster project combining two movies, various 360° videos, 72 ARG-like mini puzzles, and a Unity game, all wrapped up in one cross-platform app – I have proven my ability to adapt to what is required. This passion for novel technologies has regularly allowed me to cross paths with tech startups – an industry and philosophy I am all set to engage with more. I intensely enjoy balancing out my practical work with academic research, teaching, and consulting. Also, I have a PhD in Creative Industries, a M.Sc. in Business Administration, and love to kitesurf.

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