Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Terminator Salvation

I believe my opinion regarding Terminator Salvation will find me in the minority. My overall impression with this film was that it was forgettable. It was average, tepid, mediocre, palatable, etc. A host of adjectives could be used to describe this film. I guess I was expecting an epic film considering several years have past since the last film, which I also found to be rather average. With most films, by the time you reach the fourth installment the idea has already played out. With Terminator I think there were elements of greatness in the film that were offset by weak dialogue and an average plot. This film had the opportunity to succeed…but merely gets a passing grade.

Terminator Salvation introduces us to Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) at the beginning of the film. The year is 2003 and Wright is on death row. He has agreed to donate his body to science. We catch up with Wright in 2018, when he discovers his own re-birth in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. Wright is quickly befriended by a young Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin). The two battle the machines as the L.A. Resistance, while gathering hope from the voice of John Connor (Christian Bale) on short-wave radio.

The paths of our main characters are bound to cross at some point. Without giving away major plot details, the lives of the main characters are all integral to the future of the world, the survival of man and history. The major characters are thrust into a variety of situations where their allegiances are called into question. The big question, though, is whether history will reset with a new ending or whether the resistance can outsmart a machine that has become self-aware. Will Skynet win? Come on, really, what do you think?

I will admit, there were some excellent seat-gripping action sequences in Terminator Salvation that were big, graphically appealing and profoundly executed. The seamless integration of the CGI was a major plus for this movie. If the plot made an iota of sense to me, I would have easily ranked this film as a must see. The machines are complex with Transformer-like capabilities that were amazing to watch. The scale of the props and the interaction of the actors with the CGI were spectacular. If there was a redeeming quality to this film, it was in the phenomenal special effects.

With a big budget to waste on big special effects, you might think you would get dialogue better than “there is no estimating the power of the human heart” or some drivel along that line. We even get an “I’ll be back” sans Arnold. Dialogue may not be the primary focus of a film of this genre, but it should at least be believable. I found the dialogue to be complete crap at times. I was disgusted at some of the simplistic dialogue that seemed to be penned by amateurs. The plot did not fare much better than the dialogue. There was a major plot twist, but I had it figured out long before it was revealed. The story was transparent. I like to be surprised once in a while. There were avenues that could have been employed to create greater long-term suspense to equal the gripping action sequences, which were definitely suspenseful.

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