Monday, 25 May 2009

Terminator Salvation

Dir: McG (We Are Marshall)
Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood, Anton Yelchin, Bryce Dallas Howard, Helena Bonham Carter, Common, Jadagrace, Michael Ironside
Germany/UK/USA, 2009

Seen: May 21, 2009 at AMC Yonge & Dundas

Reason to see: I'm a huge fan of the first The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

I was skeptical and excited at the same time for this fourth instalment of The Terminator franchise. The first two films are not only fantastic but iconic in the world of SciFi film and have become one of the few film duos where the sequel has been considered on par or even better than the original. Then came the third, and oh boy, I almost swore off the series. But, I'm a sucker for possible comebacks so I of course gave Terminator Salvation a chance.

I went in thinking of it as an action film as opposed to a Terminator film - and that would have worked except for all of the Terminator references. I'm not talking plot here, but things that a fan would pick out - familiar phrases, motions and even stances. This allowed for moments to smile knowingly at the screen in between the loud explosions. And boy, are there explosions. It's amazing that there is even that much stuff to blow up after Judgement Day. There are definitely a few liberties taken with the world that was created considering we've already seen and heard it described in the previous films. The world and people seem to be overly resourced and rather buff for a post apocalyptic future. Where did they get the equipment? How are they so fit? Aesthetics aside, the plot was not what I was expecting and again wasn't on par with the films origins but overall was interesting enough to go along for the ride.

Although the film seems to be purely playing the action card, what pulled me in was the characters and performances. There are many characters to connect to in the film, but only a few stood out for me. A new addition to the series is the character Blair Williams played by Moon Bloodgood (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li) and it was great to see a strong female character in the film although I would have loved if it was a more prominent role. We also are treated to Anton Yelchin who provides another great performance this year just a few weeks after we've seen him in Star Trek. His performance is solid but I'm looking forward to seeing him play a character that does not have such strong reference material to hold to.

The true shining light of the film is Sam Worthington who plays the new character Marcus Wright. He has a fantastic presence both charismatic and enigmatic, and easily holds his own every time he is on screen. For his performance alone, the film is worth watching. We are lucky to see more of Sam Worthington in the future, upcoming film projects include prominent roles in both Avatar and Clash of the Titans (2010).

On the whole, it's a fun action film but it reads like a really well made glossy fan film. Enjoyable, re-watchable but keep it clearly divided from the first two films in the series

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it as an action film
I'll buy it
I'd recommend it as an action film

15 minutes of preshow including 1 commercial and 6 previews: Inglourious Basterds, Brüno, The Hangover, Surrogates, Sherlock Holmes and District 9

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© Shannon Ridler, 2009

As seen from the escalator at the AMC

That's really me, but the boys are cardboard

Me & my Mom before the film - while we still had our hearing.

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