While it probably ranks up there as one of the greatest movies from the early 1990s, the Terminator franchise has probably been long forgotten. Particularly after recent epic blockbusters from other studios, catering for the fashionable trend for superheroes big of small. You know you are getting old, when it feels longer than seven years ago, perhaps as many as ten since I left work really early to catch an early afternoon showing of Terminator Salvation with Barry, Pav and Scott over at the Vue in Oxford. (Opposite Oxford City’s Kassam Stadium) I really enjoyed the character driven story and the fact that it was all about Marcus Wright and the characters’ journey of self discovery. It was a departure from the previous three movies with no time travel plot line, keeping the action set in the apocalyptic future after SkyNet has decided that all humanity is a threat. While perhaps far from the best of the movies, it was a fantastic attempt to breathe new life into a stale concept and a different perspective on a story told and retold again and again. While I know Salvation was to kick start a new trilogy, it never happened for various reasons. Ultimately the movie stands well on it’s own and does repair a great deal of the damage done by Rise of the Machines. Plus, please do not forget near perfect television show The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which plugged in the gap before Salvation was released at cinemas. Such a shame, the show lasted only two seasons, it deserved much much more.
They should have left this franchise alone but for purely commercial scheming, a fifth film was in development always going to get made once rights issues were resolved and sold to the highest bidder. I remember the anticipation when the first trailer was announced. It took me a long time to digest the fact that Sarah was a young girl. For me this would be very difficult explain away. Discussions with Pav soon after the première of the full blown trailer was that it looked like an extremely good television show, rather than a film and it did appear they were trying to fit in too many plot points from the first two movies. To appease fans of the original but also fresh ideas to appeal to a new audience.
To be honest, I did not really care too much for this movie. If I had not seen it at the cinema, I would not have felt at a loss. Nevertheless my dear friend Pav had other ideas. Our original plan had been to grab a bite to eat before catching the film at Vue Reading on Friday 3rd July. By chance, the moon and stars had aligned perfectly – my spin class was cancelled and my dear wife being away on a weekend team building. I was free but unfortunately Pav was not available and my secondary plans to go get my haircut straight after work fell through, when I arrived at 5:28pm for only my usual barber Pete, to have disappeared home only minutes before. I would have to try again another day.
We finally settled on tonight after multiple Whats App message and confirming times and screening options (I prefer 2D, 3D is just a gimmick now to over inflate already expensive peak cinema ticket prices). I left work a little later than planned, ending up stuck in traffic and joining the M4 a junction later to try and beat the steady jam I could see as I left the office. Eventually I landed in The Oracle at 7pm, an hour until the movie kicked off. We got some food and then headed straight over to Vue Cinema just after 8pm (the movie opened at 7:45pm) to see the final few trailers before the main event. Apart from a few cheesy throwaway lines – I was utterly disappointed. The story had a great deal to live up to and failed on multiple levels. In particular changing a key aspect of the story. Now I understand the writers/producers had to come up with a fresh approach to get bums on seats but you never change the role of your key character. This in my eyes was the biggest crime of this movie. While the special effects lived up to a large budget and the improvement in technology over the past seven years, the story was just too hollow. An excellent review worthwhile reading is over on The Guardian. It felt like two films, the first half trying to establish it’s place within the original movie time line and then jumping off message to establish itself with it’s own identity. The film felt like just a big fat cheque for the former Governor of California. He hardly put in the effort, now I know he is playing a cyborg, so his performance is expected to be a little wooden but even so, you do not get your money’s worth. I think I will have to recommend to Pav a new filter before we book or future cinema trips. Checking the rating over on Rotten Tomatoes. Something tells me that with the time it takes for us to organise a simple trip to the cinema (over two weeks in this case, including the aborted first attempt). Just remind me to not bother with any more Terminator movies, particularly as this was supposedly the first of a new trilogy. My father always says that Hollywood is running out of ideas hence the need to go through the back catalogue and rehash old intellectual properties for the amber nectar – the multi-movie franchise with the possibility to sell additional merchandise. Call me a cynic but some films are just not worth the effort.
Google Now is a fantastic piece of software – it directed me to an article reviewing the various plot holes in this movie and it is only fair that I link to the article. Fifteen is probably being a little lenient in my opinion, there are probably more if you were to consider re-watching but who in their right frame of mind would subject themselves to such a criminal act.