It took me forever to get around to this movie, but after Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, can you really blame me? Before I get into Terminator Salvation, I’ll give you some context on how I feel about the Terminator franchise.
The Terminator is regarded as a classic sci-fi movie, but the more I think about it, the more I tend to drop it into a slasher/horror movie category… Arnold Schwarzenegger just chases people around the whole movie and kills them… yeah, he pretty much kills everybody accept Sarah Connor. Terminator 2: Judgment Day is, in my mind, the best possible version of The Terminator (minus Lina Hamilton half naked), but otherwise, it’s pretty much the same movie (but flipped on it’s head), but with more character development, better lighting, effects and overall production value. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines… this movie just didn’t hold my attention. The improvements they made from T1 to T2 justified another movie, but T3 is the exact same movie as T2, just crappier with improved effects. When I heard they were making yet another Terminator movie, I wasn’t exactly turning cartwheels… that is, until I heard Christian Bale was in it in the starring role of John Connor. Bale has been my boy since Equilibrium (2002 – I know he’d been making movies since he was 14, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the movies he made before 2002), so suddenly, things were looking up.
Ever since I saw T2 as a kid and I got a glimpse of the war between men and machines, Salvation was the movie I wanted to see – this is probably why I was so unhappy with T3… or because the movie sucks. Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed Salvation, although apparently no one else did. Roger Ebert said, “After scrutinizing the film, I offer you my summary of the story: Guy dies, finds himself resurrected, meets others, fights. That lasts for almost two hours.” Not only is that almost the exact same review he gave for T3, but that’s also the most simplistic summary ever… in fact, it barely passes for a summary, because he’s leaving a ton of shiz out. Here is an actual summary:
Salvation has a lot more to offer than the other Terminator movies; it’s not just people chasing each other, there are interesting characters there. Unlike T2 and T3, you don’t wait the entire movie to see the Terminators fight each other. There are characters that actually evolve in this movie… I don’t understand why everyone hated it so much. I’ve read that people were disappointed it wasn’t rated R like the other movies, but that seems like a stupid reason to dislike a movie – to get the movie down from an R to a PG-13, they removed a guy getting stabbed with a screwdriver and a topless woman. That’s it. It’s not like they yanked the core out of the movie or something. And the movie rewards your patience: you get this scene at the end. NICE.
If you’re a casual Terminator fan (I’ve never watched the TV show or anything like that), I think you’ll enjoy Salvation. If you read the expanded universe fiction, I’m sure there is plenty in here to piss you off. But people seem to hate this movie, and I’m not sure why. It doesn’t have the previous movie’s silliness, and it has plenty of action; it’s gritty, the pace moves well and the story rounds out nicely. People act like the first two were Shakespeare… I just don’t get it. I don’t know what people wanted, but I liked this movie… I might be the only one.