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*** Official TERMINATOR SALVATION Review Thread


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#1 of 31 OFFLINE   George_W_K

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Posted May 18 2009 - 02:27 PM

Just got back from a sneak peek of this and I have to say that I am very pleased. Terminator: Salvation was a very entertaining movie and I thought fit into the Terminator universe very well. The special effects were top notch and the sound mixing was very well done. This will definitely be a great demo disc when it's released on blu-ray later on.

Sure, there were a couple of "yeah, right" moments, but nothing out of the ordinary for this time of year. Overall, the script was pretty good.

There were a couple of spots where it seemed like some scenes were missing, though, so either the editing was a little choppy, or we might be seeing a director's cut of this film when released on home video. Still, I thought this was a solid movie and I definitely will be going to a second viewing this weekend.

8 out of 10.

#2 of 31 OFFLINE   Stephen Orr

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Posted May 18 2009 - 03:27 PM

I just got in from a sneak of “Terminator Salvation”, hosted by a local television station and Warner Brothers.The crowd in attendance was appreciative of the early look at the latest entry in the Terminator saga.

I love James Cameron’s two Arnold-driven films. My son, Kyle, was born in 1984 (though his mother claims he’s named after a great grandfather of hers..). I saw T2 at least 5 times in the theater when it first came out, and rewatched both Terminator movies this past weekend in anticipation. I thought T3 was borderline silly, although I liked the action, and it did put John Conner and Kate in a safe spot as the bombs dropped on Judgment Day. I have to say I did enjoy Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles as well.

I will be honest and say, I also like some of McG’s work. The two Charlie’s Angels movies are guilty pleasures. I appreciate that he has some influence on the series “Chuck”. I’ve been very interested in how he would handle the first full length film to deal with the future war.

Some mild spoilers may follow:

The plot in a nutshell – It’s 2018 and John Conner is a rising maverick in the Resistance. In addition to figuring out ways to disrupt Skynet’s communications with its mechanical army, he’s also working hard to locate Kyle Reese, who is current one of two members of the “LA branch” of the Resistance. The Resistance itself is a loosely organized multinational force with threadbare but effective resources – subs, planes, helicopters, and other weapons. We first see John on a mission to destroy a Skynet stronghold (the Very Large Array, by the looks of things). John and his team discover that Skynet is working on a game-changing terminator just before the stronghold is wiped out, along with the team.

Entering the picture is Marcus Wright, an death-row inmate who, in 2003, agreed to turn his body over to Cyberdyne for research following his death. Not knowing what has ensued after his execution, he wanders confused until he runs into a teenage Kyle Reese and a young mute girl named Star. He agrees to help them connect with John Conner, who is broadcasting encouragement and tips on how to take down the very ugly T-600s.

Through a series of action sequences, a couple that riff on Road Warrior, Kyle and Star are captured by Skynet, Marcus is captured by John, and man and machine must work out a rescue before Skynet’s San Francisco facility is blown off the map.

What worked:
The action and effects. Wow, just wow. Between the variety of terminators shown – the hydr-eels, the moto-terminators (very cool), the large terminator gathering human prisoners, the hunter-killers, and the T-600s and T-800s – and the large scale action scenes, that stuff just hit all the right notes for me. And when you-know-who shows up for the final fight, the audience went nuts!

The nods to the earlier films. Kate Conner is there. Seeing “Cyberdyne” on the release form Marcus signs at the beginning of the film. An explanation of the scars older John has on his face at the beginning of T2. Nice call-backs.

Danny Elfman’s score, and the sound of the film, in general.

What was not so good
The characters could definitely have been developed more. The only ones that we really knew a lot about were John and Kyle, although it was nice to see why Kyle would idolize John so much. The other characters, especially the female soldier Blair, could have used a little more backstory.

The ending of the film. Early reviews have touched on this and I have to agree. Even my friend commented about how, with the injury John suffers during the final fight, no way he could last so long plus, please, those battlefield conditions for the kind of medical resolution they fell back on. It could have been staged a bit better.

All in all, though, I had a great time with the movie, and am looking forward to seeing where they go with the series.

7.5 out of 10, or 3 out of 4.

#3 of 31 OFFLINE   Diallo B

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Posted May 18 2009 - 05:17 PM

i just saw a pre-screening of this and it was terrible.

stunts and special effect were great. movie was awful. they could have did better putting this budget somewhere else.

my god, the editing was atrocious.

seriously, if you want to see some stuff blow up you are in the right movie. if you want to see a good movie go see star trek again.
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#4 of 31 OFFLINE   vanourney

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Posted May 18 2009 - 06:08 PM

I just came back from a preview screening. I thought this film was AWFUL--I am having a hard time thinking of something I have hated more in the past few years. I would compare it to Matrix Revolutions/Alien vs Predators i.e. FRANCHISE KILLER! I was a big fan of the previous films too and was a little miffed earlier in the day too that Fox cancelled the Terminator series. What a boneheaded move, I thought, cancelling a series when this new movie is about to open and possibly create new interest in the series. This movie was so bad I could care less now. I just want to cleanse my pallet of all things Terminator. THIS IS SCI-FI CHANNEL ORIGINAL MOVIE-QUALITY, folks. If you were to replace Christian Bale with Greg Evigan or David Hasselhoff that is what you would have here. Huge disappointment.

#5 of 31 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted May 18 2009 - 10:05 PM

This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Terminator Salvation". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



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#6 of 31 OFFLINE   Shad R

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Posted May 20 2009 - 01:44 AM

I am going to pretend this movie doesn't exist. I'm going to hope it goes the Highlander 2, Rocky V, Never Say Never Again route. What I mean by that is if the film makers continue with Terminator movies, they will pretend this one never took place and ignore the events of this film and make a TRUE fourth movie. Sure it will have the Terminator name, but it will not be an "official" Terminator movie. That is my hopes.
Who saw Charlies Angels and said "That's the guy for Terminator Salvation"?
No character development, no well written dialogue, no one I even cared about. And, I'm sorry, but yelling every line does not make you a good actor.
And if someone can explain to me the method they used to get across the mind field I'd greatly appreciate it.
As others have said, this movie was poorly edited.
I'm being generous here because the first two action scenes are great, and it got me pumped to see the rest. Unfortunately the rest was a letdown.
C-

#7 of 31 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted May 20 2009 - 06:43 PM

It is late, and I'll keep this short and sweet. At least until the morning when I plan to give this film the business in the Discussion Thread.

Flat and tepid, with fundamental character and narrative flaws. It did have a nice look, and some well done action scenes. Occasionally, it came alive for a few moments. I am glad I tempered my expectations or I would have been exceedingly disappointed.

Bummer,
5.5/10
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#8 of 31 OFFLINE   Charlie Kaus

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Posted May 20 2009 - 07:41 PM

Just got back from a midnight screening. It was not a bad movie but not an excellent movie either. I enjoyed the action scenes alot. The plot left alot to be desired though. All in all a good summer popcorn movie. Ebert said it best

"It gives you all the pleasure of a video game without the bother of having to play it."

3/4

#9 of 31 OFFLINE   MarkBirds

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Posted May 20 2009 - 09:19 PM

This movie was just plain dopey. I was disappointed. Posted Image
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#10 of 31 OFFLINE   Cory S.

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Posted May 20 2009 - 09:57 PM

Seems as if the character and heart was left on the cutting room floor for this thing because everything else seems to work just okay.

I'm now very, very curious about those 30 to 40 minutes of deleted scenes.

This film just feels like studio interference...

And yet, I think I like this film more than T3 just for this simple fact that it wasn't a self parody. At least McG took the mythology and the plot very seriously because the film is played very, very straight. The cheesiness comes from Elfman's score (Who would've thought that?!).

I just don't think I can pass judgment on the film YET until I see those deleted scenes because I think that's where you can find the rest of Bryce's and Christian's performance....
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#11 of 31 OFFLINE   Jose Martinez

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Posted May 21 2009 - 04:36 AM

yeah the editing was awful. it seemed like there were scenes missing

special effects were definitely top notch

overall, entertaining but it could have been better.

*** / *****
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#12 of 31 ONLINE   mattCR

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Posted May 21 2009 - 01:44 PM

Punchy editing.
Paint by numbers dialog.
Stilted delivery.
Storyline that is the equivalent of Matrix sequels.
Forgettable.
Insane coincidences that make you think Skynet runs the lotto.

One of the worst summer blockbusters I've seen. To give you an idea, compared to this, Wolverine looks like (insert solid summer flick)

D. 2 good effects, but not enough to pay for the price of the ticket.

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#13 of 31 OFFLINE   Brian Dobbs

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Posted May 22 2009 - 01:26 AM

Cameron told his story. McG is telling this one. This new trilogy really is different than the first. Yes, they are based upon the same mythology, but that's about it.

I watched this last night with my Dad. (His favorite movie is T2.) We were both really entertained. This movie is not what audiences were expecting. I believe the people who were disappointed by this movie were expecting Bale's Connor to be more like Craig's Bond or Sutherland's Bauer, where the focus is just on the one main character.

This movie essentially has two main protagonists, with one slightly overshadowing another. I'm sure that doesn't sit right with most. Bale was initially contacted to play Marcus Wright. He turned it down and wanted to play Connor. Why? Who knows. Perhaps he felt passionate enough about the new story and believed in that character more. Perhaps it was because he wants to see the sequels made.

You have to give McG credit here. This movie was just different than the typical summer blockbuster fare. No quick cuts during the action scenes. Jeez, did you see that opening battle scene? Seamless! Long shots! Amazing! They really put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into making this movie.

Sure the movie itself may have had some unnerving transitions. I'll keep my fingers crossed for the extended Blu-Ray.

***Side note. Some idiot brought his 4 year old to the movie and sat in our row. How irresponsible! What an idiot. To make matters worse, this kid was coughing up popcorn kernels multiple times during the movie. On the other side of us, some other idiot didn't know how to eat quietly. He ate his popcorn one piece at a time during the whole movie. Towards the end this fatso was SHAKING the bag loudly to separate the unpopped kernels from the popped. Oh, and then he unwrapped the Milk Duds box midway through the movie (during a quiet part) and proceeded to drink them from the box. I hate people.***

Watch the movie. It's Terminator for crying out loud.

#14 of 31 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted May 22 2009 - 05:59 AM

Terminator: Salvation isn't terrible but it's not very good either. If you just want to see action, you'll be satisified but if you're looking for anything more, you won't be getting it. The story is pretty muddled but they try to clear it up with lots of looped lines. On the plus side, the last 30 minutes of the movie really pick up. The effects are great. It's real cool when Arnold shows up (via a CG head). And I give them credit for not trying to be joke-y with the tone of the movie.

Overall, it's much better than Terminator 3 but that's not saying much.

#15 of 31 ONLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted May 22 2009 - 08:08 AM

I like the film for what it is which is an action film with a long history attached to it due to the prior "Arnold" films. I was totally entertained throughout the film. Could it have been better? Yes, it could've been with some additional scenes explaining how John Connor became this great resistance leader. Or further development between John and his wife. I do agree that the editing was disjointed so an extended version will hopefully improve that aspect of the film.

All together, a good summer action film that didn't reach its full potential, but it was entertaining enough to keep me interested throughout it's entire runtime.






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#16 of 31 ONLINE   Simon Massey

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Posted May 22 2009 - 09:12 AM

I also enjoyed this film a lot - much better than T3. Glad we also have a Terminator movie which isnt just a chase movie. Surprised by the focus on Marcus Wright rather than John Connor and whilst I hadnt seen any trailers, the big surprise was obvious after the opening.

As everyone has said, some of the editing was awful. It just seems like they yanked entire scenes out for an extended version. Whilst the cuts were jarring, I didnt feel like it spoiled the film, but who knows, the extra scenes may improve or detract from the film.

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#17 of 31 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted May 22 2009 - 06:20 PM

I found myself very much disengaged from the film because there is no good character hook into the story, and I also fear it was due to chopping out a lot of character development/backstory footage for the plethora of action money shots that failed to support the personal stakes of the characters because I simply had very little in terms in investment into the characters in this particular installment of the Terminator franchise.

Character arcs are what fueled the first 2 Terminator films, and McG and company don't understand this fundamental core tenant, and you are left with a lot of action porn, and very little story and narrative foundation, which requires stuff to blow up to get from scene to scene.

In the end, I have a "meh" reaction to the film as a whole.

I give it 2 stars, or a grade of C.
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#18 of 31 OFFLINE   Chad R

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Posted May 23 2009 - 02:00 AM

I can't say I liked it very much, even as a mindless action movie. As has been mentioned in other reviews, the film has no heart - no human side. It's very dour and every character is terribly underwritten.

It feels more like a video game than it does an involving story. It's about the mechanics of the machines and the plots more than it is about the motivations of the characters. The one time the film turns on an emotional decision, it's so poorly sold that it rings false. It's very noticeable since the film's main plot, it's central goal for the characters, could be such an emotional focus - John Connor must save his father's life and thereby meet him for the first time. But it's never once mentioned in those terms. It's always, Reese is the key to the future and the past, or some such mechanical nonsense. They never revel in the humanity of the situation.

But probably most criminal of all is that it lacks a clear antagonist. The film just wants to rely on the ethereal force "skynet" as the bad guy. But as that isn't given a face or pinpoint presence in the film, there's not a palpable threat. Even "The Matrix" which was about a similar "machine" threat gave us Agent Smith. And again I fear this is the influence of the video game age where antagonists are reduced to bad guys that are "multiple targets" to shoot at. The original worked so well because the antagonist, Arnie's Terminator, was so clear and menacing. Even Robert Patrick's menacing T-1000 was a wonderful bad guy to root against. This film has none of that.

And on a purely nitpicky geek note - the future war looks nothing like it did in the original films, i.e. a nuclear junkyard full of cars and debris. Everything takes place in the day, not at night (which gave the future war that beautiful look and feel). Everything is white, and not bathed in blues. You also got the sense in the original films that these guys had no technology to fight technology. They drove around in junk cars with machine guns bolted to the top. You got the sense that it was their will to live that caused them to beat the machines, not jets and helicopters in perfect working condition.

Ultimately, the reason the film failed for me was that the action just wasn't fun. It was ugly and loud (Sure, the sound mix was loud with plenty of bass, but it wasn't balanced well and was very strident). Too much of the action was shot like "Saving Private Ryan", following characters around and not showing the total geography of the scene, building the tension of where the opponents are, what they are doing, how close to death the heroes are. It was just boring.

And that sums up the movie. It was just boring.

#19 of 31 OFFLINE   Phil Florian

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Posted May 23 2009 - 05:08 AM

I saw this last night and a lightly attended theater in Cleveland (to be fair, the Cavs were playing game 2 with a lot at stake, so..). I really enjoyed the film and I think having really lowered expecations helped. That said, I had a good time. The story was decent service to the action and some of the action shots were inspired. There was an initial chopper scene that looked to be shot in one take that was pretty cool. The T-600 scene was good, too. I like Yelchin as Reese and Worthington as the lead (as I think he is more focal to the story than Bale's Connor). It was a nice continuation of the original storyline, too. Shows that mucking with time can have some serious repercussions. I didn't care for the ending but the lead up to it was fun. Someone expecting HAMLET (as seen above, apparently) might not be too happy but it was a good action film. Oh, and it was good to see Michael Ironside on screen, again. Been a while. In fact, this is the kind of fun sci fi flick that Ironside was known for gracing in the 80's so it is a nice return to form.

#20 of 31 OFFLINE   Brett_M

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Posted May 23 2009 - 06:32 AM

I can't really add anything that hasn't already been said. Good but not great. I enjoyed parts of it very much but it felt too small. Truncated and not epic in the least.

I think Conner should have been in the background -- just a voice on the radio, inspiring others to resist. Inspiring Kyle Reese, who I thought was one bright spot. I liked Marcus Wright but -- as written -- his is a lame quest.

I guess what I'm saying is this is not the story that should have been told. The blame for this weak reboot lays firmly at the feet of the screenwriters -- lazy, bush league stuff. Criminal, really. There were nods and winks throughout (certain action beats, lines of dialog, etc) but they were obvious and cheeky. Actually, this reminded me quite a bit of the newest Friday the 13th and latest Indiana Jones film. There were portions taken from other films in the older series blended with new stuff. The whole climax had shades of T1 & T2 -- certain shots were cribbed completely, like the Terminator foot going up the stairs and the melting/freezing sequence. This is a hodge podge of ideas that looked good on paper.

Too many characters were completely under-written -- Ashdown and the sub crew. Useless. Also, the Blair character looks as if she just came from a Revlon photoshoot for the whole ruinning time. Jane Alexander given nothing to do. Barnes -- I could care less. Connor's wife and unborn child -- given nothing to do. Skynet is not scary smart enough.

Here's what I wanted:

John should have been addressing the resistance from Crystal Peak. The resistance is fighting off the T-600s with rubber skin. Marcus should have been trying to find him to get help for a pocket of freedom fighters, only to be revealed as the first infiltration unit with human tissue. Kyle saves him in the nick of time. He give Kyle the photo and tells him that there is a special mission for him.

"Terminator: Don't Bore Me" shows the resistance getting their asses kicked by new and improved AI -- losing their weapons, aircraft, etc. John, wife, child, and Kyle are driven into hiding. Pockets of survivors are rounded up for easy disposal. John reveals himself to the resistance and teaches the survivors to fight, to storm the wire of the camps and smash those metal motherfvckers into junk.

"Terminator: The One You've Been Waiting For" shows the last mission -- the last great offensive, capturing the lab complex and sending Kyle through after the Terminator. Skynet destroyed. The End.

Here's hoping there is an extended edition on Blu-Ray.

**.5/5
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