Back in November of last year I reported on McG’s Terminator Salvation “presentation.” You can read all about it here. I call it that because I can think of no term that describes the event any better than that. In London, in front of numerous members of the press, director McG showed some footage from T4 and held a Q&A session with the press where he addressed some of the rumors that were floating around the web at that time. I may be the only one who interprets it this way, but I took this “presentation” as McG’s way to sell us on his vision for the Terminator franchise. Well, that was back in November. Apparently, it’s time for another attempt to sell us on his vision. McG held another presentation to show some more footage and this time he had some stills from the film blown up and printed onto poster board. The shots were proudly displayed in the room. LatinoReview got the scoop and some photos of the blown up stills, and I will bring you a recap. The footage shown was a compilation of clips, some of which are either identical or similar to the clips that were previously shown, in addition to some very spoilerish new clips. If you don’t want to read any spoilers I suggest you stop here and scroll the rest of the way down to the last paragraph. <Spoilers Ahead!>
The clips that were shown during this presentation begin to show some of the underlying themes and gives you a real good idea about what this film is really about. They give the impression that this first film is very much about the growth and protection of a young Kyle Reese, and how he grows into a man. In fact, the footage seems to suggest that many of Reese’s classic lines from the original Terminator film stem from young Kyle’s brotherly relationship with Marcus (Sam Worthington) Just like the last two Terminator films were all about the protection of John Connor, it seems as though this one will be about the protection of Kyle Reese. If you read my previous Terminator update, you know that Marcus is in fact a machine, and his intentions and allegiances are unknown. The footage shown backs this fact up. In one scene where Connor (Bale) is searching for Marcus, Marcus emerges from a lake where he had been pulled under by the now infamous “snake like” terminators. As he walks out of the water, you can see parts of his skin have been ripped off to expose the metal underneath. John rushes up to Marcus, his assault rifle pointing at Marcus’ head, demanding to know who and or what Marcus is, and why he shouldn’t blast Marcus’ head right off. Here is the interesting and revealing plot point: Marcus tells Connor that young Kyle Reese was taken by Skynet. John needs Marcus to get him in so he can save his young father. Connor asks Marcus straight up “What are you?” To which Marcus replies “I don’t know.”
I have made my opinions about McG’s new Terminator models known everywhere anyone will listen. I don’t like the idea of giant terminators and terminator motorcycles. It would seem as though I am not the only one, as many of McG’s stills had these new terminators in them and the longest clip in the mix up of footage featured both the harvester and the moto-terminators. The scene shows Marcus and young Kyle Reese meet a band of people at a beat up abandoned gas station. Because I couldn’t say it any better myself, here is the description of the aforementioned scene, as told by LatinoReview:
Suddenly one of the men gets pulled through the ceiling, followed by another. There’s a Terminator outside, an HK (Hunter Killer) As the giant HK rips through the gas station the entire group is flung through the air. It grabs humans from the ground and drops them into a holding pen containing several others inside one of the flying HK’s we are familiar with. Part of the group attempt to escape by car only to be blasted to smithereens by the robot from a great distance. Marcus and Kyle manage to maneuver a gas tanker under the robot’s legs and ignite an explosion by shotgun from the back of their tow truck while speeding away. It looks like the HK is down for the count, but it quickly emerges from the smoke unscathed. The HK robot is too large and lumbering to properly pursue Marcus and Kyle in the tow truck so it’s lower legs quickly open with a motorcycle HK emerging from each one. Kyle manages to drop an oil drum and detonate it with the shotgun to stop one, but the other is still in pursuit. Their only hope is to drop the winch from the tow truck and use it like an anchor to get this Terminator on wheels tangled up. They manage to succeed and finally the pursuit is over. Or so they think. Just as they reach a massive suspension bridge that flying HK pops ups again, cruises ahead of them and blows out the middle of the bridge before cutting to black.
So the “harvester” houses the “moto-terminators” in it’s legs? At least now we know. But, being completely honest, the description sounds cool. If only these “harvesters” had a slightly less transformer-ish look, I would be okay with this. But it doesn’t seem likely that McG will change the look of this model, as one of the stills (below) features the “harvester” and it looks the same as it did in the leaked concept pictures from back in October.
A lot of the footage in this presentation seemed to show off more emotional aspects of the film. There was more of a human element in the footage, including a scene where young Kyle tells another survivor to stay alive in their heads and their hearts. This is actually a good bit of news. The thing that I loved the most about the original terminator films was the emotion, the sense of heart and feeling. Let’s face it, if you are fighting evil robots that are trying to kill you, are you going to be able to keep it together all of the time? No. You’re going to have times that feel impossible, you’re going to feel sad, you’re going to feel hopeless. And if McG is successful in capturing that feeling and showing it in this film, it could be really good. So there is still a glimmer of hope for all you die hard Terminator fans.
In the end, I feel like there were good and bad aspects of this “presentation.” But the good parts leave me with hope that this film could be good after all. I have been blasting McG for a while now, I’ve made no secret about my dislike of what this film was becoming. The one point I keep hearing from McG and T4 supporters is that this film is supposed to be different from what we know. It takes place before the time mentioned by Reese in the original. And we have to remember Connor’s line from the teaser trailer. “This is not the future my mother warned me about.” Okay, I get that. Things happen. Things change. I certainly don’t expect everything to be the way I imagined it way back then. BUT, and this is a big but, why do we have to see these radically different designs? McG seems to have gotten one large model terminator right (as pictured to the right) but I just don’t like the harvesters or moto-terminators. All that said, I will still see this movie opening weekend. Because I just can’t help but dream about the future war. And there is hope for this film after all. For the complete breakdown of the footage shown, just click here.
One final thought for everyone: McG has taken a lot of heat for his vision for the franchise. The man has been bashed since Charlies Angels. Some of that criticism is warranted. His films haven’t exactly been hits. In fact, you could say his films haven’t even been good. But people change. It is possible that Terminator Salvation could turn into McG’s breakout hit. It is still possible that the film will be an excellent representation of the future war that has been implied since the original film. There has to be something there, Christian Bale did sign on for this. He has a history of being very picky about what roles he signs up for. He doesn’t just do any film, he won’t sign unless he believes there is a good story to tell, a strong character to play. So let’s give this film a shot. If it doesn’t do well, I will be the first to blast it big. But if McG pulls it off, I will be the first to admit that I was wrong. Let’s wait and see.
Terminator Salvation will hit theaters May 22nd, 2009.