<SOME TERMINATOR SALVATION SPOILERS>
Most film critics usually avoid speculating on movies they haven’t seen yet. That’s where I come in. I usually refrain from bashing films before seeing them, but I love to speculate on pre-story concepts and images from trailers etc. After getting tasked to review the upcoming film, Terminator Salvation I decided to go back and re watch the original trilogy. I was especially focused on the future war references and its time lines. More on that in a minute.
First let’s examine some of what we know about director McG’s plans for Terminator Salvation, the first of a planned Terminator trilogy starring Christian Bale, as John Connor, Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese, Sam Worthington as Marcus Wright, Charlotte Gainsbourg as Kate Connor, Moon Bloodgood as Blair Williams, Jadagrace as Star, Common as Barnes, and Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor.
Previously titled Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, is the story of John Connor’s post Judgment Day rise into becoming the leader of the Human Resistance. Set in 2018, the future wasn’t what Connor was expecting due in part by the appearance of a mysterious stranger named Marcus Wright who’s last memories are of being on death row. Connor must decide if he’s been sent from the future or rescued from the past. This leads them deep within the bowels of Skynet as they discover the chilling reason for the supercomputers attack on mankind.
This protector angle sounds derivative of the last 3 films where a Terminator helps our main character. Oh did I forget to mention Marcus is a Terminator, at least that’s how his action figure describes him. I wonder if the Terminator franchise will ever let go of that formula? The on set script rewrites also concern me, as that’s a clear sign of a film that’s being written as its filmed. (For example: Waterworld was rewritten during filming) I also have to wonder if this partially contributed to Bales frustrational outburst on the set?
I think the biggest problem that I have with this new direction is that its a trilogy driven future war epic. Sounds like that would be exactly what fans of Terminator would want, right? Well sure if it was written differently and produced by James Cameron, but McG ? As a big Terminator fan, let’s just say I expected something more original than this. I think we all agree that the final money shot of the Terminator franchise will be to see how Reese is sent back in time. However It seems Warner Brothers wants to save that scene for the very last ten minutes of the third film, that’s assuming of course they make a third film 6 years from now.
Unbelievably like the new Star Trek movie, it seems Terminator canon has been crushed under the foot of a cyborg. Referring back now to original Terminator canon, Kyle Reese didn’t meet John Connor until 2027. He only served under him for two years before volunteering to go back to protect Sarah Connor. Seeing Reese learn the ropes from the older Connor is a pretty big violation, not to mention reminds me of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Yelchin is a fine actor, but he wouldn’t be my pick for Reese as he looks nothing like Michael Biehn or even Walter Koening.
Also what’s with the Transformer/Cloverfield inspired Harvester? This thing has moto-terminators that apparently come off its legs, deploying death OC Chopper style. Meanwhile it sneaks up on people and scoops them up like a trash truck. Hmm, It seems to me like there going to fill in plot holes and bad writing with all kinds of cyborgs. Apparently over 25 different versions (not to mention a larger and scarier T-600 model) have been developed for the film. In the original film Reese mentions that the infiltrators were the newest and the worst, beginning with the T-600’s. They were the first to imitate humans and had rubber skin, not machine gun arms. None of the future war scenes ever mentioned a giant Terminator that would walk around and scoop up people, I wonder why Reese never mentioned them? The Harvester so desperately reminds me of a Transformer as do the Robotron inspired moto-terminators. There also elements of that giant spider in The Wild Wild West. Its like some producer told McG there has to be a Transformer type huge robot in the film, like in Wild Wild West. “Were counting on you McG!”
Sure I’m writing this with a somewhat obsessive, humorous, and closed minded approach to the upcoming Terminator film, however I don’t write this without some experience. Who of us hasn’t seen past franchises suffer in quality, not to mention absolutely shit all over their origins in a brutal attempt to make as much money as possible. I don’t even feel I need to give any examples there have been so many. I guess my reason to write this was motivated after watching the original Terminator film and noticing how badly the new film abused the canon set up in the first film. Personally I would have done a single sequel to Terminator 3, Rise of the Machines, and delivered the money shot we all want to see, at the same time written in an unexpected ending that would at that point led to a possible sequel.
Ah well, now its time for you to tell me if I’m totally wrong about McG and the direction of the Terminator franchise, or perhaps just obsessed beyond normal parameters.
Terminator Salvation opens on MAY 22, 2009.
Until then I’ll be watching you like a T-1000 McG!