Wandering Thoughts

June 13, 2009

Terminator Salvation – a review

Filed under: Ramblings and Musings — terence @ 7:37 am
Tags: ,

200px-Terminator-salvation-posterIt’s 2018 and LA has been laid waste. Buildings crumble and collapse. The roads are potholed and there’s garbage everywhere. Clearly that whole thing with the referendum and the un-repealable tax cuts has gone way too far. Arnie is nowhere to be seen.

There’s a war going on too, between man and machine. From the first early skirmishes with the Microsoft Office Assistant to the fuck-off robots now marauding the streets, it’s gone badly for humanity. By 2018 only the hunkiest and hottest people are left alive. And they’ve been reduced to wearing ragged, revealing clothes and speaking solely in clichés. There’s hope, though, because the robots’ latest weapon is a creature – a half robot half human – and maybe, just maybe, its human side will win out.

I was 10 years old when Terminator was made. I suspect I was a few years older still when I was finally able to watch it on video at a friend’s place. With its buckling switchblades and “fuck you arsehole”s, it was total teenage cool. Hardly a masterpiece but it almost had a story and a dark edgy world as well. I was old enough, by the time Terminator 2 came out, to cringe quite a lot. But the leaping trucks and Guns’n’Roses made up for the Hollywood dopiness. Or, actually, they were part of it. But they were good dope.

As far as good dopiness goes, Terminator 4 (I completely missed Terminator 3; was unaware it even existed), has a bit. Mighty leaps, shuddering explosions and helicopter crashes that will have you ducking. They’ve all the imagination of a cut and paste from an explosions manual. But you’re still going to want to cling to that dope, because it’s the only thing that will get you through the movie. Over the continent sized holes in the plot. Past the sheer corniness of almost every word that is spoken. Beyond the most implausibly easy open-heart transplant ever performed. And to the last line, which is essentially an advert for the next sequel. (This in itself is scarier than any of the cyborgs).

None of this is news of course. And I suppose anyone who goes to see the third sequel to any movie deserves what they get. But how hard would it be, with all that money, and all the ideas out there, to make something that was still silly but at least resembled a story more than it does a spreadsheet formula:

=BOOM(8*STUDMUFN–(PLOT/1000)*SUM(CLICHÉ)+POPCORN+SQL) = $200,000,000

If this is entertainment then the robots have already won.

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