Friday, May 22, 2009
I saw TERMINATOR: SALVATION, and it was pretty good. For me, it fell between “good action” and “emptiness.” What I mean by that is there were plenty of explosions and some really decent fight scenes (especially with the motorcycle and “snake” terminators) but I didn’t connect to everything else that was going on.
Now, before anyone reminds me that this is just a “popcorn movie,” I have to say that I believe “pop flicks” can transcend the somewhat demeaning title. Just because you’ve got robots and pyrotechnics doesn’t mean that there can’t be characterization that sticks with you. Even in a dark, post-apocalyptic world, you can still find yourself attached to what’s going on. With T:S, I didn’t feel that extra “oomph”—moments where the world reaches out of the screen and into you. But having said all that, this movie has nothing at all to be ashamed of—the performances are top notch and it looks great, with a bleak view of the kind of future we’d hoped to see in this series.
I guess what surprised me most was the lack of screen time for Christian Bale/John Connor. I expected the action to focus primarily on him. It doesn’t. Instead, we concentrate on a guy named Marcus, and while his story is a good one, I wanted more John. And I have to say that my favorite performance didn’t even include John or Marcus; I loved the teenaged Kyle Reese because, as played by the Chekhov kid in the recent STAR TREK, he was a perfect rendition of what Reese might’ve been before he became the time traveling hero we know and love. When Kyle is first identified on screen, it’s a bit of a shock because of Anton Yelchin’s big blue eyes and delicate features—this will be one of Connor’s best soldiers?—but immediately Yelchin made me see the burgeoning kick-assedness in him, as well as the heart that will be swayed by a mere picture of Sara Connor.
So…there are definitely things to like in the movie. But also a bit of disappointment, though not to a high degree.