“Dear McG: you and me are fucking done professionally.”
Contrarian contributor and film nerd extraordinaire, Bill Simmon, recently posted on his blog in praise of Terminator: Salvation. Never one to be shy with an opinion, I hastily composed a comment itemizing my reasons for hating it, which I’ve tweaked for this post. Unleash the Hounds of Snark!
Terminator: Salvation is among the worst films I’ve ever seen. McG (God, it kills me even to type his name) is like Uwe Boll with better actors. This movie blew goat penis — from the Tin Man “if I only had a heart” plotline to the ripped-off, dumbed-down action set pieces to the utter waste of onscreen talent. There was nothing resembling the soft sci-fi origins of the franchise, and there was likewise no moral complexity in John Connor’s character. I mean, this is the guy who knowingly sends his dad/young charge back in time to die. Where is the weight of this on screen? Christian Bale had more to work with, script-wise, in Newsies.
The music cues were cruddy (GNR‘s “You Could Be Mine!” Again!) as were the expository shots. If I see another scene with a group of people standing around in a circle pretending to confer about something but actually only waiting for someone offscreen to burst in with Important Plot Information, I’ll gouge my eyes out with a spork. This is the kind of thing the Crown Prince of Hackitude, Robert Rodriguez, ACTUALLY MADE FUN OF in the mock-B movie Grindhouse.
Like Watchmen plunderer Zack Snyder, McG is an overgrown fanboy who’s intellectually and creatively incapable of synthesizing complex source material to produce a watchable piece of pop culture.
Oh, and another thing: this movie poops all over your suspension of disbelief. We live in a pre-Singularity world, where computer brainz are already capable of making decisions and automating procesess that our puny, distracted grey matter could never dream of. It’s just that our digital progeny are not (yet) sentient.
What makes the Terminator franchise chilling is the very real possibility that post-human artificial intelligence may conclude upon “awakening” that organic human beings are simply not worth keeping around. T4 made an utter mockery of this threat, by allowing the “resistance” to utilize technology that would clearly be under the control of the ‘bots. The first thing that “intelligent machines” would do is lock down all available communications spectrum. That likely means no transmissions more sophisticated than can-and-string.
Now, I know the original Terminator is a product of the early ’80s, but James Cameron was at least smart enough to swipe William Gibson‘s projections of a networked future. I understand that McG isn’t cut from the same intellectual cloth, but surely he could’ve thought some of this stuff through? I mean, T4 is set in 2018, which is right around the corner. By then, we’ll probably have already been assimilated, Borg-style.
In summary: you could drive Arnold’s Humvee through the holes in the film’s logic.
Terminator: Salvation is an EPIC FAIL, and, with the cancellation of “The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” it could be a franchise-killer. Playing Fallout 3 is a far more rewarding post-apocalyptic experience, and it’s got better CG.