May 25, 2009
There are a few things that don't belong in Terminator movies: little kids, huge talking heads on screens explaining the plot, celebrity cameos, inexplicable romance that threatens to overtake scenes, and talking dogs. The guy who insists on referring to himself by his childhood nickname has haphazardly inserted the first four of those elements into Terminator Salvation, and in all likelihood we can look forward to the fifth one in the upcoming sequel.
What bothers me about the utterly mediocre Terminator Salvation is not simply the fact that it was made. I'm not necessarily a Cameron purist and I actually liked Jonathon Mostow's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, even if was significantly inferior to Cameron's first two. No, what bothered me about Terminator Salvation is that despite, or maybe because of, the frequent references it made to the quotes and action elements from the earlier movies, it severely lacked vision, terror, originality and confidence. Worse, the guy who insists on referring to himself by his childhood nickname thought that he could actually adapt or update or otherwise modify this story for a new generation by adding "fresh" ideas that simply leaving you scratching your head.
For example, what in the world is a mute child doing as an important character in a Terminator movie? Where were the typically heavy - and heavily intriguing - dialogues/monologues about the war and Judgment Day? In the future, shouldn't the aiming accuracy of both the humans and machines' weapons be far more advanced, not worse than ever before? And why was Common given any face time in a completely worthless role? (And don't think I'll let slide the fact that he was wearing stylish aviator sunglasses during the climactic nighttime assault.)
I imagine the guy who insists on referring to himself by his childhood nickname would explain these bizarre decisions by saying he was trying to bring his own style to Cameron's vision, but it almost seems from Terminator Salvation that he didn't even see the first two movies, but just heard about them and picked up on the popular catch phrases. After this movie, well I'm tempted to say we'd be lucky if Judgment Day actually arrives before his tentative sequel comes out in 2011.