21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories

The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Review:

Terminator Salvation (2009)
Director McG - stgarring Christian Bale and Sam Worthington and Moon Bloodgood
Daniel Cann

I was uncertain of how this film would play out before I went to see it. I am a fan of the original and learning that this one was to be directed by ‘Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle’s’ McG as well as a star turn from Helena Bonham Carter (What? Merchant Ivory meets ‘The Terminator’) I had my misgivings.

A few years ago I felt the series had run its course and had nowhere to go. I went to this one hoping that the film lived up to its trailer and my misgivings were unfounded.

Well, for starters it has eschewed the time travelling of its predecessors, focussing on the not too distant future (2018). The war between humankind and the machines is in its full throes after ‘Judgement Day’ and John Connor (Christian Bale) is a rising leader of the resistance, not quite ‘The’ leader yet. He is assisted in his struggle by his wife Kate (Bryce Dallas Howard), and his lieutenants including Barnes (Common) and the feisty and independent Blair (played with passion by Moon Bloodgood).

The plot sees Connor trying to track down his father Kyle Reese (played here by ‘Star Trek’s’ new Chekov: Anton Yelchin), the man who is destined to be sent back in time to protect Connor’s mother. Also pursuing Reese are the machines. The race is on and it is not just Connor’s future that is at stake but humankind’s future as well.

Sam Worthington as Marcus Wright deserves praise for his sensitive portrayal of a man who wakes up in an apocalyptic future to discover he is not who he seems to be in true ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ style. His story and character arc is of as much importance and interest as Connor’s.

As you can probably guess, there is not much humour present in this one. There are no dry one-liners delivered by Arnold Schwarzenegger, as he is busy being the Governor of California. His image is used in a scene involving a T800 however. The film is not worse off for its lack of wit as it would have looked out of place amongst the chaos and the carnage and the world being portrayed.

The film brings to mind George Miller’s ‘Mad Max’ in style and look as Skynet machines like Harvesters and Moto-Terminators tear up the landscape looking to either destroy or enslave humans on the run in the desert. Visually the film is a triumph, you are totally immersed in this dystopian desert world and the pace leaves you no time to ponder.
There are also nods to ‘Blade Runner’ for style as well as to the previous entries in the series. Luckily it avoids being overly reverential and appears fresh and original as a consequence.

Bale may be a tad monosyllabic at times but the other characters that become entwined with the main story manage to lift everything. I found myself just as intrigued by Reese’s and Wright’s journeys as much as Connor’s. That is my only minor quibble in a film that is packed with incident, action and suspense. It otherwise deftly avoids making any wrong steps, vividly bringing to life a bleak future where people are being hunted to extinction by relentless machines and our only hope lies with the belligerent and unbowed resistance.

This will appeal to fans of the original and deserves to win over a new audience. The Terminator is back!

(For an Alt viewpoint: The hero was the baddy, a bland performance from Sam Worthington, Christian Bale was intense but nothing was explained, very little made sense and the audience were restless and often bored. Moon Bloodgood is worth watching but given all she has gone through she falls for a machine? No one ever discusses what drives the machines or why they continue to exist themselves. A film to avoid. But doesn't look as bad as Transformers 2 however Ed.).

More reviews


© Hackwriters 1999-2009 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibility - no liability accepted by or affiliates.