24 June 2009

Terminator Salvation

McG directs Christian Bale as John Connor in the fourth installment of the Terminator series.

URBAN: Extremely Kinetic, way better than T:3

This was one of the films that I was looking forward to this summer. Once again I am dissapointed, but only slightly this time. The film keeps the viewers interest with great action and pacing, but ultimately is a failure in the way it fails to add to the Terminator legend.

I don't know why this film got such terrible reviews. It probably had something to do with the dark themes and often frightening sequences involving dehumanizing mechanical forces (which visually recall the holocaust). While I thought the film had several shortcomings, these issues are largely personal and deal primarily with the lack of meta-arch information. One area that the film really hit on the head was the action. The opening sequence, especially the helicopter crash, all look outstanding and set the dark tone extremely well. Despite the focus on John Connor, the character of Marcus Wright is actually the most interesting and the one who drives most of the plot. With regard to the action, he provides important balance to the fight scenes, which would have been overwhelmingly just shots of Christian Bale getting a beat down.

More importantly, the character of Marcus Wright drives the plot forward and provides the only window through which the viewer can approach the key philosophical questions that the Terminator series brings to the table. His ability to fully reason and participate in human community-while also having a fully mechanized endo-skeleton, provide an interesting answer to the primary component of humanity.

The film fails to answer any of the questions regarding artificial intelligence or tell the history of the first battles between man and machine that provide the setting for all of the Terminator films. The unwillingness to share on these issues nearly forces this film into the same category as the completely derivative T:3. Despite the new, post-apocalyptic environment in which this film is set, it is only the new characters and the intense action which keep it out of this zone.

Alas, great action is reproduced and improved upon every summer. Five years from now the effects used in this film will begin to feel outdated (Check out The Matrix now and tell me the cg doesn't stand out). McG goes for the pure adrenaline rush and largely succeeds. Success of this kind doesn't directly correlate to any type of long lasting status. We will probably forget about it by the end of the summer.

URBAN: Recommended

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