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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Terminator Salvation again

This week's movie rental was Terminator Salvation. I have 'again' in the title because I apparently posted about it before, then deleted (or partly deleted :). Anyway, I shall combine the two posts here.

Terminator Salvation is the fourth film in the Terminator series and stars Christian Bale and Sam Worthington (the guy in Avatar), and begins in 2003 when Dr. Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter) of Cyberdyne Systems convinces condemned murderer Marcus Wright (Worthington) to donate his body for research after his execution. Next thing we know, it's 2018, a short while after "judgement day" when intelligent machines took over the earth and began the eradication of human life. John Connor (Bale), a leader in the human resistance fighting the machines, comes to the realization that he must find a man named Kyle Reese (his future father) and send him back in time to meet John's mother, save her from a terminator (also sent back in time) and conceive him. While in this pursuit (and while learning that the machines have created a new version of the terminator that looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger) he meets a mysterious stranger, Marcus Wright, who will help him in his quest in a way neither of them can imagine.

- John Connor looks for Kyle Reese at Skynet's headquarters

Roger Ebert gave the movie only two stars in his review. In some ways I do agree with Ebert .... though there are some nice special effects, there are too many explosions and very little character development - the movie almost seems like it's been abridged. But having said that, I wonder if part of the reason Ebert didn't like the movie is that he's not so familiar with the storyline - he admits to never having seen the first Terminator movie.

- Marcus, looking the worse for wear

So, I thought I'd sum up the earlier films below, to put this fourth episode in perspective ......

The first movie (my favorite), made in 1984, starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a terminator, a human-looking flesh-on-the-outside and machine-on-the-inside cyborg sent back to the present from the future to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the woman who would give birth to a son, John Connor, who would lead a resistance force (Tech-Com) to threaten the supremacy of the ruthless rule of artificially intelligent computer-controlled machines (Skynet) in the future. In that future from which the terminator came, the then adult John Connor sent someone back too - a young member of the resistance, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) - to save Sarah, defeat the terminator, and along the way impregnate Sarah with John ..... does your head hurt yet? :)

The second film, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), has a storyline that is set about 11 years later than the first film. Kyle had died in movie #1, Sarah has been put in a mental institution because of her nutty predictions about a future AI apocalypse, and the young Jon Connor (Edward Furlong ) lives with foster parents. At this point, two terminators arrive in the present, one (Robert Patrick) sent by Skynet to try this time to kill John, as their earlier plan failed, and the other terminator, played by Arnold, is re-programmed and sent back by the future's John Connor to save his younger self and to destroy the left-over parts from the terminator of the first film, used by Cyberdyne Systems to begin creation of smart machines. Mission accomplished, or so it seemed.

Something must have been missed, because there was need of a 2003 terminator intervention :) .... Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. This was my least favorite one. By this time, Sarah Connor is dead, John Connor (Nick Stahl) is an off-the-grid paranoid awaiting an inevitable doomsday, and Arnold, who plays another good (re-programmed) terminator, is sent back from the future by Connor to defeat the plans of the bad (this time, female) terminator, sent back by Skynet to kill the human resistance's future lieutenants, including Connor's future wife (Claire Danes), thereby preventing the soon-to-be organization of Tech-Com .... whew! It ends badly, as you would expect - Skynet, hidden software in cyberspace running on computers throughout the world, initiates the war against human kind with a series of nuclear strikes against various cities, and few others besides Connor and his mate manage to survive.

Which takes us up to Terminator Salvation ... the groundwork is thus laid for a fifth movie, in which, I suppose, Kyle will be sent back to the past to save Sarah, and the ouroboros worm of terminator will bite its own tail :) Here's a trailer ...


Anonymous vitamin e said...

This weekend the fourth installment of the Terminator franchise Terminator Salvation was released, but has received an extremely negative response. The film is currently tracking at 34 percent over at Rotten Tomatoes. Skeptics have been calling it “dumb” and they say it lacks “depth”.

1:18 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Yes, I think it's the worst of the four, but I do like Sam Worhtington, so it was worth a warch for me.

12:33 PM  

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