DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Terminator Salvation - DVD Review

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</script></div>{/googleAds}When word came down that another Terminator film was on the way a couple of years back, the first question that hit most of our minds was, ‘without Arnie'? The Terminator himself had become the Governator instead; his last flick, a Terminator film, had passed by with mixed reactions in 2003, and now another new director would attempt to mine James Cameron's universe. It would not be unfair to say the reception to this news was less than enthusiastic.

Comicon 2008 had director McG and various cast members touting some footage, and acknowledging they knew they had their work cut out for them in bringing the audience's reticence for another Terminator flick around. The footage was impressive enough, and McG's intent seemed to genuinely bring a fresh approach to the franchise. Did he succeed?

Terminator SalvationFollowing on from Jonathon Mostow's ‘Rise of the Machines', Salvation picks up in the aftermath of Skynet nuking the world and having the human survivors scurry in dark corners like rodents. John Conner (Christian Bale), the man prophesized in the original trilogy to lead the resistance against the terminators, is not yet the leader. He's an embittered, scowling grunt trying to do his bit and fulfil his destiny. Trouble is, the powers that be don't believe the hype. Marcus (Sam Worthington) is a man seemingly out of time; first introduced before the bombs fall on death row, and mysteriously alive and kicking as the main story kicks in. When these two men cross paths, some heady questions arise. Conner and Marcus, despite their differences, decide to go against resistance orders and affect a rescue mission and try to discover the answers to the riddles that plague them both.

There are problems, story-wise, from the outset. Like so many modern spectacle flicks, ‘Salvation' doesn't know whose story it is. There are equal character threads for both the Conner and Marcus characters that do not easily cohere. The character that ties them together, Kyle Reese, is also off on his own arc/dilemma, and while the attempt is obviously to make the story more complex than its predecessors, the effect is a disjointed narrative and characters we don't really care about, because we don't spend any time bonding with them. Once again, as in ‘Spider-man 3, a very talented Bryce Dallas Howard is completely wasted with a pencil thin character, Kate Brewster—Conner's pregnant wife. She has zero story responsibility and acts merely as window dressing in a few mediocre scenes. But what astounds, with all the characters and different plotlines is how anaemic and heavy-handed the ponderings of our race become.

As much as I am thrilled he has been Batman for the last few years, I am not thrilled Christian Bale convinced McG to switch from the Marcus character to John Conner. His permanently scowling, gruff John Conner is a stark contrast to what we have come to know of the character and he simply doesn't pull it off. The character is unlikable, boringly monotone, and not someone we could see inspiring hope in anyone for the future. Sam Worthington, who has garnered some praise from his performance, definitely has the better character of the two leads, however (and this reviewer is an Aussie and wants to cheer his countrymen on) his American accent is terrible and distracting (and isn't any better in ‘Avatar' either).

The effects, the one thing Hollywood can be relied upon to wow an audience with, are spectacular. A particular cameo (which I am sure most of you know by now) is a testament to the miracle of what is possible now. McG definitely varies things up with all manner of machines for the resistance to fight. But since we have already seen the T-1000, TX, and the pinnacle of the machines technology, it feels like a step back despite the spectacle and perhaps highlights the definitive reason why this film does not succeed:

Modern technology is being relied upon far too often at the expense of a good story—at least as the selling point. The best stories keep it simple, let you follow on the shoulders of a character you like, and let you have some fun along the way. ‘Terminator Salvation' tries too hard to be different from its progenitors, misses what is fun about the franchise, and passes, at best, as a well-presented dystopian story that takes itself far too seriously.

Component Grades
2 stars
0 stars
DVD Experience
1 Star


DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 2.40:1

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish.

Language and Sound: English: DTS 5.1 HD French-Canadian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; making-of featurette.



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Deleted Scenes

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Photo Galleries

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Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging


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