Terminator Salvation review by Rosie

Terminator Salvation

I suppose this is my own fault. I mean, if you don’t want to spend twenty dollars of your remaining net worth and two hours of your remaining net life being peppered with a hail fire of clichéd, overly melodramatic, painfully self important, CGI-enhanced, visual piss balloons – then you don’t go see a movie made by a guy who calls himself “McG”, right? Clearly. But at least I can still recognize when I’ve made a colossal mistake and admit it … can you, Mr. Nichol?

So, where to begin. Technically, this movie is a return to glory for the classic Terminator franchise we have all been informed repeatedly that we loved from our collective childhood. This is important to know going in, because there is provided little to no other indication in the actual film itself as to what this movie is supposed to be about. Because it is named “Terminator”, I suppose we can infer that it’s about some sort of war between humans and machines through time travel somehow that all depends on whether one suburban white boy from 90’s America lives long enough to do something singularly miraculous that we’re not really ever sure what it might be but will somehow win the time travel war for humans for all time the end. And if you’re wondering why super-intelligent machines would still be making their armies of killing robots in the most-inefficient-of-all-possible humanoid forms in the future when they don’t need to be wrapped in fake skin to blend in anymore, or why they would tip their hand to their future dominance by sending these robots back in time to before they were invented, and why humans didn’t then just act to prevent the machine takeover once they knew it was coming (because of the time travel robots) by stepping up safeguards on new technology or suspending some pursuits altogether, then shut up that’s why.

Terminator Salvation picks up the story sometime in 2018 (really?), when the Earth is a desolate wasteland of crumbling cities, tribal scavenger men, the clean, attractive, fashionably made-up young women who love them, and their dinosaur robot overlords. John Connor (Christian Bale) is all growed up and this close to finally fulfilling his prophecy somehow when the robots capture his teenage father (Anton Yelchin), who is younger than him now but needs to grow up and go back in time to sleep with his now-dead mother when she was then-not-dead or else Connor himself will be a never-was now. Further complicating John’s worst week ever, is the arrival of possible wolf-in-sheep’s clothing Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) – a thoroughly sincere-seeming human who turns out to be internally rebuilt with robot guts. Right from the drop Johnny C. doesn’t trust this lying dickbot one bit, but he soon finds himself facing an increasingly difficult moral and philosophical dilemma as he gets to know him and realizes they are more alike than different and will need to work together to succeed. (Wow … that seems like a lesson we could all apply to life in the today world – like with all the different color peoples! Thanks McG!)

From there the two of them set aside their differences and launch a coordinated strike on Robot City (using their high-tech, conveniently not-controlled-by-computers smart phones with Robot City map apps) to save John’s literal baby daddy from a death that anyone who has seen Terminator 1 already knows won’t happen. Things blow up, people fight, people blow up, things fight and by the end it’s perfectly clear to everyone that they’ll all “be baaaack” (get it???? HA! OMGLOLLMFAO!!).

Though it’s true that I’ve never actually read any books about conducting performance reviews or offering constructive criticism, I’m pretty sure they all recommend that you open with a compliment, address criticisms in the middle, and close on a positive note. I think it’s called “dishing the passive-aggressive sandwich”, but I could be making that up. Since I may still someday be destined for that great, vacuous void of upper-middle management existence anyway, I figured this would be as good a time as any to start practicing the fine art of tactfully delivering a bad review. (Turning around now to put on off-white, short-sleeve, button-up, light cotton dress shirt and durable tie … and, action.)

There he is! Joey McGenius, come on in, have a seat. First off, love the hair. Definitely what the kids would call “fresh”, my man. Been thinking about freshening mine up a little like that myself. Seriously - fresh lettuce, bro, give me some dap. Up high. Sweet, … sweet. Aaaaanywho, just a couple of quick notes about the ol’ mizzovie here. Great stuff by the way, exciting, I mean really exciting stuff all the way through. Personally, I loved it. I mean, “hype”, just, really, really hype stuff there. I was all hyped up. But, you know, some of the old suits upstairs had a few questions for you about a couple parts. (Talking now with back of hand to side of mouth in exaggerated secret-telling tone) You know how it is with the old number crunchers around here sometimes – wouldn’t know real art if it came to change their diapers. Sometimes they need guys like you and me to just lead ‘em right by the nose to see it. (Hand goes up for a high five … awkward silence … hand goes back down).

… so, how about I just toss a few of these out for you and maybe we can figure out what the dealie-yo is here in a way that works for everyone. Question 1: “Terrible.” (Flipping over paper to check for more on back) Okay, that one’s not really a question. Seems like maybe someone didn’t get a chance to finish their thought ... we’ll come back to that one. Question 2: “What is the magical black kid all about, is there supposed to be something poignant about her or something? The whole gimmick seems ridiculously contrived at best, and like transparently lazy stereotyping at worst. Terrible.” And, uh, I’m just gonna keep reading a few of these and let you get a general sense of the kind of feedback they’re looking for. Question 3: … mmmmm (pause), we can probably skip that one…. Question 4: “Why is Christian Bale talking in the Batman voice? Wasn’t that the only thing everyone hated about The Dark Knight? Is he trying to tank this role or is he just testing McG to see if he’ll say anything? Why didn’t McG say anything?” Question 5: “Are the painfully unsubtle allusions to Jesus, 1984, and all of the previous Terminator movies supposed to mean something about some kind of larger, cohesive moral subtext? Because they don’t. They just don’t. This whole thing is terrible.” Uh, we’ll just look at a few more of these here, (flipping through large stack of questions/complaints) mmmm ba-da-da-da … Question 44: “Is this a joke? Is that Borat guy filming us watch this right now? Come on, where is he? Wawaweewa!” Not sure why he’d actually write that last part out but, uhhh … Question 71: “McG is a firebreathing douscheba-” -I think you get the general idea.

So listen, G, MickeyG-dog, hate to do this but I’ve got Ronnie Howard coming in here to go over his new Da Vinci Code fustercluck in like five minutes (hand to the face, talking out the side of the mouth again) saw it this morning - more like “A-holes and D-bags” if you ask me (hand back down). So why don’t you get your thoughts together a little on some of this stuff, see maybe what you can tweak here and there to give the babies there bottles without messing too much with your own vision, and set up a time with Trish on your way out to come back in a few days so we can get this baby all hammered out and ready to roll. Alright, we cool? We cool here, G-mack? Good, oh, and McG – this weekend: you, me, tapas, tequila – feelin’ me? We’re celebrating a big summer for you, I mean it. I’ll tweet you.

(Aaaaand scene.)

In sum, don’t let yourself or anyone you care about make the same mistake I did. Terminator Salvation is the cinematic equivalent of a spoiled rich kid who feels entitled to treat you with contempt and still expect your appreciation based on its famous family name alone. Terminator Salvation hates you, but it can’t hurt you if you don’t let it.

3 out of 10 Jackasses
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