Monday, May 18, 2009

Afros Do Not Belong In the Future

"TODAY IS OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!" Bill Pullman the Suck once said. This, however, is not our independence day from silly Terminator movies. Today, along with my friends Josh, Jonah and Brad I observed the new Terminator movie, Terminator: Salvation. What befell my eyes, I believe, was an honest attempt at the future story line. The movie, directed by McG, was a step above the third film in the series but had none of the heart that the second film had. The main thing that sets the third and this one apart is the color pallet and the absence of our favorite Californian governor. The film sets a tone with it's drab greys and browns and dust throughout, a far cry from the daylight and bright colors of Rise of the Machines. The set design is very good. I can bet a good portion of the film's budget was utilized in creating a believable world. The buildings and sets looked worn and crumbling as if a sneeze will knock down some of the structures amidst the sands. As a post-apocalyptic world should be. Yet, in spots, all that stood out was some poor lighting, pulling me right out of the experience.

Another complaint was the stupid mute eight year old girl. I have no idea what purpose she has in the story except to infuriate me. She doesn't say a word the entire film and yet has a fair amount of screen time. Add on top of that a giant, wild afro. Yes,in the post nuclear destructed world she inhabits there are no barbers and, yes, she lives with Kyle Reese eating dingo or whatever, but, that doesn't excuse the her blatant Hollywood hair or her lack of emotion. I'd like to think that if a building was falling around you, the fright just may might be palpable or if the leader of the human resistance was close to dying I wouldn't expect to see her being the only one in the background looking as if she just missed her first acting lesson and picking her nose.

With the exception of Michael Ironside, Moon Bloodgood and Sam Worthington, every other actor within the film should have been replaced. Common's perfectly sculpted beard has no place within the confines of film. Period. Helena Bonham Carter, though bald-headed, should have been eschewed from the DataDyne storyline, and yes, Christian Bale, or, dare I say Batman, could have been looked over for someone else. The look of John Connor, through Mr. Wayne, I mean, Bale, was there. The belief in him and the struggle for the human race was not. The Batman voice is back in full force and that is exactly how it sounds: forced. There were a few moment when standing side by side I could not distinguish who was talking, Bale or Worthington. That is not a good direction. I wonder if Sam Worthington would have been more convincing as John Connor. He was the best part of Salvation. I'm taking it that his organic heart within his metal skeleton was the "heart" of the film.

I am a fan of needless explosions and there are many in this film. I was riveted in a few of the film's action sequences, especially the first that introduces John Connor to us. In an extended shot we follow him from the exterior of a helicopter to the inside where he pushes a dead body from the pilot's seat, which he climbs into and proceeds to, unbelievably, take off. The shot follows his ascent from the ground, to his his connection with a rocket, through the descent to the ground and his unbuckling of the seat belt. To which he falls to the top of the screen, as the heli has landed on it's roof. This was a well directed sequence and there are others to add to it.

As I understand, this is McG's first true action film and I am going to say that it is a very good effort. May I repeat "effort" and not success. The direction and screenwriters relied heavily on throwbacks to the second film so much as to include, but not limited to, basically the same set design and cues from the climax between Arnold and Robert Patrick in the metallurgy plant. The fight between the two terminators was reminiscent of the showdown between the T-800 and T-1000 and when Kyle Reese is sent up an elevator, it recalls Arnold sending John Connor up almost the exact same one.

This "review" may seem altogether harsh but, as it stands, my Best Movie Ever pedestal has on it's surface seated Terminator 2: Judgement Day and this fourth movie in the series just does not compare. James Cameron was right in ending his involvement with the series after the second. He achieved the vision he set out for. The future war between man and machine is enticing but there is no heart to this tale, just Batman playing war.


I Want My Family Back!! said...

""TODAY IS OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!" said Bill Pullman once"

Bill Pullman the suck.