Updated: Dec 19, 2019
It started as one of those classic Netflix scenarios, you’re comfy on the couch, keeping hydrated with a beer in one hand and scanning for titles with a remote in the other. But alas, nothing. Oh, wait… hang on, Terminator Salvation. Now I haven’t seen that since it was out at the movies. I remember I didn’t much care for it. Maybe I should give it another chance?
And so I did, maybe the beers helped, but watching it again with zero expectations found me enjoying this film a helleva lot more the second time around. I actually thought at the conclusion of the movie, it’s not perfect but why did I hate it so much the first time?
In the original Terminator 1 & 2, James Cameron creates a badass vision of a future where humans fight against robots like rats scurrying around in a dark garbage tip. All dark blue hazy death and destruction.
Terminator Salvation is often very much the opposite. Light, bright, open desert spaces, it couldn’t be more of a contrast. I think after I saw it I was like, McG haven’t you seen Terminator 1 or 2? Don’t you know what the future war is supposed to look like?
This time around though I noticed there was a lot I really liked on review. The opening shot where a helicopter comes down on top of a T800 and Christian Bale puts a round in its skull is a little nod to the start of the original Terminator film with a T800 crushing a human skull with its foot. It was a nice touch adding this shot reversing who’s being dominated and exterminated.
But the part to really love is the inclusion of the T-600’s. These robots are absolute nightmare fuel.
They look like metallic Michael Myers with mini guns. They look amazing!
The shots in the film of these things standing above humans being processed into camps is on the money for apocalyptic visions of a future human v robot war.
Overall what I like about this film is it’s a future where Skynet and Terminators are frightening, advanced machines of death, but have their own particular weaknesses that are exploited by the humans.
I think this maybe one of the reasons why pretty much all Terminator films after T2 have been duds for me personally. The T1000 although crazily advanced had limitations, and this was deftly handled by James Cameron. The T1000 was almost impervious to damage but could be slowed down, maintaining that sense of dread and chase throughout the whole movie.
However I feel that the franchise on a whole keeps moving in the direction to further advance beyond the T1000 which itself was nearly invincible.
Let me try to give you an analogy for how I feel about current Terminators.
When I have a large meal put in front of me I can eat it (and be filled with regret afterwards), but when a gigantic plate of food is placed before me, I just lose my appetite before I begin. And that sums up how I feel about Terminator films now, the robots are just so ridiculously advanced that it all just kind of kills it for me before it even begins.
Unfortunately I’m guessing the new terminator film will probably ramp up the Terminator skill stakes even further this time around.
What I’d love to see is a Terminator film getting back to T600’s and T800’s like Terminator Salvation, that, done with very limited CGI, I would pay money to go see.
What did you think of Terminator Salvation and the progression of the franchise?