Sunday, May 24, 2009

Terminator Salvation: Not a good movie

Last night L and I watched "Terminator Salvation." It was really stupid. I wasn't expecting a work of art, but I was hoping for an effective, zippy action movie to while away the night. Unfortunately the movie was pretty tedious and cumbersome. Christian Bale was working his best Batman growl, and Common was unintentionally hilarious as The Black Sidekick, but the movie was incomprehensible. I don't know enough of the Terminator mythology to really get into it, but every time someone asked somebody else what their name was, the person would say, "Kyle REESE," or "Marcus WRIGHT," in this fantastically overwrought way, and then wait eight seconds for the audience to stop gasping before they resumed their conversation. When people say, "What's your name?" no one answers like that; they say "Kyle," or "Marcus," and then try to give you their business card.

Some of the action pieces were entertaining, and the movie had a bleached-out color palette and dystopian vibe that I enjoyed. The time travel elements were silly, and the ending made no sense. So they destroy Skynet's central headquarters (oops, spoiler alert) but the war isn't over? Then why did we just bother with this whole thing? Also, the Marcus Wright character, who was sort of a terminator but didn't know it, was way cooler than boring, sanctimonious John Connor, who couldn't go five minutes in this movie without wrecking a helicopter.

Finally, if you were a brilliant self-aware network of machines, and you wanted to design a terminating robot to destroy humans, why would you design your own human-like robot? Why not just put a gun on top of a wheel, or something? To see these slow terminators lumbering towards their targets -- and then when they reach them, instead of doing something smart, like crushing their heads or shooting them, they pick up the human and throw them into a cabinet or something -- and then continue lumbering towards where they threw the human, so they can throw them at a car and hope maybe that that throw turns out to be the death stroke -- really? Really, Skynet?

It's a dumb movie. Unlike Skynet, it's not self-aware and is crushed by the weight of its own stupid backstory. On the plus side, we got to sit near the handicapped section of the theatre, so we had plenty of legroom, and our popcorn was delicious.

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