In retrospect it seems ironic (or, perhaps, just plain wrong) that the man who provoked Christian Bale’s infamous wig-out on the set of Terminator Salvation was the film’s director of photography. Because the look of this fourth Terminator movie is pretty much the only good thing about it. Certainly, the film’s prevailing gunmetal tones perfectly fit a grim plot in which John Connor (Bale), his pregnant wife (Bryce Dallas Howard), and a mysteriously resurrected convict (Sam Worthington) fight an array of killer robots in a post-holocaust world. (Actually, the mystery of Worthington’s character was, unwisely, resolved in at least one of the trailers, but I see no reason to repeat that error here.) To be fair, my colleague Owen Gleiberman liked the movie more than me and director McG is not the first person who has failed to live up to a franchise standard set by James Cameron, maker of first two Terminator films. Witness David Fincher’s Alien 3 which followed Cameron’s sublime Aliens. However, Fincher’s effort was at least interesting. Terminator Salvation, on the other hand, is both an unbelievable snooze and simply unbelievable on more levels than even the infinite space afforded by the internet has room for me to recount. Finally, I found it impossible to care about what happened to characters this thinly sketched. In particular, the three-dimensionality of Howard’s role pretty much begins and ends with her bump. It is also tempting to say that even Bale appears, for once, to just be phoning things in except (a) we have evidence that he wasn’t and (b) the last thing I need is for that guy to get mad at me.
What did you think about Terminator Salvation? Did it live up to Cameron’s Terminators? Hell, did it live up to Terminator 3?