I think it speaks volumes that the television arm of the Terminator franchise, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, was canceled just prior to the release of Terminator Salvation.
You would think that having a "summer blockbuster" coming out would boost fall ratings on any television show, even if it was struggling. But the executives in charge of the life or death of The Sarah Connor Chrinicles must have watched Terminator Salvation and walked right to their desks to start filling out pink slips as soon as the credits started rolling.
I really wanted to like this movie; Terminator is one of my favorite films, I like Christian Bale as an actor, I love Helena Bonham Carter, and I think Anton Yelchin is the next coming of Shia LeBouf. However Joseph McGinty Nichol, better known as McG, is as pretentious and infantile as his name would imply. Hopefully someone in The Industry will wise up and send him back to directing The Pussycat Dolls.
That's not to say that the film didn't have merits. The thing is that the good parts weren't where I expected them to be. To be perfectly honest, half the movie was FANTASTIC. The other half had Christian Bale in it.
After seeing his performance in Terminator Salvation, I'm beginning to think that Bale's ego is turning him into the next Jack Nicholson. Granted, it could be the direction and the script, but Bale's John Connor came off as a flat, one dimentional, angry clone of Bale himself. Honestly, Connor's unjustified broodyness reminded me alot of the unjustified anger that George Lucas shelacked onto Hayden Christiansen's Anakin Skywalker. John Connor comes off as a flat, unlikeable, sorta spoiled Darth Batman.
It's no wonder that Bale was throwing fits on the set. Bryce Dallas Howard's Kate Connor was lifeless and boring-- acting opposite her must have been much like what Andrew McCarthy experienced acting opposite the actual mannequin in Mannequin. Plus, the John Connor storyline was weak at best, and had one gaping plothole that the only justification for which I can come up with is that the T-1000 scheduled a Candygram to be delivered to Skynet's office moments before it went online to give it the information it somehow had in 2018.
The film's editing was horrendous. There was one cut early on in the flim that was so jarring that I turned to my neighbor and asked "What the fuck was that?" so loud that the Warner Brothers Exec that was sitting in front of me turned on his mini LED flashlight and made a note about it.
The movie's B storyline really should have been the primary focus of the film, because Anton Yelchin and Sam Worthington truly carried the movie. Kyle Reese and Marcus Wright were brilliantly fleshed out characters that you almost immediately sympathized with and cared about. Plus, both those kids can act!
The Reese/Marcus storyline was exciting, well fleshed out, and would have held its own had it been bumped up to the A story line, and John Connor relegated to "the link to the previous movies we had to have in here." But we can't have everything, I guess.
I think the biggest disappointment of the entire movie, though, was the ending. Or, should I say, the lack of an ending.
There's no triumphant victory. There's no tragic loss (at least not one that seems to have any impact on the characters -- way to go, McG!). And while there's a closing monologue, there's no sense of hope, just resignation. Resignation that we, the audience, are going to have to sit through another one of these turdburgers if we want to know how the story ends.