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25 May 2009 @ 07:25 pm
Terminator Salvation  
First, I will preface this by saying that during this movie was the ONLY time this entire fucking weekend my head hasn't been killing me.

So you will not be surprised that I liked it.

I'm sort of... perplexed, honestly, by people who don't seem to GET that we've moved on from the genre of the first three movies. It's a war film now, it's not an Unstoppable Zombie chase flick anymore. So many critics seem to boil it down to whining about how it's not "one bot chasing John" anymore. But that was a given as soon as T3 ended with Judgment Day - it can't be about preventing the apocalypse when the apocalypse has already happened. It's a terminator film, but it's not a chase film, like the others. It's DIFFERENT.

It's exciting. Shit blows up. Those are a given.

But more importantly, and the part I liked best, is we see John taking over as leader. He's a leader of his own group but still subject to orders from command. He's in the resistance, but he's just one piece in the wider war. But he's fighting the machines. Yet still willing to partner with one to take down all the others, just like he always does.

It's interesting to see John both in his HQ, planning and being all leaderly - but then when he's on his own, you can see the boy trained by his mom and a bunch of guerillas. Clotheslining the cycle-bot, infiltrating Skynet, hacking the HK...

Though Marcus' journey isn't particularly new (especially for a Battlestar fan), it was nonetheless striking maybe because he WAS truly a cyborg, in a way that the Humanoid Cylons aren't (everyone runs around calling them robots, but they're really not. They're clones). When he realized he'd been played the whole time, he acted as a human would.

And well done, show -- I LOVED the fakeout when they're testing the signal. Definitely sets up a red herring expectation for how the end battle will play out.

Small Things I like:
- everyone was well-cast. Obviously I'm in it for Christian Bale, but Sam Worthington is really good too.
- terminators EVERYWHERE. All kinds. scary big ones and creepy little ones. And H-K's will never stop being COOL.
- Blair is awesome and her escape plan kicked ass. She made her decision and she stuck to it.
- that Kate didn't immediately jump on Blair's bandwagon of Marcus is good.
- after the talk with Blair, John doesn't dither or keep her in in the cell, he just lets her go
- I liked how Kate's being pregnant was not a PLOT POINT OMG, to put her in danger or kill off the baby for extra angst, or whatever. it just IS, and the point, that the human race continues even in the face of all this death is quiet but there. (I do, however, assume it's layered there for future use) She still goes on the extraction mission.
- John saved Marcus trying to Defib his heart; he could've just run away, but he didn't. And that act of mercy (and possibly tactics, to get Marcus' help) saved his life in return.
- LINDA HAMILTON'S VOICE (more so than Arnie's face - look, I see the governator's face everyday)
- the little touch of John obsessively combing over the tapes trying to find out what he missed, if he's really in a new future after all.
- "What do I tell them when they ask where you've gone?" "I'll be back." *DIES*
- Star and Kyle's team up of awesome.

Things I wish were different:
- I don't really buy that John would go spreading about the whole "prophesied leader of humanity" thing. That didn't seem like something the general 'public' should know. I think the concept of John's radio addresses and his knowledge and success in war against the machines should be what moves people to join him.
- How does Skynet know that KYLE is number one on the kill list? Isn't the whole point of the time travel to get Sarah and John because it doesn't know who Kyle is to John? (Obviously once John tells Marcus Skynet knows then, but it knows before that) So how did it find out? But that might be a reason for John to send Kyle back - he's no safer in the present with John, and he might hope that it'll turn out differently.

Ok, let's talk about the end. :)

First of all, the ending we didn't see? The one where John dies and his skin gets ripped off and put on Marcus? Yeah, I gotta say this one is INFINITELY BETTER. *gag* (this is a new trend I don't care for -- Ron did it to Anders, and now this-- the INTEGRITY of the character matters. The same face is NOT the same character, and while only Anders fans cared about that, the lead of an entire franchise being changed that way? WOULD NEVER WORK)

But in fixing it, they didn't go for the obvious thing, which would have been to change where John got hit -- through the stomach, maybe, rather than the chest. Then he still would've been nearly dead, but after a little surgery, he'd be fine.

Instead, they stayed with the heart damage. And while the concept of a heart transplant does strain belief - within the story, it's obviously a Hail Mary pass, that John's dying so they've got nothing to lose by trying, once Marcus volunteers. And externally I think they picked it because it fit with the theme. The beginning and end bookend nicely, and there are tidbits throughout about talking about what separates men and machines, and especially John's speech about men becoming machines because they don't care. John will now owe his life to Marcus, to a machine who is purposefully sacrificing himself so John can live. In a sense, Marcus got the second chance he didn't even want - and now he's giving it to John.

So I can live with it, from a thematic point of view. But you know what makes it even better? You notice how there's this thing about FAMILY through the movie? Marcus' brother was killed, he says. Barnes' brother dies in the first op (and thank you also for having Barnes just accept that and not go all off on John for it, in some stupid "you got my brother killed" rampage). You've got Kyle, obviously, as John's father. John and Kate are expecting.

So you want to know how organ rejection isn't going to be a problem in my fanon mind? Obviously it's because Marcus is family.

Because Marcus is DEREK. :)

ok, the timeline doesn't quite match but *waves hand vigorously* Derek said it best: "We all die for you, John." And I like to think he did it in this 'verse too.

Speaking of Terminator, I gotta start my scc_reloaded fic. One of these days. Soonish.
Merry Fivanolix on May 26th, 2009 06:28 am (UTC)
Interesting review. I'm so torn on this movie...I would really rather not spend all that money on a movie that most people seem to dislike, fans and nonfans alike—I rarely have better opinions than the crowd. But I don't want to miss out either, especially when there's a few reviews like this. Gah, tough decisions!

I liked seeing your point of view, though. I miss T:SCC so bad, reading this and knowing that there's no more Dekker or Glau in my Terminator. *sigh*
lizardbeth: Connor and Katelizardbeth_j on May 26th, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
I think people are expecting the wrong thing, is my issue with many of the reviews. I've read people bitching about it being 'bleak' or "dark' and I gotta roll my eyes at that -- it's after the apocalypse, morons, of COURSE it's going to be bleak. And it's not nearly as dark as it could've been.

Are you gonna get t.v. show level character examination? No. The movie's not even two hours long, there's no room. But you get a little, plus a coherent story, and well-directed action. It's NOT a shiny technobabble-filled team flick like Star Trek. And McG and Co set themselves up for a lot of people being unable to swallow the ending, but I don't think the last two minutes make the whole film awful, even if you don't buy it.

I would encourage you to see it big screen, if you have interest. HK's are much cooler when they're BIG!
To Hell with this. I'm gonna live!: {cr} You'll be the death of mejustmyb0nes on May 26th, 2009 07:10 am (UTC)
*tries to not read* okay Im weak Ive read a bit :p

I got a little question : is there something at the end of the movie, you know adter the end titles?
lizardbeth: C Bale - T4lizardbeth_j on May 26th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
I didn't stay all the way, but hubby did, and he didn't mention anything, so no, I don't think so.
To Hell with this. I'm gonna live!: {ts} Bale close upjustmyb0nes on May 26th, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)
hehe thanks!!

btw, I wanted to ask you something. I always read your reviews of all sorts you post here and I was wondering if you would mind to post them @ fandom_mania ? You can just post fake cut there and direct people here or post it direclty there if you don't want people you don't know coming here. Or you can tell me to go to hell.See you got many choices LOL
noybusiness on May 27th, 2009 12:07 am (UTC)
Sounds like a great movie.

"- I liked how Kate's being pregnant was not a PLOT POINT OMG, to put her in danger or kill off the baby for extra angst, or whatever. it just IS, and the point, that the human race continues even in the face of all this death is quiet but there. (I do, however, assume it's layered there for future use) She still goes on the extraction mission."

This has to be the best part of the review.

How is Helen Bonham Carter's character?

Derek = Marcus? Hmmm, why not.

Totally off-topic: I wonder why did the Final Five make many copies?

lizardbeth: C Bale - with botslizardbeth_j on May 27th, 2009 01:47 am (UTC)
well, "great" may be going too far, but I thought it was fun. What it promised by the trailer, delivered, and that's all I wanted.

Her character is interesting and important, but not in it very much.

y'know, I've thought about that, and the best one I could come up with was many multiples was a requirement of the Centurions. Maybe they wanted as many bio-bodies as there were Centurions at the time and it was easier to make multiple copies of the same model than thousands of different models.
noybusiness on May 27th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
I knew she didn't have that much screentime but was an important role. I'm glad you think her character's interesting. I really need to see Star Trek and this movie.

I wonder, did Sam have any Centurion friends? How did they contact them anyway?

In Cavil's case, at least, it must have helped to have many assistants. Or maybe they figured that if a design worked, why not run with it? Or they saw it as like the birth of multiples. Or thought that society only needed archetypes. Interesting that they didn't copy themselves.

I think about the detail the Five must have put into each one and why they made them the way they are. Why did Saul, Ellen, et al take it into their heads to have D'Annas or Sharons? There's no shortage of fascinating there.

Another big question probably never to be answered: did the Five intend to make contact with Armistice Station ever?
TwistedHilaritytwistedhilarity on May 27th, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
It's rather funny...all the people I know liked the movie. All the people I don't know, didn't.

I'm thinking the 'likers' have more coherent reviews, IMO. :-)
lizardbeth: C Bale - T4lizardbeth_j on May 27th, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
*laughs* My review was written on headache meds, so I'm not sure it's all THAT coherent, but thank you. :)

I know I'm not terribly hard to please, especially when it comes to action flicks (where admittedly I don't expect two hours of character development), but with a few reviews I feel like people saw some other movie. weird.
Signal to Noise: SCC Derek Soldier Boyun4scene on May 27th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)
OMG, you are genius! Marcus... is Derek... and there he was in the Resistance's LA Branch training Kyle while fighting the need to tell him "Luke Kyle, I am your brother" Gah! The angst!

Well, in the least that plot twist would make the atrocious ending easier for me to swallow. Truly, I felt like we'd jumped into the The Sun Also Sets where brain fevers can be cured by a quick surgery on a restaurant's bar.
lizardbeth: C Bale - with botslizardbeth_j on May 28th, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)
My fanon assumed that Marcus didn't know that he is Derek - the whole "Marcus identity" would be someone else's that was given to him so he wouldn't feel connected to humans. But whatever floats your boat. heh.

I am, in fact, Queen of the Fanwank/Handwave *g*, which is why for things I like or want to like, I'm very rarely angered enough by mistakes to write off the whole thing. There's almost always an explanation if I think about it enough (sometimes it's even what the PTB intended!)