The Terminator series is near and dear to my heart. T2: Judgment Day was one of the first movies I even remember seeing and is also one of my favorites of all time. Same goes for the original. Both are phenomenal achievements in filmmaking. They have a smart, thought-provoking storyline that perfectly integrates science fiction and time travel as well as human emotion… that, and they are full of bitchin’ action sequences.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines has always made calling the franchise a ‘great trilogy’ dicey. Did it fail on a level that would make me choose to ignore its very existence? Not at all (I’m looking at you Matrix: Revolutions). It had some good action and it followed the canon well enough. As a stand alone action film I would have considered it well above average. But it has the misfortune of being judged as part of a pedigree that has set the bar tremendously high. And thus, most recall it poorly.
Salvation takes place in the near future that the other films only hint at or show snippets of. It is 2018 and the war against the machines (post judgment day) is in full swing. John Connor, while not technically leading the resistance, has become an inspiration to the survivors of the nuclear fire through the radio (as depicted at the end of T3).
This is only the first of what is set to be another trilogy, which I presume will end with the sending back of Kyle Reese that begins the original film. And I’m okay with that. I’ll take it.
Do these movies need to exist? No. The story has already been thoroughly laid out. Is it cool to see, with today’s special effects and stylization, what that war looks like? And on top of that, is it an easy way for the studio to drum up some cash using a successful franchise that requires no heavy lifting script wise? Absolutely yes on both counts.
So in the end, Salvation proves entertaining as fan service but doesn’t make any great strides one way or the other for the franchise. It’s a good blockbuster and it doesn’t mess anything up. Worth checking out if you are a fan of the series.
…oh yea… Did I mention I saw Angels & Demons? Umm, yep. I did. It was… yea. Not worth its own blog post even. I read The Da Vinci Code before seeing that film, this time I went in blind. And that helped me appreciate how poor these films are as products. There is no detail, no subtlety and no nuance. Which are the qualities that make the books so popular. But alas, none of that translates in this format. Don’t bother unless you read the book and can fill in those sizable gaps for yourself.