I’m beginning to think I’m unsophisticated, easily led, maybe even a little stupid. I read the reviews for Terminator Salvation and they say ‘doesn’t capture the magic of the original’ or ‘haggard, nothing new’. They say that it’s a tired franchise and that it was a confusing and fractured movie. I know cinema is an artform, and in art there are as many opinions as there are people. Everyone reacts differently, but still, I think about the movie I saw yesterday and I wonder what other people went in expecting?
The first two Terminator movies are similar in layout, in my view, to the first two Alien movies. Terminator is a very personal story about a single machine trying to kill a single person and anything that gets in the way. Alien is a claustrophobic story about a single alien trying to kill the crew which eventually comes down to a single person. Both Terminator 2 and Aliens ramp up the action and move away from the heavier horror elements. I’ve seen reviews complaining that Terminator Salvation doesn’t capture the glory or the originality or the heart of the first movies. Well, I hate to break it to them, but Terminator Salvation isn’t trying to do that. It’s trying to be a modern action-based continuation of the Terminator story. On top of that, how much heart was there really in T1 or T2? Yes, we get the emotional bond and relationship between Sarah and Kyle in the first movie and we get a bunch of cheesy surrogate-father activity in T2 but they aren’t the mainstays of those two films.
I loved T1 and T2, I think they’re fantastic movies. I think T3 should have been different, but it had some okay elements. Personally, I think T4 (Terminator Salvation) is at least as good as T2. But the rush of bad reviews make me question my own experience, maybe I missed something they saw, maybe I saw something that wasn’t really there? I have to keep reminding myself that it’s art, and everyone experiences it differently. I think if you go in expecting something, and you don’t get it, then it leads to disappointment, and I think too many people went in with too many expectations. I’m not saying I lowered my expectations, but I went in prepared to watch MCG’s film, not my idea of what it should be, or my idea of how it should play out, but what he wanted to do and the film he wanted to make.
So with that said, here’s my actual comment on the film, and there are minor spoilers.