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Terminator Salvation

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Terminator Salvation
Terminatorsalvation09006.jpg
This movie's only salvation is that they didn't use the original ending.
Genre: Sci-Fi
Action
Millitary
Directed By: McG
Produced By: Derek Anderson
Moritz Borman
Victor Kubicek
Jeffrey Silver
Written By: John Brancato
Michael Ferris
Starring: Christian Bale
Sam Worthington
Anton Yelchin
Moon Bloodgood
Bryce Dallas Howard
Common
Michael Ironside
Helena Bonham Carter
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Shane Hurlbut
Distributed By: Warner Bros. Pictures (North America)
Sony Pictures Releasing International (International)
Release Date: May 21, 2009
Runtime: 115 minutes
Country: United States
Budget: $200 million
Box Office: $371.4 million
Franchise: Terminator
Prequel: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Sequel: Terminator Genisys


Terminator Salvation is a 2009 American military science fiction action film directed by McG and written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris. It is the fourth installment of the Terminator film series and serves as both a sequel to 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and a prequel to 1984's The Terminator. The film stars Christian Bale and Sam Worthington, with Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common, Michael Ironside, and Helena Bonham Carter in supporting roles. In a departure from the previous installments, Salvation is a post-apocalyptic film set in the year 2018. It focuses on the war between Skynet's machine network and humanity, as the remnants of the world's militaries have united to form the Resistance to fight against Skynet's killing machines. It is the first film and the only one so far in the Terminator film series not to have Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator. Terminator Salvation was released on May 21, 2009 by Warner Bros. Pictures in North America and by Sony Pictures Releasing internationally.

Plot

In 2003, Dr. Serena Kogan (Carter) of Cyberdyne Systems convinces death row inmate Marcus Wright (Worthington) to sign over his body for medical research following his execution. Sometime later, the automated Skynet system is activated, and becomes self-aware; perceiving humans as a threat to its existence, it starts a nuclear holocaust to eradicate them in the event known as "Judgment Day".

Fifteen years later, John Connor (Bale) leads an attack on a Skynet base, where he discovers human prisoners and schematics for a new type of Terminator, incorporating living tissue, the T-800. Connor survives a violent assault on the base, which is destroyed. Following Connor's departure, Wright emerges from the base's wreckage and begins walking towards Los Angeles.

Connor returns to the Resistance headquarters located aboard a nuclear submarine and is briefed by General Ashdown (Ironside) that the Resistance has discovered a hidden signal containing a code protocol which they believe can initiate a permanent shutdown of Skynet's machines. Working on this intelligence, the human militia plans to launch an offensive against the Skynet base in San Francisco. It is decided among the Resistance that the offensive will commence in four days, due to an intercepted kill-list created by Skynet, which plans to terminate the Resistance's command staff within the same time frame. Connor learns he is second on this list, following Kyle Reese (Yelchin). The Resistance leaders are unaware of Reese's importance, but Connor knows Reese will eventually travel back in time and become his father, and realizes that Skynet has learned of this fact.

Arriving at the ruins of Los Angeles, Wright encounters Reese and a mute child named Star (Berry) during a violent skirmish with Skynet's machines. Reese and Star are subsequently abducted and taken prisoner by Skynet. Later, two Resistance A-10 airplanes are shot down while trying to intercept a machine transport. Wright locates downed pilot Blair Williams (Bloodgood). They then make their way to Connor's base, where thereafter, Wright is wounded by a magnetic land mine. Attempting to save his life, the Resistance fighters discover that Wright is indeed a cyborg, with a mechanical endoskeleton and a partially artificial cerebral cortex. Although Wright believes himself to be human, Connor and his wife think that Wright has been sent to execute him and orders him to be killed. Williams helps Wright escape. During the pursuit, Wright saves Connor's life from Skynet's hydrobots and the two make a bargain; Wright will enter Skynet's headquarters in San Francisco, to help Connor rescue Reese and the other prisoners, if he lets him live.

Connor pleads with General Ashdown to delay the offensive so he can formulate a plan to extract the human captives, but Ashdown refuses and relieves Connor of his command. However, the Resistance disobeys Ashdown's orders and instead, await Connor's signal. Wright enters the base, interfaces with the computer, and disables perimeter defenses so that Connor can infiltrate the cellblock and release human prisoners. Wright learns from Skynet (which assumes the form of Dr. Kogan on a screen), that he was created and built from the original Wright's corpse to lure Connor to the base; when the Resistance launches its attack, Connor will be killed, achieving the goal that Skynet had failed to accomplish in the past. The hidden signal that the Resistance received earlier is revealed to have been a ruse, and Skynet uses it to track down and destroy the command submarine with the Resistance's leaders aboard.

Wright tears out the hardware linking him to Skynet and assists Connor in battling the new T-800 (Model 101) Terminator (Kickinger). Wright is soon outclassed in strength and temporarily disabled until Connor comes to his aid. Wright eventually defeats the T-800 while Connor destroys the Skynet base by rigging together explosives. Connor, Wright, Reese, and Star are airlifted out. Connor though was seriously wounded during the assault with a life-threatening injury to his heart. Wright offers his own heart for transplantation, sacrificing himself to save Connor. As he recovers, Connor radios to other Resistance fighters that, although this battle has been won, the war is still not over.

Bad Qualities

  1. The film tries to have heartwarming reflections about the human beings becoming worse than Skynet on their struggle for survival, but it fails miserably because nothing of this subplot is properly developed.
  2. Nonsensical, barely existing and convoluted plot:
    • If you actually think about it, the entire reason why Skynet would send Marcus, who isn't under its control and doesn't even know what mission it was for him to carry out, in order to lure John Connor into a trap, is nonsensical.
      • On top of that, the story arc of the film is about John rising to become the leader of the Resistance — even though that was the story arc of the previous film.
  3. The film essentially creates several plot holes that break the canon and story of the Terminator series. A notable example of is that for some reason, Skynet uses the young Kyle Reese as bait in order lure John Connor into a trap instead of just killing Kyle right there and then to prevent him from travelling back in time to get Sarah Connor pregnant.
  4. Mediocre and dull acting from most of the cast, except for Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood, and Anton Yelchin (and even the latter is under-used in his role as Kyle Reese).
  5. As a result of Arnold Schwarzenegger retiring from acting for a while and being elected as Governor of California at the time it came out, he did not make any appearance in the film, unless you count the computer-animated Arnold at the end, and even then he barely appears.
  6. Christian Bale's lack of commitment and behavior both on-and off-screen.
  7. Lack of focus on the characters, besides Marcus, as most of the characters are underutilized and not in the film for long.
  8. The PG-13 rating for this film and Genisys means that the violence gets more toned down than in Rise of the Machines, while the first three films and the sixth film were rated R.
  9. Characters like Barnes and Kate are extremely underdeveloped, uninteresting, and/or annoying, especially Barnes.
  10. John Connor is at his worst here, he keeps reminding everyone that he will lead the resistance every 5 minutes.
  11. Loads of padding and bad pacing that makes the film seem longer than it actually is.
  12. Despite being set in the future, there isn't laser shootings like in the previous movies.
  13. While visually impressive, the designs for the giant-sized Terminators feel too derivative of the Transformers from the film series of the same name, it also creates lots of plot-holes since that giant Terminator can defeat the resistance easily but didn't because of the plot.
  14. Parts of the ending feel really contrived, most notably John surviving a wound right through the heart that should have killed him near-instantly, and then the resistance somehow carrying out a heart transplant (using Marcus as the donor) despite not having anything close to the medical facilities that you'd need for such an operation.
    • This is because in the original ending, John died from his injury, and the Resistance cut his face off and placed it on Marcus's body so that the remains of humanity wouldn't lose hope. This ending got overwhelmingly negative feedback from test audiences, however, it caused it to be reshot so that John survived.
  15. Marcus turning out to be a Terminator was spoiled by trailers.
  16. They were going to set up some sequels as part of a trilogy, but due to The Halcyon Company shutting down and this film didn't do that well, they didn't make any proper sequels to this film.

Good Qualities

  1. Unlike other installments like Genisys and Dark Fate, this film at least tried to be different and do something new, and this is a main reason why some fans in recent years have considered it to be a decent film.
  2. The action scenes and the special effects are well done.
  3. The ending is good and it ties up some loose ends.
  4. The score by Danny Elfman is okay.
  5. Marcus Wright is a very cool character, with many seeing him as the best thing about the movie.
  6. Despite the flaws in the reshot ending, the fact that the producers changed it after a poor reaction from test audiences shows that they (eventually) understood that the series is supposed to be about John Connor, and that fans wouldn't accept him being killed off without a very good reason.
  7. Some good acting. For example:
    • The late Anton Yelchin gives a good performance as Kyle Reese.
    • Sam Worthington's performance as Marcus Wright was passable.
    • Christian Bale as John Connor was pretty decent despite being an annoying character.
  8. There are some nice callbacks and references to the first two films, especially the former.
  9. Like the first three films and the next installments, the famous phrase "I'll be back." is still re-used as said by John Connor.
  10. Pretty solid direction from McG.
  11. The cinematography isn't too bad.
  12. The director's cut is an improvement over the theatrical cut.

Reception

The film was released May 21, 2009 with mostly mixed reviews from critics, audiences and fans. The film currently holds a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 5.1 out of 10 and a critic consensus that reads "With storytelling as robotic as the film's iconic villains, Terminator Salvation offers plenty of great effects but lacks the heart of the original films.". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100, based on 46 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B+ on scale of A to F. Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film a 2 out of 4 stars and stated in his review "After scrutinizing the film, I offer you my summary of the story: Guy dies, finds himself resurrected, meets others, fights. That lasts for almost two hours." Despite the lukewarm reception of the past, most fans in recent years now see it as a decent movie and consider it slightly better than Terminator Genisys and Terminator: Dark Fate, and arguably even Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Box Office

On its opening weekend, Terminator Salvation opened up at #2 with a domestic gross of $42,558,390 and would later gross $125,322,469 against its $200 million budget. Overall, the film made $371,353,001 worldwide. The film was a box office disappointment.

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