June 27, 2009
For once, the lugnut you all call a writer and artist has put me in charge to give you some bonus content.
Gaming has his…issue with gaming (I’d like to call it an obsession, possibly a malady), and Story will just…ramble for hours on end given the chance, so I guess I’ll be just as predictable and critique something.
Not this comic though, that’s too easy.
Recently, following the dissolution of his romantic endeavours for the time being, Tim finally got off his rear end and back to what he’s always had a passion for: Movies.
In this case, he went off to see Terminator Salvation at the local Odeon.
Fair warning: To paraphrase a movie title, there will be spoilers.
As it starts, it seems a bit odd. You’re in a prison, with a guy that’s presumably shoplifted something since he’s on death row about to be executed, being asked for organs by that I pray to various deities is a cancer-stricken Helena Bonham Carter in some form of fat suit and ultimately manages to snatch a full on passionate kiss with her as payment for signing the world’s most badly-phrased organ donor contract.
So then he snuffs it, and we’re left wondering why in the world we just had to sit through all of that.
And then we get to the meat of things, in the future with all the machines. Not quite as far into the future as we’ve usually seen, massive robots and lasers are a bit of a rarity here.
Somehow, the Jesus-figure that is John Connor is still a big figure for the human survivors, but it seems it’s his insight into things that’s gotten him into a soft spot with the suspiciously-Russian leadership because they certainly don’t subscribe to the whole prophecy of him leading instead of them.
Seriously, the whole movie we get stories and intuitions that John is a kind of god figure to a lot of people in the resistance, sending out radio messages to people with vague reasons or topics, but seemingly having no power of his own beyond the odd influence. Crystal Peak seems to be as great a spot for him as always, and for once there’s not a single android or gynoid following him around without so much as a peep for him as to their loyalty.
Oh wait, not quite. The first thing we see him doing is landing on top of a terminator with a helicopter, and then descending into some strange and massive pit surrounded by radar dishes that I’d swear were used for looking for interstellar life, but which are swiftly reduced to rubble and wreckage in a few moments.
He wanders through the place and finds a whole mess of corpses (One of which looks shockingly familiar) and a group of cages filled with lots of people, along with a computer that seems to talk (rather freely considering all the control and intellect of SkyNet) about the terminator cyborg projects.
Now, if I were SkyNet, and I’d supposedly marked all of these people in the cages as refugees and such, I’d have put at least one cyborg terminator in there, so the resistance would take it back with them and all would be semi-good with the world. Instead, remember that corpse?
Once the place is blown to heck, “Marcus” clambers out of the wreckage, naked as a jaybird and covered in mud, hoicks a corpse of his clothes, and heads in the direction of Canada.
Of course, trouble ensues or else this wouldn’t be a very interesting movie. Marcus meets up with old teenage Kyle Reese (Who you will only remember from the first movie I guarantee) whilst Connor is informed that the resistance has apparently discovered something called “Achilles”, a radio sequence that’ll shut down SkyNet and it’s minions, and that SkyNet knows this and has issued a freaking statement saying they’re all dead, plus Reese.
John’s motivation therefore throughout this film seems to be to keep his teenage father alive and safe, while Marcus becomes increasingly unsure what in the world is going on. This is only made worse for them both when they meet up, following a magnetic landmine latching on to Marcus’ leg and exploding.
Yup, Marcus is a freaking cyborg terminator. This distresses him greatly.
As it eventually turns out, via holographic Helena Bonham Carter in an oddly spiffy SkyNet central office, Marcus is in fact the first cyborg terminator ever made, with a human brain, a human heart, and a whole lot of metal elsewhere. SkyNet’s whole plan was to basically release him, and via chaos theory, random chance, and a whole lot of personal soul searching, get him to lead John Connor to them so that he can be killed by one of the best deaths I can imagine.
But getting back a bit, Connor discovers that Reese is being held captive in SkyNet central, after being captured with a small mute girl after meeting up with Marcus and escaping some rednecks under a 7-11 in the desert, along with a few robots that would make Transformers envious. He’s quite bugged therefore when he finds out that the Russian submarine-bound leadership is going to mass-release the Achilles signal and then bomb SkyNet central into oblivion, captives and all.
And then something wierd happens. Everyone, and I mean basically, everyone in the resistance, barring the leadership, actually starts listening to Jesus, I mean Connor.
Which is proven a very good idea, when SkyNet does exactly what I’d expect it to.
Consider for a moment, you use a specific radio frequency to operate your RC tank. You then discover that someone else has figured out this frequency, and intends to use it to deactivate your tank. The obvious solution is to change the freaking frequency and be done with it. But if you’re a little bit smarter, and you happen to not know where that someone else is, you can change the frequency, and then home in on where the old frequency is being transmitted from. This is exactly what SkyNet does, and somehow the leadership didn’t think it would be a bad idea, even when SkyNet released it’s little public newsletter.
Which kinda makes me wonder how these guys got into power in the first place. I’m gonna take votes on it being the same reason they’re in a Russian nuclear submarine for the whole movie.
So anyways, the resistance largely turns to Connor for leadership and he quietly slips out to sneak into SkyNet central and save Kyle as Marcus does the same thing (Getting more and more depressed as the machines decide not to shoot him on sight) and chats with holographic Helena Bonham Carter. I personally loved watching John sneak in, doing exactly what I’d expect of him, which is various hacking tricks, including hotwiring a motorcycle terminator to get there in the first place.
So then SkyNet reveals it’s big machiavellian plan to Marcus who decides things are better on Connor’s side (Naturally) and there’s the big fight scene throughout with what was intended to be his final reckoning.
Now, if I was John Connor, and I had to subjectively think from a storyline-based perspective, of what my perfect death would be, I can’t really think of one better than what they came up with for this film. He finds the room that, up until now, we thought Kyle was in, filled with various fumes. He struggles with the door for a bit, and then it flies off the hinges and he’s thrown clear across the room. Out steps one of the biggest fan-shots I’ve ever seen in more ways than one: Naked Arnold Schwarzenator. Who then predictable begins to kick Connor’s butt in more scenes reminiscent to me of the ending to Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
Eventually Marcus shows up and, being (almost) all robot, does pretty well at beating the thing until it realises he has a heart and basically gives him anti-CPR by way of his cold metallic fist. Connor, by now having temporarily stopped it by covering it in molten metal and freezing it, also plays paramedic to Marcus with regular CPR and battlefield defibrilation to wake him up, before being stabbed through the chest by the now-functional again Schwarzenator.
Kyle in the midst of all this has escaped, as John decided to stick around and plant explosives. So he doesn’t get to see his older-than-himself son do some serious heroics.
So in the end, all of them get out alive, Connor in bad shape, and SkyNet central gets blown to heck as we see holographic Helena Bonham Carter go all red-eye in the flames. Back in what I can only assume is future baghdad from all the open plains and dust, Connor is on death’s door and needs a new heart. So of course, Marcus offers his big and strong one in sacrifice once again, and Connor is set up to play the messianic leader of the human survivors once again.
So overall, it was a good film. Not a fantastic film, not a film that I’m going to call an instant classic, but I liked what they did with the old franchise. Sure, Marcus was kinda predictable once you found out he was a terminator and whatnot, and SkyNet and the leadership both made a bunch of idiotic moves, but the different terminators and the different opinions of the human survivors, as well as the Schwarzenator cameo fight, all made it worth watching. Christian Bale certainly can and will play Connor again, lest I attack someone with mind bullets and pay Story to take credit.
I’d give this film 4 out of 5 Schwarzenators for quality and acting, but 3 Hydrobots for the plot flaws.