No Salvation Here

I was very disappointed that the Sarah Connor Chronicles was recently cancelled. It certainly had its faults (including a mid-season sag that almost drove me away) but the last half dozen episodes of season 2 were fantastic. All the pieces they’d brought into play suddenly began to line up and the convoluted timeline mechanics were expanding possibilities. But alas, not enough people were watching it so it’s not coming back.

One of the reasons I was a bit surprised it got canned was because of the big flashy new movie that was on the horizon. The surprisingly un-punctuated Terminator Salvation. I should have been a lot more scared given that it was being directed my McG but I’d gotten used to seeing his name on the credits for Chuck so figured it might not be so bad. Turns out there’s an unbridgeable gap between executive producing a TV series and helming a massive summer blockbuster.

To be honest, I’ve only really heard that it’s been getting bad reviews, I haven’t read them myself. I doubt they were harsh enough. This film is unforgiveably bad. The characters are one dimensional at best, the script is hackneyed and the acting perfunctory. When you get past that you can take pretty much any scene and play the “but that doesn’t make sense because X” game.

After twenty minutes I was ready to leave. The opening sequences sent me into a spiral of despair and it was clear that it wasn’t going to get any better and in that respect it didn’t let up. Painfully bad dialogue (“So that’s what death tastes like”), pointless stunts (why didn’t Connor take the stairs like the rest of his team?), sign-posted “twists” (he’s a bot? Really?!), confusion over what film it wants to be (Transformer Terminators?), poor design (watch for the signal simulation Connor watches over and over again. What the fuck is that?), poor design (access panels without locks?), poor design (why do the robots build such a spanky clean research facility?), poor design (and why do they have touch panel computers when they’re all networked?), poor design (why bikes? They’d be horribly complicated to keep steady and pointlessly flashy), poor design (oh good, they’ve got a USB port, an override switch, handlebars and a saddle) through to the nods to the original films (for nods, read lazy, crowbarred references that feel out of place) and the wholesale lifting of an entire scene it’s just woeful.

I’ll probably be told that I should just take my brain out and enjoy it for what it is but that’s a pathetic cop out. What it is is a film with an enormous budget which has all been splurged on effects with little thought given to plot and cohesiveness. Avoid like the plague. I think I’m done with big budget action films as they seem to be getting more dumb as the effects budget goes up. I think I’ll go back and watch some not so classic 80s action, they’ll probably pay more attention to detail and it’s a crying shame that 20 years later entertainment seems to be regressing.

Just in case I ever get tempted to watch it again, here’s another list of faults;

  • When landing at the rebel base, why are they guided in with flares instead of, say, those massive floodlights?
  • When escaping from said base, are we expected to believe that none of the resistance can hit two human targets but instead blow up trees behind them?
  • Why would Skynet develop petulance when talking to its subjects?
  • How come Wright’s terminator seems to be a far more advanced model than the one that Skynet will later send back in time to kill Sarah Connor?
  • Are the resistance leaders so stupid that they don’t turn off their signal when their entire army disobeys an order?
  • Who exactly were the people who didn’t believe in Connor? Just Michael Ironside then?
  • Why did the leaders all stay in one location?
  • Given how long the city had been trashed for why were cars still burning?
  • “Tell them I’ll be back”? Oh fuck off. Be your own damn film, no wait, you don’t have the intelligence.
  • Heart transplant surgery on a severely traumatised body in a desert? Blood type?!
  • Wright doesn’t suffer any ill effects from crushing his Skynet CPU? None at all? Well that was obviously really well designed.
  • A cute kid? Aw c’mon!
  • How many times has Connor listened to the tapes from his mum and he couldn’t have immediately said whether any hybrid models were mentioned? He just went back to check again?
  • A networked automaton guard machine doesn’t think to check with its controller if [i]the fucking door is meant to be open?![/i]

I have to stop now.


To top of such an awesome movie night, I managed to miss the train home (first time ever) because of the drunk, puking Oasis fans lining the streets. Hello £40 taxi fare home. At least I didn’t pay for the film. Orange Wednesday and Cineworld Unlimited ftw!

Oasis can fuck off and so can the next Terminator film.

Comments (2)

James TurnbullJune 19th, 2009 at 10:52 am

I can’t quite tell – did you like this film?

rossJuly 1st, 2009 at 9:27 pm

I’d give it seven out of ten on the One Life Left scale.