An ambivalent salvation for the Terminator franchise


After all the negative reviews, I wasnt expecting much and maybe that’s why I had a much better time than I’d expected to even if the climatic showdown at the end was messy, disjointed and a bit meh.

Still, showdowns are generally a bit meh as Hollywood action writers cant seem to get past the idea that it must involve two men hitting each other so T4 isnt that different from all of the others so far – Wolverine, Star Trek and even Watchmen although for the latter seeing as it was faithful to the book – that climatic showdown was much better.

Nah, the thing about T4 was that all the characters were great. I liked the new grim John Connor even if i found it hard to believe how the whiny emo kid i’ve seen so far on film and TV could possibly turn into this fearless driven warrior who wields power and command with such near arrogant confidence. I thought Marcus Wright was amazing and must surely launch Sam Worthington as the next big Aussie star. The young Kyle Reese had the intensity and focus that the young John Connors so far have completely lacked.

So what are the cons?

As other reviews have pointed out – it doesnt really do anything new with the franchise. Besides Marcus Wright and the new terminator models, all this film does is flesh out the resistance forces a bit more. It’s good to see that the resistance is actually reasonably well armed, organised and has substantial military resources. So it’s all a bit boring on the conceptual level.

What could be better?

Well, I think blurring the lines could help – the throwaway lines in the TV series about John Connor increasingly using metal in his own forces is intriguing. I would love to see a movie where the Resistance has taken on much if not all of the technology of Skynet and now consists of humans, re-programmed terminators, half-human cyborgs like Marcus and where Skynet is increasingly forced to use human collaborators. throwing in some ultra-cool mecha-battle armour for the humans wouldnt be bad either.

I’m thinking a huge war movie with the scale of the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan then focusing on a small unit of the resistance army consisting of humans, an untrustworthy reprogrammed terminator and annoyingly superior cyborg superhero type captain working to liberate a human town that is under the control of Skynet, finding instead a harmonious tech utopia where there is no longer any difference between human and metal intelligences. And where instead of the utopia being destroyed in a boring morality tale about how paradise on earth is not possible, a new third force in the war is unleashed, and one that could well crush both the Resistance and Skynet.

or that could just be me and my rapture of the nerds fantasies.

which brings me to another point – why cant there be a movie where when a character finds he’s been secretly transformed into a cyborg, instead of screaming in anguish, he immediately starts designing his superhero costume that has too much leather in it.

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