"I'm the only hope you have"
This new venue into the war-torn world of Terminator opens with a very different approach from its predecessors...no one's going back in time to protect someone. I thought, thank goodness for that. And the PG-13 rating...I really didn't see what was missing, other than the constant profanities of the other films. It only shows further how Hollywood is trying to rake in the money, and I'm all for it. It shows a greater range in writing and doesn't insult the intelligence. This was not a bad film, but there were still a few things that I just couldn't like. T:Salvation is a GREAT step up from that travesty known only as T3, but I'm boggled out of my mind as to how T3 has a 70% Tomato Rating and T:Salvation currently stands at 33%. Someone needs to swap those numbers, pronto!
Visuals - outstanding. We've finally seen an in-depth look into this terrible future that is freshly depicted with many new machines that both mystify and terrify. And while Arnold's CGI cameo is clearly CGI, it's the best dang CGI I've seen for a human face. Didn't last long, though. Very engaging sets and scenes. However, I think the better hands at ILM were working on Star Trek while their latest rookies handled this one.
Acting - A few roles seemed a bit off, like the mute kid. I was waiting for him to get killed, but alas, to no avail. Here are the few exceptionals.
1: Kyle Rees, played by Anton Yelchin, is a youthful, spiting image of Michael Biehn from T1, right down to the barring of his teeth while delivering his lines. I believed him to be the real deal. Great casting choice!
2: John Conner, played by Christian Bale, is a much more believable future version of T2's Edward Furlong, as apposed to that ridiculous T3 performance by Nick Stahl (I'm sorry, but all the acting was bad in that one), and to see John's struggle only left me wanting to see more. Apparently, he's not THE leader of the resistance yet, well, maybe he is now, because of things I won't tell you. HAHA. In short (too late) he really didn't shout THAT much, and in war, shouting is pretty much a given.
3: Marcus Wright, played by Sam Worthington. WOW! This is the star of the film. His mysterious/unconscious involvement in Skynet opened a lot of doors, and made me go, WOOH when the big secret was revealed. Dynamic and fitting for the role, Sam takes the hits, although that screaming in the rain bit was a little over-the-top there, chief.
Story - I loved the tie-ins, from Linda Hamilton's voice recordings to the old picture of her from T1, even incorporating robots and characters from T3 that make that edition to the franchise almost necessary now, because I love Bryce Dallas Howard as Kate, Conner's wife. The story may not have been the most heart-wrenching, but it's all that you would expect from a war movie where the enemy never sleeps. Only a couple of cheesy scenes (Resistance girl helping Marcus escape/Helena Bonham Carter IS Skynet (of course, I always knew she would destroy humanity :P), just to name a few.
Yikes - where to start!
Music - Danny Elfman is one of my most favorite composers, but I hate to say that his score for this film, well, either he was really lazy or he just blended Spider-Man and The Dark Knight. Seriously. That's what it sounded like.
Writing - some good parts, but ultimately, the majority of the lines were kinda...blah "Well, it's better than three-day-old coyote" Really? Also, for a guy from 2003, waking up in 2018, don't you think Marcus would be a little more, you know, flipped out, rather than shrugging it off? Also I kinda find it hard to believe that a hardened murderer would risk his neck to help Kyle after one night of kindness. Keep the franchises to the established, please.
Last but not least
THE THUMB DRIVE! (Spoiler)
Here we go! This alone cost the film a star for me. Notice the scene when the resistance is holding down the hydrobot on the exam table? Someone inserts a Sandisk Cruzer USB drive into a computer. HELLO! In this story, Judgment Day happens in 2003. This product was not created until 2005. If you're going to make a movie involving time travel/paradoxes, please don't ask a production member for their 2008 thumb drive to film a quick scene without looking into the history first. Gaahl! Now, if it were a Cruzer Enterprise, it's all good, but the inner white groove of the Thumb drive makes it way past 2003 (I'm looking at mine now).
In short, this was not a bad film, but it could have been better. It's brought faith back to the franchise for me, so if there are future installments in this continuing struggle against the Machines..."I'll be back!"