After being misled by positive reviews by the (usually trustworthy) sources of Empire and Death Ray and being admittedly quite excited by the trailer and write-ups I'd read, I made the mistake of going to see Terminator: Salvation yesterday evening with some friends.
The only two positive things I can take away from the evening is that (1) My friends are still talking to me, and (2) It features the excellent Michael Ironside who is guaranteed to enliven even the shittest B Movie.
I'd honestly thought it was scientifically impossible to make a new terminator film and for it not to be better than Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Science, however, has been proven wrong.
I remember as a child watching the original Terminator, watching the future war scenes and thinking "Wow. I would love to see a whole film about this". Along with all those people who demanded another Indiana Jones film after the first three, I say this - be careful what you wish for.
Friend of sound engineers worldwide Christian Bale stars as John Connor, gravelly voiced (and seemingly inept) leader of the human resistance, a team of phonomenally well equipped perfectly coiffured freedom fighters. It's reassuring to know that even after the machines have all but wiped out mankind, that dental and hairdressing establishments are seemingly thriving. The resistance have discovered a crate labelled "plot device" that could end the war against Skynet once and for all. Or at least a tiny bit of Skynet, or there wouldn't be a sequel.
There now follow a series of special effects and many, many explosions. Occasionally the film threatens to add character development but luckily McG rescues us from this just in the nick of time.
The post-pub pick-apart conversation was more fun than the film itself - there are spoilers in this, but if this bothers you I don't really give a shit - If you're going to see it, you deserve everything you get. Questions posed were as follows; What does skynet actually want? Why doesn't it just use poison gases (and poison humanities collective asses)? How come the (admittedly cool looking) Motorbike terminators have "collision control" allowing excellent driving skills, but fail to see a rope strung across the road in plain daylight? How can a military field hospital perform heart surgery on two subjects they haven't even checked for compatibility? If T-800s have nuclear fuel cells capable of levelling a small city when destroyed, how come Sarah Connor didn't wipe out herself when crushing the T-800 at the end of the first film? And lastly, why?
Tara thought it should have been called "Terminator: Nonsense and explosions". She's spot on.
For time travel dramas, I'd recommend the excellent Timecrimes. Rubbish name, excellent film. Low budget with a small cast, but tightly plotted and entertaining throughout. It shits on high-budget high-testosterone no-brainers like Terminator: Salvation from an obscenely great height.