15 June 2009

Terminator: Salvation

Rarely is a movie such a strange blend of monotony, idiocy, and awesomeness. It's really quite remarkable. Mostly, it's amazing to me how in an otherwise mediocre film, certain moments are totally gripping and fantastic, despite the fact that the characters are ridiculous and the plot is absurd. A lot of the credit here goes to Christian Bale. I used to hate Christian Bale. I hated the first Batman, and I turned The Machinist off within 20 minutes because I found it so irritating. But I think American Psycho and the second Batman are brilliant, so I can't really say I despise him. And apparently I've really come around, to the point where I find his "heroic" faces oddly compelling. 

So I knew this Terminator wasn't going to be nearly as good as the others. Laugh all you like, but I think the first 2 Terminators actually have fairly compelling and intelligent plots. This one, on the other hand, was fairly ridiculous. Which is a pity, because the ideas behind it were actually quite interesting, it's just that their execution made no fucking sense. 

The "meanings" behind it were also mostly vapid - particularly the grating notion that a human is defined by having a heart - so what, anyone with an artificial heart isn't human? I mean, I know the question of how you define what it means to be human in a cyborg age is tricky, but was that really the best you could come up with guys?

The camp factor was minimal - though half the theatre laughed out loud when Christian Bale declared he'd be back (myself included), and we were fairly stoked to see Arnie make an appearance, even in creepy CGI. Actually, that was really awesome. But overall, the movie seemed determined to take itself very seriously (unlike, say, Star Trek), which was unfortunate.

The special effects were neat, but at the same time, the movie had a bewildering tendency to abandon a scene - especially a fight scene - halfway through. CGI Arnold, for instance, is kicking some serious ass, and then the film cuts away to another character for a minute, and when it cuts back, he seems to have been defeated, because he's nowhere in sight. Did I blink? Did the director think there was no convincing way to have Christian Bale kick Arnold's ass? Was he out of ideas for managing to avoid showing Arnold's genitals despite the fact that he was nude? Who knows. Very odd.

Unfortunately, the movie is really too dull to be recommended, especially for a summer blockbuster. 

No comments: