In the aftermath of Judgment Day and the machine takeover, resistance leader John Connor (Christian Bale) must counter Skynet?s plan to terminate mankind. Rallying his underground street fighters for a last, desperate batt... more »le, he realizes that to save the future he must rescue his own father Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin). But the most shocking discovery comes with the arrival of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a mysterious loner from the past who challenges Connor with an impossible choice and leads them both on a brutal journey into the heart of the enemy.« less
"The director's cut runs approximately 3 minutes longer, and inserts a few new scenes, but no major plot points. This is NOT the major unrated cut that McG has referred to in past interviews, where he suggested that 30-40 minutes of additional footage would be added. We'll probably see that in a future edition.
Here are the major differences between the theatrical version and the director's cut (spoilers follow).
1) In the opening action scene, when John Connor is leading his unit into the flooded underground Skynet base, a T-1 terminator (nice touch from T3) suddenly appears behind them. His men destroy it before it can do any damage. I'm glad this scene was cut; it inadvertently breaks the tension too quickly.
2) When John pulls his little "frogman stunt", he is seated before the Resistance Command generals, and General Ashdown (Michael Ironside) berates John. Ashdown says, "I don't believe in prophecy, not when one can re-write the future", pulls out his gun and points it at John's head. I liked this scene, because it illustrates John's present and minor role in the Resistance, especially with Command being skeptical of his "predictions".
3) Blair Williams/Moon Bloodgood's topless scene; really just a side shot as she washes herself in the rain in a non-sexual manner, and Marcus glances at her briefly.
4) Marcus/Blair Williams/redneck fight; the action is a little longer, and a little more brutal. Marcus stabs one of the attackers with a screwdriver, and we see the impact, as well as the victim painfully removing the screwdriver. Also, Marcus uses another one of the attackers as a human shield against another's shotgun blast.
5) Marcus/Blair Williams campfire scene is slightly longer with additional dialogue between the two.
6) Captured humans at Skynet; when one of the prisoners attempts an escape and is shot, we see the bullet impacts.
7) John Connor's speech to fellow Resistance members to not obey Ashdown's orders to attack is extended with a few sentences about his mother. I liked this scene, not sure why they cut it. It ties T2 in, and shows the impact of Sarah Connor. (Is this where Christian Bale had his stage lights tantrum?)
8) Marcus/T-800 fight scene is slightly longer, shows Marcus getting pummeled a bit more by the T-800. Also, John tries to revive Marcus an additional time, before collapsing in exhaustion.
I would like to add that I enjoyed Terminator 4; much better than the campy T3, and just a shade under T2. The action was definitely there, and McG included a lot of thoughtful touches from the past movies, e.g. photograph of Sarah Connor, the origin of John's scars, John's like for Guns N'Roses, Sarah Connor's taped voice recordings (actually Linda Hamilton's voice), use of and of course the Arnold cameo. Who can say no to Michael Ironside? What I didn't like was Blair Williams' geisha makeup which she wore during air combat. It made no sense, and was probably one of the deleted portions. Bryce Dallas Howard was believable as Kate Connor, but her screen time was too short. Hopefully, a future cut will show more of her relationship with John.
Some have said that Christian Bale's performance was wooden, or that John Connor's role was overshadowed by Sam Worthington's role as Marcus Wright. I disagree with both counts; Bale played Connor as he should have been; grizzled, scarred, gruff. Given that we know so much already about the future and John's role from prior Terminator movies, it makes sense to have another character portray the center protagonist role. I also liked the idea of the audience first seeing John as a minor Tech-Com officer, steadily rising through the ranks and gaining influence.
Additionally, the movie's opening and closing scenes had a poetic touch to it, which I appreciated. Marcus begins the film about to be executed, giving his body to a cybernetic program. The film ends with the same shots of needle plungers being depressed, albeit for a different reason. Marcus leaves the world as a cyborg, but giving his body to a human cause.
I did have one concern about the movies; how come the Arnold T-800 didn't die when John Connor shot the molten steel onto its head? Turns out there's a perfectly scientific explanation (McG consulted a metallurgist).
Here's McG's answer: "There are different characteristics of molten steels, and that was an earlier steel process after it had been separated from the coke. We went over this with a metallurgist, discussing which metals burn at which degrees. And also, if it had stayed on [the T-800], perhaps it would've melted him, but it was frozen quickly enough by the [liquid nitrogen]. Plus, we make the transition from the molten metal to the cooling property so quickly -- as a function of the T-800 being on [John] Connor -- that it wouldn't have had time to melt the existing titanium exoskeleton in time."
In conclusion, if you're a diehard Terminator fan, go ahead and pick up this version. Otherwise, wait for the (hopefully) longer extended cut.
DVD EXTRAS? What happened to them? (*Good movie, better than
R. Maidl | Savannah, GA | 11/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with previous posts! I am so tired of them trying to shove Blue Ray down everyone's throats by forcing them to purchase BR instead of DVDs because they are not putting extras, or alternate versions, or even second discs with the DVD versions anymore. I don't own a Blue Ray player and I'm not buying one just so I can watch extras (however the extras are half the reason I buy a movie a lot of times). I'll keep buying regular old DVD's if they have the FULL PACKAGE or I won't buy any at all and wait until they release it with all the extras. It's crap.
I'm in the entertainment industry and I want to see the storyboards, the preproduction, the special effects, hear the commentary, etc. Every time a new wave of movies are released there's less and less on the DVD and they're putting it on TWO blue ray discs (which defeats the purpose of blue ray anyway - it's supposed to hold more and they're putting the same mount of content on 2 blue rays as they did on 2 DVDs). They're just trying to get as much money out of people as they can. It's CRAP.
Overall I enjoyed this movie, but am not happy about the DVD vs. Blue Ray release. Might as well stop making DVD's altogether if you want us to buy Blue Ray so badly."
A Realy Solid Action Film
Elton V. Pinto | Seattle, WA, USA | 05/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I terminated 2.5 hours of my overcast afternoon to get to and wait in line for the sneak preview of Terminator Salvation, so I figured that I might as well try to get my review up tonight to help people make an informed, spoiler-free decision this weekend. I know I waited about the length of movie in line, but I did walk into it knowing what to expect and I got exactly that: a summer blockbuster action movie.
The plot is basically what you think it is given the plots of the first two movies (the third one doesn't really count in the continuum of this movie's timeline, from what I remember of it). In the future, the government contracts Skynet for defense technologies, which creates robots that end up becoming self-aware and decide that humanity is a threat on "Judgement Day" and start trying to destroy the entire human population. Unlike the first two movies, which take place because robots from the future travel back in time, this one takes place in the middle of the war with John Connor right in the middle of the resistance as they prepare to attack Skynet. If I tell you any more than that then it would spoil what little there is to be spoiled (but the trailer does spoil quite a bit).
It's really easy to pick apart this movie. Let's face it: it's a hardcore action movie. No one is going to see it for quotable dialogue. Sadly, you never really connect to the characters so you don't care much about them. Character development is slim-to-nil, even with the leading role of Christian Bale as John Connor. Some of the supporting characters give predictably weak performances, most notably Common (although he is very good at hip hop). The only characters I ever felt myself caring about were Sam Worthington's and Moon Bloodgood's. I'm not even going to get into the scientific impossibilities or inconsistencies in the movie, or its strange idea of time (which differs with Lost and Star Trek). Of course, no one is going to this movie for a character study though or scientific accuracy, so to critique those points would be dumb. You're really going because you want to see evil robots trying to kill people.
You will definitely see a lot of that. Those robots get pretty creepy, so if the robot apocalypse scares you excessively then this is definitely not the movie for you. Seriously, the robots are creepy, and there are some startling moments (not a whole lot, just a few). I definitely don't think the movie is appropriate for any kids younger than 13 (though I think even 15 is kind of pushing it). There's no sex or excessive gore, but there's plenty of violence and the robots are eerie. The dystopian future it paints can just be a lot to handle for a young teenager.
Anyway, the action is definitely stellar. There's also a lot of it. It reminds me of Mission: Impossible 3 since the breaks between action scenes are few and far between, and each action scene is ridiculously intense and has you very anxious. I have to admit that it's a bit of a stressful movie to watch after a full day of work, but it's still fun. The only criticism I can viably make about the action is that at times the characters didn't seem sufficiently scared about the situations they found themselves in, but I could believe that they live in a world where the stuff that happens in this movie just doesn't phase them anymore because they've been totally desensitized to it.
I was sitting in the very front of the theater and I didn't notice any crummy CG. Whatever CG they had was actually pretty believable. They do an incredible job of creating a world and a reality that you believe could happen. I seriously found myself pondering what I'd do to deal with the robot apocalypse at points in this movie. I really wished they took it a step farther and covered a little bit further some of the ethical/logistical issues they touched upon with regard to robots rather than skirting them or handling them awkwardly, but I knew that it really wasn't that kind of movie.
Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. I'm not the pretentious film critic who's going to give this movie an F just because it wasn't the best movie of the year. Sure it didn't measure up to Watchmen or Star Trek, but it was a solid action movie. We live these super busy lives where we don't take a whole lot of time to stop and just rest and enjoy something, and I think that Terminator Salvation, ironically enough, gives us something to enjoy as a fun experience. Assuming that you don't think you're going to have nightmares about the robot apocalypse, I definitely recommend seeing this movie while it's in theaters. I've seen better action movies so I have to give it a solid B-, but I still think it's a very worthwhile B movie."
Terminator Salvation Extended cut
J. C.E. | Dallas, TX | 09/30/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The movie was good, a few bad lines, but mostly the editing was really off, they shouldn't have cut the time down to under 2 hours and made it a PG-13 flick. That was a big mistake, that's like making Rambo a G-rated film, it's just not right. Christian Bale is good as John Connor, he gives an alright performance, but he could have done a little better. Anton Yelchin (Young Kyle Reese) did a superb job portraying the young hardened soldier who will eventually go back to protect young Sarah Connor, but not in this film. The movie is good, but due to editing and script changes here and there, caused the movie's poor performance at the box office. It's still a good film to watch, it gives us a fresh new look at the world post Judgment Day. It's NO James Cameron film by a long shot, but still decent with good action. Just don't expect to follow the plot as it has it's ups and downs by the different writers that wrote the screenplay. Expect a future blu-ray/dvd Terminator Salvation: Extended Cut (I don't know what they will call it) to contain most of the deleted scenes 30-40 mins worth with the original ending and an alternate storyline to debut sometime in late 2010. It's an alternate version of the film, much like Donner's Superman II cut. This only has 3 mins added, with Moon Bloodgood's breasts and a couple of F-Bombs in this sad director's cut."
An Imperfect, But Still Above-Average Summer Actioner
Brendan A. MacWade | New York, NY, USA | 12/01/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Terminator franchise is an odd beast. Since the original 1984 feature, it has been sold to three (soon to be four) different production companies and two different studios. The only times the plot and dialogue have blended well together were in the first two movies, thanks to the care and writing skill of the younger James Cameron. Since then, the timeline, plot, and characters of Terminator have gone through mutations and minor changes, either to the delight or disappointment of fans (usually the latter). For a franchise that doesn't have millions of fans like Star Trek or even Battlestar Galactica, Terminator still has legs. And Terminator Salvation was a great opportunity to tie some loose ends left over from the last movie and TV series, and reboot the franchise in the hopes of producing a John Connor trilogy.
This film is either the first film of a second trilogy, or an intermediate movie while the future of the franchise goes up for bid in a Hollywood auction in 2010. So how is this movie?
First the bad news. Some of the dialogue, as is the case in too many action films, is poor. I've always believed movie producers should hire more than script doctors. They should hire an experienced screenwriter or playwright to give the dialogue a go-over. The plots are usually okay. But the words coming out of character's mouths can always use an upgrade. Again, I look at Aliens as a model in how smart action movie dialog should be written. At least the dialogue in Terminator Salvation holds together for the first 20 minutes of the 117 minute director's cut.
Slightly less bad news - if the director prefers to be known as 'MCG' (Joseph McGinty Nichol), and whose previous works were the two Charlie's Angels films, you know he's going to spin his wheels and show-off a little bit. And MCG does. But he also proves for the first time that he is capable of assembling top-grade action sequences that are both thrilling and comprehensible (unlike Christopher Nolan, who seemed incapable of directing a good action sequence in The Dark Knight, IMO). MCG seems to have done his homework. His attention to detail setting-up and executing action sequences is similar to the directors he grew-up with (George Lucas, Brian DePalma, John Woo, James Cameron). If I were the executive producer, I would have wanted Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men) to direct, or at least a director who didn't give himself a nickname.
And finally, the movie does go off the rails a bit towards the end. The second half of the movie is poor and cliched. Christian Bale gets more screen time in the second half, but the final acts test the boundaries of medical and physical plausibility. Also the second half is weighed-down by b-movie explosions, obvious homages to the first two Terminator movies, and brief tips of the cap to The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, and Aliens (not so brief with the last movie, as the entire climax seems to replicate Ripley's Rescue). The first half of the film is clearly better than the second half. At least the two halves are bridged by a most impressive (and original) chase and battle sequence in which all the great elements of the film come together beautifully. That sequence is simply crackerjack.
But everything else in the movie I see as good news, in varying amounts. Masio Kassar remained as executive producer (from T2 and T3) and hired as much Terminator talent as he could - namely the editor and an apprentice of Stan Winston's. The casting is fine. The photography, despite being handled by a disliked, unorthodox DP, is excellent, and matches the film's bleak theme and outlook. The sound design is close to brilliant, with the machines sounding radically different from the previous three movies to awesome effect. Danny Elfman's restrained score stays off the soundtrack during most action sequences, allowing the jet engines and explosions to speak for themselves. Art direction and costumes are all first-rate. Special effects are almost all top-notch, with the exception of a few cheap explosions and some of the aircraft shots.
Some plot weaknesses and poor dialogue aside, this is a wonderfully bleak movie. Mankind is almost doomed. The machines are smarter and sometimes more brutal than the previous films. The machines are not always consistent in their speed (hey they have to take their time to aim at our heroes), but they are always quick to destroy human vehicles before humans, and that is a very welcome bit of smart military strategy on their part. And some humans are fairly brutal as well.
It's tough for a studio to have a bleak movie as its summer tent pole, but that's what Terminator Salvation was to Warner, which struck box office gold a year earlier with The Dark Knight. Terminator Salvation failed to crack the # 1 spot in its opening weekend. But it will be remembered for being almost as good as Terminator 2, and that is saying quite a lot."