Monthly Archives: May 2009

Terminator: Salvation Review

After a riveting trailer and much hype, Terminator: Salvation opened on the 21st of May, 2009. The film did not exactly have a great opening, being beaten out of the number one spot quite handily by the ridiculous sequel to Night at the Museum. The terrible reviews and word of mouth certainly did not help Terminator: Salvation. Is the movie very good? Not really. Is the movie a complete and utter waste? Not really.

Terminator: Salvation tries so hard to reach the milestone set by Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The movie tries so hard to be… important. Director McG (yes, the name is silly) has yet to produce something I’ve found truly compelling. Charlies Angels was god-awful in my opinion. I didn’t really expect a whole lot from him when I found out he was going to be bringing us the war on SkyNet the first three Terminator films kept mentioning or showing in various contexts. This should be an interesting story, this should be something that engages and compels. After all, the Terminator faithful have had twenty some years of hearing about this John Connor fellow and how his leadership allows mankind to overcome a deadly sentient machine named SkyNet.

Yet this film, slated to be the first in a new trilogy (if that is still going to be the case is very much up in the air) shows us no real reason Connor is a leader. Sure, he talks into a radio and people listen. Sure, he leads some men and women rebel soldiers by pointing and doing hand signals like a soldier would. Yet none of these actions really prove he is the sole source of mankind’s victory. Christian Bale takes his roles very seriously, but his John Connor seems… empty.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why I felt this way. Bale’s character isn’t the only shell the audience is introduced to. Every character with the exception of Sam Worthington’s Marcus Wright and Anton Yeltchin’s Kyle Reese are just bodies with horrible dialogue and silly decision making skills I felt nothing for the people on screen, as if I were SkyNet itself. That wasn’t the case even in the poorly received Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.


The film is barely centered on the rise of Connor in the human resistance. Rather, the plot (or what one can divulge of it) is centered on Kyle Reese and Marcus Wright. Why Reese is so important at this time is really not that clear. Many other film reviews point out the gaping plot hole of the film which those who have seen previous Terminator films will know. It is never explained how SkyNet discovered that Kyle Reese would birth John Connor.

It is also never explained that why, if SkyNet knows his role is to be sent into the past to protect Sarah Connor, that the robots that discover his identity simply off him right out. SkyNet’s elaborate ruse to draw in John Connor is contrived and unbelieveable. It’s very hard to believe that a machine with so many advanced killing devices at its disposable would go to such great lengths to trick one man when it seems clear that humanity can be wiped out by a few motorcycle bots and a Transformer.


All in all, the film is a bit of a letdown. However, the visual spectacle is great. The various killing machines of SkyNet are finely detailed. Respect must be paid to McG and crew for utilizing animatronics as much as possible instead of relying solely on CGI and green screens. The movie can be entertaining if you turn off your brain and forget the Terminator canon. I’ll be renting the Blu Ray to see the director’s cut which I hope will be better than the mess Warner Brothers put out.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

Star Trek review

Star Trek… the final nerd frontier. I was never ever a fan of this long in the tooth science fiction show or any of the films and spin-offs (though I did watch Star Trek Voyager for Seven of Nine…). Needless to say when the rumblings of a Star Trek “reboot” began to surface a year or so ago I really paid it no attention. No offense to you “Trekkies” out there but Star Trek  always came off as silly to me. This is especially true of the originals where overacting and low budget sets, costumes and effects were the rules of the day. I guess if I’m to suspend my disbelief, I need to believe that the world I’m seeing is possible. I never felt that with the older Star Trek films or shows.

So along comes J.J. Abrams who has done only one thing I’ve liked (Alias) and several things I don’t really care for. Mr. Abrams, I am sorry I doubted you. You took Star Trek, stripped it of its cheese factor (for the most part) and like rebuilt it into something a wide audience can enjoy. The film is flash and spectacle, but Abrams and crew did a remarkable job of adding a believability factor I’ve never experienced with Star Trek before. In spite of the CGI effects, I believed I was looking at unique and distinct worlds and creatures. It is clear that sets were constructed and wire work was done and that Mr. Abrams did not lean on green screen technology to bring this franchise into the 21st century.

Abrams and his crew also accomplished another feat, coaxing genuine acting out of the cast members. My personal favorite is the always entertaining Simon Pegg, who in the film plays Scotty, the matter transport dude. Pegg comes into the film in its final act and its a real shame because he quickly becomes an endearing character. Zachary Quinto, who I tried to disassociate from his role as Sylar on Heroes, does an excellent homage to Leonard Nemoy in his role as Spock. Newcomer Chris Pine plays the arrogant but skilled James T. Kirk in a role made famous (or infamous) by one William Shatner.

The only flaw I really felt held the movie back was the initial bouncing back of scenes of Spock and Kirk as boys. Kirk’s flashbacks were especially unneccesary as the audience would totally understand he’s reckless during a bar fight scene. I didn’t see a reason we had some snot nosed kid actor destroy a muscle car.  Don’t get me wrong, it was great visual spectacle but I didn’t think it advanced the character. More interesting was Spock’s struggles against the xenophobia (or species-phobia?) of the Vulcan race as his mother is a human.

Overall, Star Trek provides a shock to the franchise, like a difibulator reviving a long dormant heart. It’s loud, it’s soft, is sad, it’s funny. It’s great entertainment. I’m actually looking forward to the inevitbale sequels.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

Sunshine Review

Another film I skipped when it was released in theaters and never really gave much thought to is Sunshine, Danny Boyle’s second follow up to 28 Days Later. Now, I’m probably one of few individuals (at least in my horrendously small social circle) who did not really care for 28 Days Later (I like my undead slow and mysterious not fast and full of ‘Rage’). This was probably the main reason I dismissed Sunshine
aside from the fact that the trailer really didn’t explain anything
about the film other than it’s some mission to save the Sun. After The Core, I wasn’t really too thrilled with the concept.

I had all but written Danny Boyle off until he stunned me with the much ballyhooed Slumdog Millionaire. Suddenly, I felt I had to give this guy a chance. My step-brother mentioned Sunshine
being excellent so I decided to dig up information on it utilizing the
‘ol Intertubes. Sure enough, the critical reception did not match the
box office take. I said to myself, “self, you usually like movies that
aren’t big blockbusters, add this to the Netflix queue”.

And thus today, after a hearty turkey dog dinner, I proceeded to watch Sunshine,
only two or so years after its theatrical release. Yet again, I was
proven the fool for missing such a gem. Now, the movie is not the grand
slam I think Slumdog Millionaire was but Sunshine
definitely helps add some thought and humanity to the long dormant
sci-fi thriller genre. What starts out ponderous turns horrific as a
crew of eight battle against all odds to save mankind and keep their
humanity intact.

Off all the left field performances I’ve seen recently, Chris Evans’ role in Sunshine
as the computer techinican Mace through me for a loop. It took some
time to even recognize him after his terrible turn as Johnny Storm in The Fantastic Four.  Somehow Danny Boyle coaxed a believeable performance out of him so kudos Mr. Boyle.

Murphy does a great job as the unlikely protaganist and the one
individual with the knowledge to carry out the mission of igniting a
new star within the dying sun. Perhaps the real star of the film
however is the visual and audio design. Haunting is a word I rarely use
but I find it appropriate for this film. From the way Boyle and
Alwin K├╝chler
create a heightened sense of claustrophobia and the way the camera pans
around the inspiring but deadly Sun is simply amazing. Kudos to the
visual effects people for their achievements in the film.

Audio is another stellar (see the space pun? did ya see it?!) aspect of
the film that kept me engaged beyond the character drama. From the
tightening of bolts to the sounds of airlocks ripping, the detail is
stunning. The score perfectly captures the mood and tension of a group
of people trying (and failing) to survive impossible odds. The film is
a winner for sure and it’s a shame it failed at the Box Office. I will
be keeping a close eye on Mr. Boyle’s future work and apologize for
writing off an individual with obvious talent even if his first “major”
film didn’t “do it” for me.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.

Skipping Wolverine

Last weekend was the weekend that allegedly kicked off the Summer 2009 movie season. The first summer blockbuster out of the gate is none other than X-Men: Origins: Wolverine, a movie that should have just been freaking titled, Wolverine. I really wanted to believe that this movie could be worth spending ten dollars on at the local cinema hall. However, the more I read both from far greater critics of film than I as well as your average man-on-the-street I cannot justify paying to see this film and will wait until its Blu-Ray release in the Winter.

The biggest reason why is it seems that two great characters, Gambit (played by Taylor Kitsch who I love on Friday Night Lights) and Deadpool (played by Ryan Renoylds who is actually a decent actor) are for all intents and purposes nearly butchered. Gambit, next to Wolverine himself, is my all time favorite character in the X-Men universe. When the fabled animated X-Men cartoon was on Fox Kids back in the day, I use to pretend I too could make playing cards into explosive weapons. Whomever did the voice work for Gambit has stuck in my mind and I can’t imagine him sounding like anyone else. Taylor Kitsch can barely hold together a Southern drawl in Friday Night Lights, I don’t know if I want to see him attempt a very difficult Cajun accent and dialect. If he’s not flirting with Rogue or being abrasive to other X-Men, I don’t know if I can get behind that Gambit.

It’s a damn shame to say this. The talent certainly is there even if its a bit of a stretch to view Liev Schrieber as Sabretooth after Taylor Mane pretty much resembled the character (though he had no real dialogue or development) in the Bryan Singer X-Men film. Hugh Jackman is talented enough and really, Bryan Singer and the casting director of the first two X-Men films found a gem for playing the beloved Logan. I cannot fathom anyone other than Jackman playing the man made of adamantium. Yet a 36 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes means that something went horribly wrong. I’ll be saving my cash for Star Trek (which I’ve never ever liked but am somehow still drawn to this “reboot”) and Terminator: Salvation for the month of May.

I hold this work to be original thought. If I have used copyrighted material please email me. I will bring it down immediately. I merely mean for this blog to be a means to discuss and dissect my favorite things.