Terminator Salvation Could Be Really Good

terminatorsalvation-comic-cboxart_160wA couple of months ago, I couldn’t have imagined saying this, but it’s starting to look as if the new Terminator film (that’s Terminator Salvation, the one sans Arnold and directed by McG, the man who brought us the Charlie’s Angels films) might actually be good. I know, I know.

It would only be fair of me to acknowledge that I have a certain degree of prejudice towards this project. I’m big enough to admit that I’ve cried at a couple of movies, but Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is the only movie to make me cry for the sole reason that it was so bad. I’m serious. It didn’t happen during Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it didn’t happen during The Faculty (the single most disappointing film of my youth), but for whatever reason, T3 did it. So I wasn’t even sure that I was going to see this new one. Then a couple of things happened.

First, Christian Bale was chosen to play the post-apocalyptic John Connor. Bale’s kind of hit-or-miss for me, but I know he takes his work seriously, and he didn’t have to take it if he didn’t want to (he was just Batman, after all).

Then, I heard that McG instructed the entire crew to read the Cormac McCarthy novel The Road (which is being made into a film itself to be released next year, starring Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, and Guy Pearce). The novel concerns the post-apocalyptic world, cannibals, and such. I haven’t read it yet, but I just finished Blood Meridian, which gives McCarthy more than enough hardcore cred for me.

Then this interview with McG over at IGN occurs. I’ll give you guys a couple of highlights.

How’d you approach the project?

"I then started thinking about the film, how would be set after the nuclear apocalypse wrought by Cyberdyne at the end of the last movie and would have a 'post-nuclear apocalypse look' that was only alluded to in the previous films. This made think the film might be more interesting... maybe!"

How’d he get Bale?

“He said it had to be about character, not explosions. He said, 'If you can get it too a place where it can be read on a stage like a play, with no action or special effects, then I'll do it.' Eventually, after more work on the script -- developing the character arc of John Connor, 'who is he at the end?' -- Bale signed on."

What’s it going to look like?

"It's a distressed vision of the future, not a lot of green screen. We tried to build everything, from the scenery to the terminators, as much as possible ourselves.

That awful, awful leaked ending that was posted a while ago in which John Connor turned out to be a machine?

"Truthfully? Not even close. I can say to you definitely now, Connor is not a machine. That's not to say we didn't toy with the idea; how interesting would it be if the leader of the human resistance was actually a Terminator? But, no; it didn't come down to it in the wash.”

All of this is making me feel pretty good about this project, I have to say. I’m sure I could eat my words next summer if this turns out to be a disaster, but you know what? I actually feel like being optimistic on this one.

The entire interview can be found here. Terminator Salvation stars Christian Bale, Helena Bonham Carter, Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Worthington. It will be released on May 22 of the next year.

Anders Nelson • Associate Editor


New Reviews