A kiss from Helena Bonham Carter? Man’s clearly going to the grave. He’s a bad man! He’s gonna ddiiiieeee! Sort of. How do we know? Because it would be a waste of a prologue? No, because we’ve all seen the posters and the trailers. We know he pops again. Why? He’s on one of the bloody posters! We know he turns out to be some sort of Terminator. Why? It’s in the bloody trailer! The whole thing has been ruined from the start. Booo, rubbish marketing departments! Why am I about to commit two hours of my life to it? Because the trailer actually looked kick ass. Surely they’ve saved the best bits for the film? Hooray, brilliant marketing department! I’m paying to watch it even though I may have already seen it all!
Check out the future! It looks so lavish and yet so barren! There on the edges, darkness, shacks for building, wonky pylons, lots of dust swirling round. It’s all a bit Mad Max! Where’s Mel Gibson? No? Not even Tina Turner? Oh.
Civilisation, destroyed above the ground, underground still there amongst the dark, sponsored by shiny Sony Viao logos and Bryce Dallas Howard all Revelled up (the make-up of the resistance). John Connor is a maskless Batman, growling, with sparser dialogue, shouting more. Most effective piece of dialogue? Oh look, it Chekov (from Star Trek, not Russian literature), but being a young Michael Biehn. Like that. Michael Ironside’s presence is a desperate attempt to endear some cult, but just underlines the plot’s B movie creds.
Some of the set pieces are neat, but the film is shafted by Obvious Logic Fails. Did that MASSIVE robot sneak up on them, tiptoeing to it’s be a sssSSSSUURRRRPRISE!? Er, no. Would the resistance expend their whole defensive mine system just to leave themselves open to the Terminators? Er, no. Why is there a zig-zag of abandoned cars in the middle of a desert road? Oh, just in case there needs to be a zig-zagging chase scene at some point in the future? Oh, fair enough. And where the bloody hell is the petrol for all these vehicles coming from? Do Shell bloody survive Judgement Day? Are they the only corporation to survive? Is Shell really Skynet?
Even Danny Elfman is having a bad day. Gone is Brad Fiedel’s dirty, menacing rhythmic score. Hello, acoustic guitar theme! Oh, You Could Be Mine playing. So self-referential! The new Terminator that looks like Arnie. So self-referential again! The final showdown: it’s lifted from T2 as well! Oh, wink wink, eh. Will any future Terminator films borrow from this one? Probably not. Referencing only works when you need a cheeky wink, like in Charlie’s Angels.
So, clearly better trailer than full feature. And with the super drippy ending they might as well have subtitled it “Terminator Redemption” and used the footage for a soft rock music video. Look! They’re flying off into the sunset! Cough, sob, you pull my heart strings McG! Next time Terminator Thunderdome?