Thursday, May 28, 2009

Terminator Salvation

Despite what you might be led to believe from the previews, this movies’ saving grace is not Christian Bale. Nor is it the (hopefully) final revival of a franchise that is now 25 years old. What keeps this movie from being a complete waste of time is that the action, quite literally, never stops. Some 2 hours of explosions and fight scenes and robots always manages to keep you just at the edge of wondering why you spent $10 to sit in this theater.

I was too young for the first Terminator film, being all of 2 when it came out. I did finally catch it on TV one night a few years back. It served its purpose. I can see why people liked it. The second film was one of my first R rated movies, and I remember coveting it like the grail. The special effects of the time were impressive. No one can dispute that. Hell, even number 3 had some pretty cool stuff. The story was surprisingly well crafted. The twist at the end was brilliant. In all honesty, the only thing working against it was Arnold. But, and I’m sure we can all agree on this, it should have just stopped there.

The tv show? Really? After about 2 episodes I couldn’t keep up. The plot got all convoluted. Time travel has a way of doing that to popular entertainment. A slim budget kept the show from having any real action. And then it got moved to Friday nights, which is a death note for any show. Summer Glau is totally hot though. Yeah she is.

So let’s get down to the new movie. Ultimately, my biggest problem with the film is that it’s an outdated idea. Much like the style of filming, it just feels dusty. Maybe I’ve been reading too much good science fiction as of late, but I find myself wondering things like: Who is Skynet (other than a self-aware super-computer bent on destroying all humans)? Why does it want to destroy all humans? Has no one in the future heard of an electro-magnetic pulse? And why, for the love of god, do all of these robots have teeth? It’s not like they’re planning on eating anything.

Again, however, there are some pretty badass action sequences. The huge robot thing that’s capturing prisoners, for whatever reason, is a lot of fun to watch. And I’m a big fan of fixed camera action. When the helicopter crashes and all we get is a view from inside, that’s awesome. During a similar scene in Cloverfield, I damn near crapped my pants. But that brings up my ultimate point about the movie. Nothing about it feels new. It’s all just a rehashing of an old franchise, digging out used ideas from other movies in an attempt to breathe new life into a future where machines are trying to stomp the breath out of us.

And, of course, IMDB is reporting a sequel in the works. Who’s surprised? Because it sure as hell ain’t me.

Star Trek

Sometimes I wish I had a better vocabulary. Or at least spoke German, since in that language you can pretty much make up any word you want. Or so I’m told. Because if these tools were available to me, I could give you a one word description for the unified sensation of peeling your jaw off the floor, picking your brains of the poor guy sitting behind you, and sloshing out of the theater in the three inches of water left on the floor from crying tears of joy all through the movie. So I’ll have to settle for a collection of words: Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

That’s right. This movie is A---MAZING!

When I first heard about a new Star Trek film, I was pretty skeptical. I mean, who wasn’t? Here they are relaunching a series that could quite possibly count as one of the most dated pieces of fiction in all the 20th century. Why didn’t they just forge new ground and start a new storyline within the confines of the overall Trek continuity? That makes sense, right? There have been how many new TV shows based on it? Five? Make up some new aliens, a cool new ship, some new charming captain. But no, Mister JJ Abrams insisted on remaking the old stuff. New Kirk and all.

JJ, I take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about you. Granted I haven’t said a whole lot. But still, consider it all taken back.

Start to finish, high quality stuff. An excellent cast, ripping special effects, a brilliant script, a convenient twist that allows you to make as many sequels as you please without pissing off any traditional trekkies, and a super-hot green chick!

Even Eric Bana was awesome in this movie. Granted, he probably catches a lot more flack then he deserves. I think myself, much like everyone else, can only think of how terrible of a movie Hulk was whenever his name comes up. But that’s not Eric’s fault. Blame Ang Lee. Captain Nero wasn’t as well developed as he could have been, but Bana sure makes him as creepy as he needed to be. If not more. He won’t win an Oscar for it, but maybe he’ll win Best Villain on the MTV Movie Awards.

Seriously, my only problem with this movie was that I wanted more Simon Pegg. But I guess that’s what the sequel is for.

This movie is a celebration of everything Star Trek as a TV and film dynasty has ever stood for. Even my wife liked it. And she hates science fiction!

While every other summer blockbuster this season is designed to reboot, rehash, or reanimate old franchises in the name of making money with explosions, Star Trek, is a film about the love of film, action, adventure, and randomly throwing in super-hot green chicks. It isn’t often that you get a film that not only delivers action and sweet special effects, but also gives hope and solid role models. Do yourself a favor and watch the hell out of this movie. Over and over and over again. For the children. Of the future.