Sunday, May 24, 2009


that picture there is of christian bale as patrick bateman in the film AMERICAN PSYCHO. yes, this is a review of TERMINATOR SALVATION, but i liked christian bale way more as patrick bateman than john connor. so i'd rather look at bale swinging an ax than juggling time in his bare hands. 

here's the deal: i'm a TERMINATOR fan. james cameron won me with the 1984 original and then double swooned me with the 1992 sequel. i would name a beloved pet after james cameron as a token of gratitude for his cyborg gift, and i would name another beloved pet after cameron's wife, linda hamilton, just for being hot. i love the TERMINATOR films. love them. and i want other people to love them. i'm a bit of a TERMINATOR evangelist. 

and it is because i love the TERMINATOR story so dearly, and i have so longed to see john connor build the resistance and lead the wars of the future, that i despised this new TERMINATOR SALVATION.

let's get one thing straight: for those who do not care a lick about the TERMINATOR storylines, or for those who have never seen the TERMINATOR films, this new movie will be worth your every ticketed dollar spent. it's big. it's explosive. it's loud and dusty and gravity is not an issue for how hard these machines can hit a brotha. not to mention, every person in this film is stupid gorgeous. the casting agents obviously stopped all the ugly and average people at the door and said, "you're not worth the $6 ticket." so, yes, if you do not love the TERMINATOR as i love the TERMINATOR, then go and relish you some pretty people fighting machines and defying the laws of physics. 

as for those who love the TERMINATOR saga, as i love the TERMINATOR saga: just go back and watch your T:2 vhs again. and again. and again. and then, if you feel a need for a christian bale fix, pop in your dvd of AMERICAN PSYCHO. these films are all you will ever need. 

and so, because this is the fourth TERMINATOR film, i will give you all FOUR reasons i did not like TERMINATOR: SALVATION -

1.) THERE WAS NO STORY. james cameron was a helluva cinematic storyteller. need i remind our three-person readership that cameron found inspiration for the original TERMINATOR from harlan ellison's THE OUTER LIMITS episodes. and ellison was a helluva storyteller also.

2.) THERE WAS NO HEART. the first two TERMINATOR films wooed us in to the story. we wanted the best for the characters. we believed in them. we yearned for them. we felt the weight of the future and the world on their shoulders. and this connection made the action that much more heart-wrenching. in TERMINATOR: SALVATION, i felt nothing for the people or the story they were trying to tell. except the little frizzy-haired girl that never talked. she was the best part of the entire business.

3.) THERE WAS JUST TOO MUCH. all the visuals were drastically over the top. T:2, honestly,  pushed all the old action limits and set all new sci-fi standards, and it did so in a way that we, as audiences, believed and readily accepted. TERMINATOR: SALVATION felt like one big cinematic peacock strut: get it bigger; get it taller; get more explosions and blasts; get less gravity and honesty in every shot. after awhile, the enormity of it felt like a pink floyd laser show in a southern baptist church: totally unnecessary and ridiculous.

4.) BRUCE WAYNE. this is hard for me to say, because i have openly professed to a near homoerotic attraction to christian bale: but the guy played TERMINATOR like he was playing BATMAN BEGINS. no diversity. no newness. no glimmer of the genius in AMERICAN PSYCHO or THE MACHINIST or EMPIRE OF THE SUN. bale simply fell back into an old hat, possibly thinking that his portrayal of beloved bruce wayne worked, so why not play up the same bloke as john connor. i, personally, did not like bale's plastic john connor performance. and, let's just be honest: bale may be losing his cool. there is reason that controversy has flown like garden fertilizer into an oscillating fan over christian bale's on-set tirade against the lighting-technician. the reason is because bale was out of line. i think bale's own enormity and greater-than-gravity persona may be catching up with his acting career. i hope not. i have dearly loved this actor in the past. not to mention, he was made for more than all this. oh, shite: i pulled out theology on that one.

a few highpoints in this film:

- bryce dallas howard
- moon bloodgood
- jadagrace
- those aquatic terminator machines

sadly, i have to give TERMINATOR: SALVATION 1 totally mute jadagrace out of 5. this film sucked. and i am sad for it. and i want my 17 years of waiting and my $4.50 for a movie ticket back. and i want christian bale to give it to me calmly, without volume or f-bombs. 



myleswerntz said...

with this non-recommendation, i'll wait for the dollar theater, thanks. I'm afraid GI JOE is going to go this same road, and it makes me die a little inside.

John Barber said...

agreed, Myles.

hamster, thanks for taking one for the team.

the hamster said...

good call on the GI JOE, myles. i'm sitting there in the theatre watching that preview, recognizing all my old action figures, very stoked that the little plastic mens and ladies i toted in my pockets and played with in the bathtub are now real live humans on a real big screen - but i just know, somewhere in the guts of my knower, that the GI JOE the movie is gonna suck. and, yes, something dies a little at the thought.

john, you're welcome. it hurts, man. it hurts right here.

the hamster said...

i edited a few lines in this review here. trying to cut down on the vulgarity. conviction is running through my literary lexicon with a rapid-fire delete button. sigh.

andrewkilzer said...

a few thoughts, if i may.

1. this was a good 'popcorn' action flick. i know you tried to communicate this fact, but really, if you have no allegiance to the terminator lexicon, go and see it. you'll enjoy it.

2. bloodgood was bloodyfantastic.

3. i think we've been ruined by the franchise reboots of late. batman, ironman, star trek, transformers, sisterhood of the traveling pants. all much better the second, or third time around. terminator just wasn't able to live up to the hype we all had it built up to in our minds.

4. I really didn't want to say this, and I'd even fought for the opposite with many a friend, but you're right, Bale's tirade was indicative of bigger problems in his life. Some actors can pull off craziness in their personal lives and still deliver the goods on the screen (ie Robert Downey Jr. in Ironman), but many cannot (ie Lindsey Lohan in whatever magazine cover she's on this week). Sad that Bale might not be that great of a guy. I wish it wasn't so.

the hamster said...

andrew -

thanks for the thoughts. i like them, even when they are not delivered over porches, crossed-legs and cold beer. keep 'em coming. and i'll answer your list with a list.

1.) you're right about the 'popcorn' action flick. it was fun for that, and i do recommend this to people who just want to see something big and explosive and ridiculous this summer. however, that's not what i went to see. maybe i should have let the guard down a little bit on the way in, but, seriously, if you just want to make a big silly 'popcorn' film, do not murder a great mythology in the process. dream up something else, or do some a sequel to TROY. you can't make that movie suck any more than it already does.

2.) bloodgood was bloody good. and i'm just wondering how many dudes have ever been tracking through the desert on foot and found a beautiful woman just dangling from the highwires waiting to be rescued. in the theatre i thought, "every AT&T line technician just got themselves a new fantasy."

3.) i really like that you included "sisterhood of the traveling pants" in you list. brilliant. my wife refers to you behind your back as "hilarious." it's one of her constant adjectives for you. just thought you'd like to know.

4.) i don't need my hollywood people to be saints. nor do i look to put them on the cover of RELEVANT everytime one of them thanks "God" in an acceptance speech. these people are not our role models, nor are they are standards. but, still, this bit with bale going off on the technician nearly explains his own acting downfall. it all seems to be unraveling in there. now i'm not wanting to see him on the big screen as much as in the douglass living room on a monday night, if you know what i mean.

5.) how does your thursday look?