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Terminator: Salvation (Blu-ray Review)

25 Nov, 2009 By: John Latchem

terminator 4

Street 12/1/09
Box Office $125.3 million
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray
Theatrical Cut rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and language; Director’s Cut rated ‘R’ for some violence and brief nudity.
Stars Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anton Yelchin, Common, Moon Bloodgood, Helena Bonham Carter.

The driving motif of the fourth “Terminator” film is the need to maintain our humanity as our lives become dominated by technology. Ironically, these are lessons that seem to be slipping away from Hollywood as it breeds a new generation of technically proficient filmmakers who confuse style for story.

Terminator: Salvation contains the nuggets of a good story that fills in some of the blanks of the franchise. Serving as both a sequel to Terminator 3 and a prequel to the original, Salvation takes audiences into the post-apocalyptic world ruled by Skynet, and how John Connor (Christian Bale) must come to terms with his destiny to lead the resistance against the machines.

The craftsmanship is top-notch, but director McG seems more attuned to the school of Michael Bay than James Cameron, who imbued his “Terminator” films with an emotional resonance that elevated them to classics of the genre. McG’s reliance on action and hardware has resulted in a thrilling film told at a breakneck pace that makes it difficult for the film’s themes to manifest.

The three-minute longer Blu-ray director’s cut adds a few moments to build character, but the result is ultimately negligible. Fans familiar with the earlier films will appreciate this new chapter the most, while new viewers may have difficulty keeping up.

Those seeking extras will have to get the Blu-ray, since the DVD offers none. Two featurettes deal with the craft of creating the Terminator models. The making of the film is revealed through the Maximum Movie Mode, which offers picture-in-picture featurettes, a franchise timeline, and a walk-through with McG, who discusses every aspect of the film, including the darker concept for the original ending.   

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