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Terminator Salvation (Two-Disc Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]
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In the highly anticipated new installment of The Terminator film franchise, set in post-apocalyptic 2018, Christian Bale stars as John Connor, the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. But the future Connor was raised to believe in is altered in part by the appearance of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row. Connor must decide whether Marcus has been sent from the future, or rescued from the past. As Skynet prepares its final onslaught, Connor and Marcus both embark on an odyssey that takes them into the heart of Skynets operations, where they uncover the terrible secret behind the possible annihilation of mankind.]]>
On the Blu-ray disc
The director's cut is a mere three minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Many of these additions are just a few seconds of extra violence (e.g., a knife thrust into a body then pulled out), but there are a few more-substantial sequences: A longer conversation in Resistance Command Headquarters; a brief topless scene by Moon Bloodgood when her Blair Williams character and Sam Worthington's Marcus return to her base (reminiscent of Kelly McGillis and Harrison Ford in Witness); an extended conversation between those two characters afterward (Blair: "You can focus on what you've lost or you can fight for what's left"); and a longer radio address by John Connor in which he mentions his mother. Even though it's not all that different, it should be the preferred way to watch the movie.
The big extra feature, Maximum Movie Mode, is only on disc 2's original theatrical cut. In front of two large TV screens, director McG introduces the movie then makes periodic appearances to discuss key concepts. Interspersed along the way are various pop-ups with the Terminator mythology timeline, picture-in-picture with cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, and stills galleries. You can also, when prompted, exit out of the movie to watch any of 11 Focus Points, which are two- to three-minute featurettes. Conveniently, you can also access these from the main menu. Two other features are watchable separate from Maximum Movie Mode: "Reforging the Future" (19 minutes), discussing the new film's take on the Terminator legacy, and "The Moto-Terminator" (8:33), focusing on the motorcycle-like robots. --David Horiuchi
Top Customer Reviews
Here are the major differences between the theatrical version and the director's cut (spoilers follow).
1) In the opening action scene, when John Connor is leading his unit into the flooded underground Skynet base, a T-1 terminator (nice touch from T3) suddenly appears behind them. His men destroy it before it can do any damage. I'm glad this scene was cut; it inadvertently breaks the tension too quickly.
2) When John pulls his little "frogman stunt", he is seated before the Resistance Command generals, and General Ashdown (Michael Ironside) berates John. Ashdown says, "I don't believe in prophecy, not when one can re-write the future", pulls out his gun and points it at John's head. I liked this scene, because it illustrates John's present and minor role in the Resistance, especially with Command being skeptical of his "predictions".
3) Blair Williams/Moon Bloodgood's topless scene; really just a side shot as she washes herself in the rain in a non-sexual manner, and Marcus glances at her briefly.
4) Marcus/Blair Williams/redneck fight; the action is a little longer, and a little more brutal. Marcus stabs one of the attackers with a screwdriver, and we see the impact, as well as the victim painfully removing the screwdriver. Also, Marcus uses another one of the attackers as a human shield against another's shotgun blast.
5) Marcus/Blair Williams campfire scene is slightly longer with additional dialogue between the two.
6) Captured humans at Skynet; when one of the prisoners attempts an escape and is shot, we see the bullet impacts.
7) John Connor's speech to fellow Resistance members to not obey Ashdown's orders to attack is extended with a few sentences about his mother. I liked this scene, not sure why they cut it. It ties T2 in, and shows the impact of Sarah Connor. (Is this where Christian Bale had his stage lights tantrum?)
8) Marcus/T-800 fight scene is slightly longer, shows Marcus getting pummeled a bit more by the T-800. Also, John tries to revive Marcus an additional time, before collapsing in exhaustion.
I would like to add that I enjoyed Terminator 4; much better than the campy T3, and just a shade under T2. The action was definitely there, and McG included a lot of thoughtful touches from the past movies, e.g. photograph of Sarah Connor, the origin of John's scars, John's like for Guns N'Roses, Sarah Connor's taped voice recordings (actually Linda Hamilton's voice), use of and of course the Arnold cameo. Who can say no to Michael Ironside? What I didn't like was Blair Williams' geisha makeup which she wore during air combat. It made no sense, and was probably one of the deleted portions. Bryce Dallas Howard was believable as Kate Connor, but her screen time was too short. Hopefully, a future cut will show more of her relationship with John.
Some have said that Christian Bale's performance was wooden, or that John Connor's role was overshadowed by Sam Worthington's role as Marcus Wright. I disagree with both counts; Bale played Connor as he should have been; grizzled, scarred, gruff. Given that we know so much already about the future and John's role from prior Terminator movies, it makes sense to have another character portray the center protagonist role. I also liked the idea of the audience first seeing John as a minor Tech-Com officer, steadily rising through the ranks and gaining influence.
Additionally, the movie's opening and closing scenes had a poetic touch to it, which I appreciated. Marcus begins the film about to be executed, giving his body to a cybernetic program. The film ends with the same shots of needle plungers being depressed, albeit for a different reason. Marcus leaves the world as a cyborg, but giving his body to a human cause.
I did have one concern about the movies; how come the Arnold T-800 didn't die when John Connor shot the molten steel onto its head? Turns out there's a perfectly scientific explanation (McG consulted a metallurgist).
Here's McG's answer: "There are different characteristics of molten steels, and that was an earlier steel process after it had been separated from the coke. We went over this with a metallurgist, discussing which metals burn at which degrees. And also, if it had stayed on [the T-800], perhaps it would've melted him, but it was frozen quickly enough by the [liquid nitrogen]. Plus, we make the transition from the molten metal to the cooling property so quickly -- as a function of the T-800 being on [John] Connor -- that it wouldn't have had time to melt the existing titanium exoskeleton in time."
In conclusion, if you're a diehard Terminator fan, go ahead and pick up this version. Otherwise, wait for the (hopefully) longer extended cut.
the regular version is exactly 115 minutes, Director's Cut is 117 minutes. THe only real added shots in the Director's cut is a surprise terminator attack at the beginning of the film (when Connor leads his men down the water filled tunnel), a bit more Connor speach where he mentions his mom right before "then what is the point in winning" and the "nude" shot of Moon Bloodgood.
the 2nd disc features 2 Terminator Salvation features. the 1st one is solid, called "Refocusing on the future". This feature runs about 20 minutes and is pretty neat, but way too short. Clerks 2 for exampled had a feature that ran over 1 hour covering everything from pre-production to post production.
the 2nd feature has about 4 short (3-5 minutes each) features that talk about the moto-terminators, the return of Arnold, the use of the Air Force in helping with the film, etc.
Overall, the movie is awesome, but the DVD Director's cut is a let down when you really think about it. They really could have just stuck everything on one DVD instead of 2.
for this reason, 4 stars.
The plot is basically what you think it is given the plots of the first two movies (the third one doesn't really count in the continuum of this movie's timeline, from what I remember of it). In the future, the government contracts Skynet for defense technologies, which creates robots that end up becoming self-aware and decide that humanity is a threat on "Judgement Day" and start trying to destroy the entire human population. Unlike the first two movies, which take place because robots from the future travel back in time, this one takes place in the middle of the war with John Connor right in the middle of the resistance as they prepare to attack Skynet. If I tell you any more than that then it would spoil what little there is to be spoiled (but the trailer does spoil quite a bit).
It's really easy to pick apart this movie. Let's face it: it's a hardcore action movie. No one is going to see it for quotable dialogue. Sadly, you never really connect to the characters so you don't care much about them. Character development is slim-to-nil, even with the leading role of Christian Bale as John Connor. Some of the supporting characters give predictably weak performances, most notably Common (although he is very good at hip hop). The only characters I ever felt myself caring about were Sam Worthington's and Moon Bloodgood's. I'm not even going to get into the scientific impossibilities or inconsistencies in the movie, or its strange idea of time (which differs with Lost and Star Trek). Of course, no one is going to this movie for a character study though or scientific accuracy, so to critique those points would be dumb. You're really going because you want to see evil robots trying to kill people.
You will definitely see a lot of that. Those robots get pretty creepy, so if the robot apocalypse scares you excessively then this is definitely not the movie for you. Seriously, the robots are creepy, and there are some startling moments (not a whole lot, just a few). I definitely don't think the movie is appropriate for any kids younger than 13 (though I think even 15 is kind of pushing it). There's no sex or excessive gore, but there's plenty of violence and the robots are eerie. The dystopian future it paints can just be a lot to handle for a young teenager.
Anyway, the action is definitely stellar. There's also a lot of it. It reminds me of Mission: Impossible 3 since the breaks between action scenes are few and far between, and each action scene is ridiculously intense and has you very anxious. I have to admit that it's a bit of a stressful movie to watch after a full day of work, but it's still fun. The only criticism I can viably make about the action is that at times the characters didn't seem sufficiently scared about the situations they found themselves in, but I could believe that they live in a world where the stuff that happens in this movie just doesn't phase them anymore because they've been totally desensitized to it.
I was sitting in the very front of the theater and I didn't notice any crummy CG. Whatever CG they had was actually pretty believable. They do an incredible job of creating a world and a reality that you believe could happen. I seriously found myself pondering what I'd do to deal with the robot apocalypse at points in this movie. I really wished they took it a step farther and covered a little bit further some of the ethical/logistical issues they touched upon with regard to robots rather than skirting them or handling them awkwardly, but I knew that it really wasn't that kind of movie.
Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. I'm not the pretentious film critic who's going to give this movie an F just because it wasn't the best movie of the year. Sure it didn't measure up to Watchmen or Star Trek, but it was a solid action movie. We live these super busy lives where we don't take a whole lot of time to stop and just rest and enjoy something, and I think that Terminator Salvation, ironically enough, gives us something to enjoy as a fun experience. Assuming that you don't think you're going to have nightmares about the robot apocalypse, I definitely recommend seeing this movie while it's in theaters. I've seen better action movies so I have to give it a solid B-, but I still think it's a very worthwhile B movie.
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