So. This isn’t a review, because the more I think about this movie, the less happy I am with it, so I’m going to stop thinking too much about it.
This is one of those movies that I mostly enjoyed while I was watching it (especially the first part, before I realized that nothing I’d hoped or expected to see in a Terminator movie was going to show up) and right after I came back home, and I would have enjoyed a lot more if I hadn’t been such a fan of the other Terminator movies (1&2 — you know I don’t really count 3). This didn’t *feel* like a Terminator movie to me, and I didn’t realize until coming out how necessary the role of someone as protector was to my idea of these movies.
I mentioned on Facebook and Twitter that a lot more went into the explosions than into character, and that I really felt the heart of the first two movies was missing here. There weren’t any characters to connect with, not really. John Connor’s character wasn’t revealed in any significant way, and if he had an arc, I didn’t see it so much (but, to be fair, we did see how he became the leader of the resistance). The people around him were … well, they didn’t really have any personalities. I didn’t feel any connection *between* them, and I felt as if I was being told that there was a connection there, just because I knew the relationships — but we were never shown any kind of connection, and nothing to any of the characters beyond the surface level.
Also, the Terminator movies have always been about Sarah and John Connor, and someone in a protector role. I could accept that Sarah was gone in this movie … but although John was there quite a bit, the movie wasn’t his. No, it was Marcus’s, whose character didn’t really have an arc or decision to make, either — although he was the most sympathetic character in the movie. I missed the setup of someone as protector (Marcus didn’t really fit that, though I thought they were *trying* for that — as I mentioned before, far more affecting, to me, would have been a reversal: Connor trying to protect Reese after the kid was scheduled for termination…then after saving him, sending him off to the past to be killed.) And even if I just watch it as a post-apocalyptic movie, it doesn’t bring anything really new to the table (a few scenes felt like they came straight out of the recent War of the Worlds movie … but it does have some nice action scenes).
So, there it is. To me, the movies have always been about relationships (Kyle/Sarah, Sarah/John, John/the Terminator) and there just wasn’t much here to see. We never got below the surface. And although I was pleased by some of the surface stuff … it just doesn’t hold up.
ETA: I’ve heard that the script and the production was rushed through after the writer’s strike. I can definitely, definitely see how that might have affected this movie, and the lack of characterization. I think the bones are there, and good … the execution and the whatever-it-is about these movies that makes me *care* just didn’t come through. The late Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles did that a million times better than this movie did.