I love that rattly-clangy metallic bashing noise that makes up the music of Terminator. I saw Terminator Salvation last night and every time it popped up – which wasn’t often, mind you, only in moments of great impact – all the hairs on my neck stood on end. That “ba-da, da BA-DA!” sound makes me want to whoop and holler; frankly it’s a miracle I didn’t actually jump up and yell “Yee-haw!” halfway through the movie.
(However, at one point I did say “Dude!” rather more loudly than I intended to after Sam Worthington’s character kicked some ass. Almost as bad…)
Anyway, the verdict: I loved it, although Salvation has its problems, not least with Christian Bale. I can’t believe I’m saying this but he’s actually the least interesting thing about the film; he’s outclassed by Worthington (to the nth degree; can’t wait to see him in Avatar and Clash of the Titans, too), Moon Bloodgood (who’s excellent, and I’m happy to see her doing so well after sullying her career with the dreadful Pathfinder – the same goes for her Pathfinder co-star Karl Urban and his resurgence in Star Trek) and Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese, who somehow manages not to look wimpy and Chekov-like and instead gets a bit of a Michael Biehn vibe on. (Except, oddly, he looks more like The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ Thomas Dekker at times, which is a pleasing coincidence seeing as he’s effectively playing his dad.)
So John Connor’s a bit growly and dull – picture Connor spending the entire film as the sweary Bale caught on tape during filming, only with less profanity – but it doesn’t matter, because the FX are what makes Salvation so much fun. McG can really handle action: from one superb opening scene involving a helicopter crash to the tense final battle, this is brilliantly directed. And the sound design may even rival Star Trek’s – those creaking, groaning Terminators are truly the stuff of nightmares, as long as you view them in a cinema which is happy to crank up the volume and make your seat rumble.
It’s not the most cheerful of films, true, but then again, it’s set post-apocalypse, so if you go into it expecting witty fun and frolics you’re in the wrong place. And it does end rather suddenly, leaving you aching to watch the sequel. But there are so many nods to the original Terminator movies (famous quotes, the tattered picture of Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor looking wistful) that it more than rewards you for sitting through the gloom.
And hey, there’s always that music. Altogether now: “Ba-da, da BA-DA! Da-da, da BA-DA!”