Wed May 13, 2009
Entertaining Summer Blockbuster
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
"We've been fighting a long time. We are out numbered by machines. Working around the clock, without quit. Humans have a strength that cannot be measured. This is John Connor. If you are listening to this, you are the resistance." John Connor (Christian Bale)
If you are reading this review, you probably know more about the Terminator legend than I do, or at least as much because of Arnold Schwarzenegger's role in the original Terminator and the fascination about the relationship between humans and machines. It's 2018, not far from now, and Skynet has the upper hand, not a cellular phone company but the system governing machines that rule the world.
John Connor (Christian Bale) is the leader of the resistance, and we, the audience are asked to suspend our belief about warping time (first Star Trek this summer, now Terminator), where a hero might meet his first officer or dad or Helena Bonham Carter, or a bad reproduction of Arnold. At any rate, director McG and the Catwoman writers have woven into the metal m?lange of this entertaining sci-fi fantasy allusions to the Holocaust's boxcars of death, Mad Max's tangled landscapes, Apocalypse Now's menacing helicopter missions, and The Wizard of Oz's hopeful heart.
Along the way are subtle references to futile wars such as in Iraq and the need for leadership over dictatorship. Terminator tries too much, but, hey, better than not at all or a film like Miss March.
While the film spends precious little time with any theme other than mankind vs. machines, it has non-stop action for a summer blockbuster well worth the time unless you decide to take off for the future, a dicey business at best, as any of this film's heroes can attest.
"I knew it. I knew it was coming. But this is not the future my mother warned me about. And in this future, I don't know if we can win this war. This is John Connor."
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at http://publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/ppr/index.shtml Friday at 3:01