When is okay to kill your marketing team?
When can you hunt down and assassinate the entire department?
When can you get the greenlight to build a time machine and dispatch killing machines from the future to stalk and murder each and every one of them?
If you’re McG or anyone who worked on the production of TERMINATOR: SALVATION you have my permission. At the very least I’ll look the other way and make sure any jury I’m on is deadlocked.
"Terminator: Salvation" is set in post-apocalyptic 2018, where John Connor (Christian Bale) is the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. But the future that 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 Skynet’s operations, where they uncover the terrible secret behind the possible annihilation of mankind.
As much as I’m decried as “The Spoiler” nothing I’ve ever done amounts to how badly the marketing department screwed Terminator: Salvation. Clearly the crux of the story revolved around the big reveal that “Marcus”, unbeknownst to himself, was a Terminator robot. Yet, no one got to experience this as surprise as it was not only let slip because of the early release of the Marcus action figure but then there it was in EVERY TRAILER AND COMMERCIAL THAT RAN ON TELEVISION EVERY 30 MINUTES!!Sheesh!
Along with my sympathies for being screwed and a surprise cameo by the original T-1 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in the climax that lit me up with glee, I gave Terminator: Salvation an overwhelmingly positive review, in the face of so many sourpuss fellow critics who said, “meh”.
I’ve gone back and forth on my opinion of the movie since then. I recently confessed that in retrospect the weaknesses were more significant than I was willing to admit. Truth be told, I was never excited about this project in the first place. After three previous movies and two years of a better than average TV series (that was about to be canceled ) the Terminator franchise was looking long in the tooth to me and in danger of wearing out its welcome. Plus, after the Star Wars prequels I figured everybody had learned their lesson about what a dead end that is, story-wise. Even worse to follow in the same footsteps of showing a war that was so much talked about as legend.
But then I popped in the Terminator: Salvation Director’s Cut Blu-ray and the needle on my ‘Opinionator’ swung right back into the positive. The first act of the movie is almost all action and for all the deriding of McG as a director you can’t deny that this is where he shines. It’s nailbiting and gritty and carries infinitely more weight (and consequences) than anything Michael Bay has ever done. It’s just the kind of movie Blu-ray technology was created for and it makes me strongly regret that I missed my opportunity to see Salvation in a theater with D-Box rumble seats.
As for the story…Well, much to my disappointment this “Director’s Cut” doesn’t change anything. Watching the movie a second time I realize that even if I’d never seen a single trailer or the toy I would’ve likely guessed that Marcus was a Terminator because we’re given so little of his backstory (as in something that explains him as a badass), so it’s the only thing the does explain how he’s able to survive all of the near-death trauma he experiences in the action scenes. I figured the Director’s Cut would’ve been the perfect place for this kind of expansion but it only offers an extension of scenes with a couple extra lines of dialogue or more gore. No more than three minutes all totaled.
Okay, okay, you do get that semi-nude scene of Moon Bloodgood we were all waiting for.
But if it really means that much to you then here. Welcome to the internet: www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4ftPO55P1k
…and you’re welcome.
Considering that one entire disc of this three-disc set is devoted to it, this “Director’s Cut” isn’t just a misnomer, it’s kind of a rip-off.
Sure, you might start out excited at the prospect of three discs of special features but you need to know that one of those discs is just the digital copy of the movie, another one is the Director’s Cut with all of the three minutes of extra footage and the last one is the theatrical release. In other words: You get THREE COPIES OF THE SAME MOVIE.
On the disc with the theatrical release they squeeze on the special features so don’t be surprised that they’re kinda light. Here’s what you get:
WB Maximum Movie Mode: Director McG hosts while you watch the movie:
• Storyboard comparisons
• Terminator mythology timeline
Re-Forging the Future: See how the filmmakers reinvented the franchise
The Moto-Terminator: Discover the unique relationship between the filmmakers and Ducati
Now while I may whine about the bait-n-switch of the “Director’s Cut” these special features, though few, make up for it. Especially the Picture-in-Picture feature, which I much prefer to all the boring, half-thought out commentary tracks I’m used to suffering through. I’m also thankful to have a franchise that’s so steeped in time travel that gives us a timeline to unravel all the events of the movies and TV series (and don’t think there won’t be a Saturday morning cartoon series somewhere in the future) to see how they relate to each other.
Ultimately, while I’m not recommending this particular of Director’s Cut Deluxe edition, I give my full endorsement to purchasing Terminator Salvation on Blu-ray. Especially if you’re one of the new breed of amateur sound engineers or techno-gadgeteers, this is the exact movie you’ll want to push your tricked out audio-video setup to its limits and make your neighbors jealous. I love it for everything it does right and ignore it for everything else…which is pretty much how I felt about the third movie, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
The one thing that pushes it over is that whether you love it or hate it, you have to appreciate Terminator: Salvation for giving us this precious pop culture jewel which I will treasure forever.