Movie Monday: The Terminator Franchise

In this edition of Movie Monday I’m going to ramble about the Terminator movies.

***Contains Spoilers***

The Terminator

A cyborg is sent back in time to assassinate the mother, Sarah Connor, of the human resistance leader, John Connor.  At this time she is not even pregnant.  In the future mankind is at war with an Artificial Intelligence called Skynet which all but wiped out humanity.  The Terminator is sent back just as mankind has defeated Skynet.  To protect his mother John Connor sends back a resistance fighter, Kyle Reese.

James Cameron gives us a film which rarely gives the characters time to absorb what is happening to them.  It is one big chase film in some senses.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is The Terminator.  He captures the role perfectly and portrays that heartless killing machine the Terminator is.  I think a big part of the belief he is able to put into the role is he’s size.  Its rare that in everyday life we come across someone of his physic which just adds to the character.  Michael Biehn plays Kyle Reese as a wiry resistance fighter well.  He gives the character a wild, almost eccentric quality which makes him seem crazy.  With Linda Hamilton as the young, and maybe a little naive, lady which both men are targeting.  One trying to kill her and one trying to protect her.  The special effects are outstanding for a film in its time and shows Cameron as a pioneer of special effects.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

In the sequel John Connor is a ten-year old boy living with foster parents as his mother, Sarah Connor, is in a mental asylum after trying to blow up a computer factory.  In his ten years of life John Connor has had his mother preparing him to become this future resistance leader that he is to become one day.  So he’s world has collapsed after she was committed and he was told that she was crazy.  John is rebelling against his foster parents and the law.  Now he is the target of a new Terminator that is sent back to kill him, this Terminator is an advanced prototype and far superior to the earlier models.  As in the first movie the resistance is able to send back a protector, to make sure that the young John Connor survives this assassin from the future.

James Cameron raises the bar with the special effects here.  I first saw this film in my early teens and it blew my mind away, the effects on the T-1000 are brilliant! Robert Patrick plays the T-1000 and he plays it very coldly which serves the character perfectly.  Linda Hamilton returns as a much tougher Sarah Connor.  She has found her inner strength and is efficient in most weapons and is very resourceful.  She is also very single-minded in protecting her son.  Arnold Schwarzenegger does not quite reprise his role as the original terminator but as another machine which is obviously the same exterior model as the previous Terminator.  Again he plays the role perfectly.  Schwarzenegger was born to play this role and no doubt it will be the role that he is most remembered for.

Judgement day is my favourite of the movies.  Partly because it is the first one that I saw and its one of the defining movies ever.  It was not the chase film that The Terminator is, in T2 John and Sarah Connor go on the offensive and take the fight to Skynet, taking the future that they have always know off and trying to prevent any of it happening.

If I ever put together my top 10 movies, this would be in it, fighting for the no.1 spot.

Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines

If I could delete a film from history it would be this one.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is the only main character to return to the franchise and even he could not save it.  Jonathan Mostow directs it and was not the right man for the job.  Going into the film I had a bad feeling as Mostow had Directed U-571, which is a film which claims an American submarine crew captured a German coding machine during World War two when in fact it was British forces that captured it.  That bad feeling was confirmed.  Schwarzenegger’s Terminator is used more for comedy value then any real advancement of the story.   I never thought I would cringe while watching Schwarzenegger playing this role.

The basic plot is a new advanced Terminator is sent back to eliminate John Connor’s lieutenants as well as Connor himself and his future wife, Kate Brewster.  Like in T2: Judgement day John Connor tries to prevent Judgment day from happening with the help of The Terminator and Kate Brewster.

James Cameron was not involved, neither was Linda Hamilton.  If Cameron was not to direct then they should have gone for a visionary director, someone who could bring a whole new element to these films.  The plot had already been done before and if I was writing it I would have focused on the nuclear holocaust which happens at the end of the film.  The Terminator could have gathered John Connor, Kate Brewster and Sarah Connor and got them to safety.  Obviously that would have meant that Linda Hamilton was persuaded to come back to the series, which I would like to think she would have done if her character of Sarah Connor had been given a strong part in the movie.  Claire Danes does well as Kate Brewster, but I was not convinced by Nick Stahl as John Connor.  The character just came across as a whiney little man.  I think an actor who was more physically imposing, or at least had the build to be physically imposing would have been better suited as Stahl is not the biggest of men and add in the way the character was written it made him seem a little pathetic.  Kristanna Loken as the new more advanced terminator tries hard but is not as intimidating as Schwarzenegger or Robert Patrick were.

Maybe I am being a little harsh about this film, but standing against its predecessors it needed to be something special.  It detailed the fall of mankind, and the rise of the machines.  This should have been a film or epic proportions, instead it felt like a cheap knock off.

Terminator Salvation

In this fourth film we see a departure from the time travel element that had been so important in the previous three film.  Here we see a film focused around the events years after Judgement day where John Connor is not quit the leader of the resistance and to a certain degree is still an outsider.  He is also viewed as a prophet of sorts.

The film starts before Terminator 3 happens and we see death row inmate Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) sign his body over to Cyberdyne Systems for medical research after he’s death sentence is carried out.  We never really find out what he does to end up on death row though.  We then shoot forward in time to see John Connor Christian Bale) infiltrating a Skynet base and discovering evidence that a new terminator, the T-800 is being developed.  That base then blows up leaving Connor the sole survivor.  Then he goes to the resistance command and gets authorisation to try out a kill coded for the terminators.  He also learns that he and Kyle Reese are top of a Skynet kill list so he proceeds to try to find Kyle Reese.  Marcus Wright is seen to escape the Skynet base where Connor finds the T-800 plans.  Marcus befriends Kyle Reese before he is captured by Skynet.  After Reese’s capture Marcus becomes friends with resistance pilot Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood) who later helps him escape when Connor and the resistance discover that he is a cyborg.  Marcus saves Connor’s life as he is hunting down the cyborg after his escape and Marcus promises to help Connor get into Skynet’s San Francisco base.  Connor gets into Skynet, saves Kyle Reese, with a little help from Marcus but Connor is fatally wounded so Marcus gives his heart to save Connor’s life.

For me this is a good movie and I did not think that it was going to be any good at all.  From what I can make out I’m in the minority as many people did not seem to like the film.  My biggest doubts about the film came from McG being the director.  I’d seen Charlies Angels : Full Throttle and feared what McG would do with this film, but I am impressed.  The look of the film is unlike anything that we have seen in previous Terminator films, and gives us a new look of the future after Judgment day.  In the first two films we seen snippets of the future and its very dark and the war has been raging for many years.  Here the war has only been going for about a decade so the world is not quite as desolate as it is portrayed in the previous films.

Christian Bale is okay as John Connor, but it’s not he’s strongest role in my opinion.  I’d like to see an actor like Karl Urban or Adrien Brody take on the role.  Bryce Dallas Howard plays Kate Brewster, although I suppose she’s Kate Connor by this point, and has a secondary role but she still plays an important part of seeing the other side of John Connor.  There are a couple of good scenes between John and Kate which is a nice touch.  Sam Worthington almost steals the show as Marcus Wright

The only thing that I really did not like was the ending, I think it could have been done differently and still got the same message across.  That aside I think it’s a good sequel and potentially a good beginning to a new series of movies which tell the story up to the Resistance victory which pushes Skynet to send back The terminator to try to kill Sarah Connor

What’s next?

There are various rumours about where the franchise will be going next.  From what I’ve read the rights to movies has changed hands again and there are rumours that Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed on to do two more movies.  I kind of hope that one is false as I think he’s now a little too old to be running around playing an efficient killing machine, but we will have to wait and see.  I did read one thing that said that Joss Whedon had tried to buy the rights to the films.  I could not think of a better man to oversee any future films although I doubt he will ever have the chance.

If any more films are made they need to be loyal to the original films but at the same time bring something new and groundbreaking to the series, they need people who can raise the expectation in the Terminator films once more and give the fans the movies in this universe we deserve.

Movie Monday

I love movies, I mean I absoluetly love movies and if you have been reading my blog for a while you’ll have noticed that I talk about movies quite often so (hopefully) each Monday I’ll be putting up  a post about the movies that I really want to see or am about to watch, or have just watched.

Resident Evil:Retribution


I saw this one when it came out and have been thinking about it here and there.  It’s not bad, but it’s not anywhere near as good the previous four films.  It left me feeling a little unsatisfied if I’m honest.  Nothing was tidied up from the last film, no answers were given to questions from the last film, or how Jill Valentine ended up where she was.  The best part of the film was the ending because it set up the next film.  Although it did create a lot of questions but hopefully the producers will answer them in the next film.




I saw this one when it came out and found that I was annoyed at how it’s meant to be an Alien prequel, but they had better technology.  If there was no Alien element to it then it would not have made any difference to the movie.  It’s the simple thing of technology though.  In this film the technology the crew have is far superior to that of the original film, but I’ll see how it plays out when I watch it sometime this week.


And has anyone seen the images of the new Robocop? is it my imagination that it looks like a cheap knock off of Iron Man? I’m thinking that it might have been an idea for the producers to have kept it under wraps for a while because a still picture never shows how it will look in a movie.


Top three movies of the year so far:

  1. The Avengers (Avengers Assemble)
  2. The Hunger Games
  3. The Dark Knight Rises

The Avengers vs. Transformers

This is not a post looking at who would win in a smack down between these two forces, although that’s a damn good idea.  I could quite easily see the Hulk tearing six shades of metal out of any of the transformers, but that’s not what this post is about, it’s about the movies that have graced cinema screens over the last few years.  Now if you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know my opinion of the Transformers movies and The Avengers too, but this blog post comes from a simple thought that I had the other day ‘Is The Avengers the movie that the Transformers movies should have been?’

Before I get into this I just want to say that I am a fan of Michael Bay, he makes good movies, they may not be what the critics want but the movie goer keeps coming back for more.  Now, I wont say he’s movies are perfect.  The second Transformers movie, Revenge of the Fallen, in particular has issues.

The thing that, for me, let the Transformer movies down was the lack of a continuing storyline between the three films, and how annoying Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and his storylines were. The visuals were stunning and the battle sequences, especially in the third movie, Dark Of The Moon, were spectacular, but the movies were too adult. They had that edge to them that steered them more towards the adult market in my opinion. Mainly due to adult language and the way that sex is at the front of the movies. I guess you can blame Bay for this as he as director shot the scenes, but we did not need to follow the character of Carly (Rosie Huntingly-Whitely) up the stairs as she is wearing just a shirt and some underwear. Theres a fair bit of over acting in the movies as well which I found more annoying than amusing. I’d have liked to have seen more of Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and the military side of the movies myself.  The humour in the films isn’t bad, but it doesnt seem to sit well at times, almost like it was forced into the script.

Now The Avengers is a totally different kettle of fish.  For me Marvel Studios have made a much better job of putting their movies together.  The Avengers has been built up after five other movies, each one was pretty much a stand alone film but all of them are tied together, and watching all of them makes a richer experience.  No these movies are not perfect but they have had a hell of a lot of attention put into them and unlike the Transformers movies there is no huge continuity issues.   I think this is the correct order of the film sin this universe; Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America : The First Avenger and then The Avengers.  Yes there is the odd adult joke, but it’s very subtle.  I can’t recall any instances of bad language.  The rest of the humour is pretty much perfect in my opinion.  I think part of that is Director Joss Whedon.  From Buffy The Vampire Slayer, to Angel and then Firefly/Serenity he has always had some very good humour in what he has worked on.  Whedon’s skill with working with big ensemble casts has to be up there because he gets the best out of all the actors in this film and in his other works that I mentioned.  At a time when cinema goers seem to like the movies with ensemble casts like this I think that’s a great talent to have.

I think the big difference between the two franchises is in the spirit that they have been put together.  The Transformers films have this big blockbuster feel to them and look amazing, but the depth of the movies just are not there.  Dont get me wrong, seeing giant robots smashing each other to pieces is wicked, but as someone who is becoming a hard-core movie fan I’m looking for that little bit more in my movies.  The Avengers has that.  It has the intelligence within a movie that I crave, but that intelligence does not take away the blockbuster spectacle that I love in this type of movie too.  This film has no pointless characters, it doesnt force plot points or jokes through.  The Avengers has the right spirit in it, it has that special quality that few movies have that truly makes it a great film.  It’s got sincerity, honesty and heart.

In my humble opinion I consider The Avengers to be the best film that I have ever seen.

The Avengers (Avengers Assemble)

*Geekasm Blog Post Warning*

I went and saw Avengers Assemble and can I just say, WOW!  This film lived up to my expectations, and then some, it was epic.

For those of you that do not know The Avengers is about a group of superheros who are brought together to fight off a pending alien invasion.  The invasion is being led by the fallen Loki (see the movie Thor) and he has this alien army to lead so they can take over earth, and he will have rule over earth as the aliens. The Chitauri will then invade the rest of the galaxy, but they cannot do that until Loki opens a portal using the Tesseract which is a power source.  While he is giving his mind controlled scientists the time to make the portal stable he causes The Avengers chaos, first tearing them apart, but his actions, one in particular pulls them back together and that’s when it gets FUN 😀 Before that happens Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) brings The Avengers together.  Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Bruce Banner, also known as The Hulk, form The Avengers.

Hawkeye and Black Widow are already part of the organisation known as S.H.I.E.L.D This is the organisation the Fury is the director of.  Loki uses a spear/lance style weapon that has a power source similar to that of the Tesseract.  PArt of this weapons ability is to control the minds of humans, and Hawkeye succumbs to this mind control early on in the movie.

Agent Phil Coulson, another S.H.I.E.L.D agent, is sent to recruit Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man as Black Widow is sent to recruit Bruce Banner, also known as the Hulk.  Fury brings in Captain America who is having a little trouble coming to grips with being frozen for seventy years and everyone he knew having died.  Eventually Hawkeye regains the control of his body and joins The Avengers as the entire team comes together to stop Loki’s alien army entering through a portal that he has opened above Stark Tower in New York, and this is where all the build up pays off.  Dont get me wrong the build up wasnt boring in any way and it was great seeing how the team got put together and seeing the various personality clashes throughout the early parts of the film.  When Thor arrives and has a smack down with Iron Man and Captain America that is especially impressive.  But it is when The Avengers come together and become a team, that’s what I want to see.  To see The Avengers fight as a team and kick some alien BUTT.  The final battle is epic, especially when The Hulk takes out the first of the alien crafts that has come through the portal, that is well cool 🙂

Joss Whedon really puts a strong film together here.  It had the potential to be a tricky movie to create as there was so many different characters to put together.  Whedon is very good with characters and dealing with big casts and add to that how he’s handled the structure of the story then Whedon’s done a bloody good job of knitting the film together.

I can safely say that this will be a film that gets added to my DVD collection when it comes out.  If you’ve liked the Marvel films that have led up to this film then I think you’ll like this epic movie.

I’m looking forward to seeing where Marvel take the franchise from here 🙂

Captain America: THe First Avenger

(A very quick post)


Literally just got back from the cinema after seeing this film and  I really enjoyed this film, it gave me everything I expected to see.  Any one who knows A little about Captain America will know enough for me not to go into A mass description of the idea behind him, but basically as the film describes it is A weak man just wants to take on the bullies.  This is A well thought through film, with very good performances and is directed well.  Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones all put in A solid and in most cases A impressive performance.  Evans especially handles the weak Stephen Rogers and then the strong Captain America very well.  The first film I saw him in was Fantastic Four and he was good in that but he’s really grown into an outstanding actor.

There’s very good action and the serious side of the film is well handled and I really liked the humour that is in the film.  Sometimes these little comedic moments can kill A film but here they are subtle and well-timed.  The CGI is well done, especially the early moments when we are seeing the weak Stephen Rogers.  There was one or two moments that I thought ‘That’s CGI’ though.

The only thing that I wasnt really happy with was how Captain America wakes up today.  I would have liked to have seen a scene where S.H.I.E.L.D discover him and not just his shield.

This is the final film in the build up to The Avengers movie which we will see next year.  We waited till the end of the credits to see A little snippet of this film and I cannot wait till May 2012.  A lot of expectation is on this film and I have a fair amount of faith that Joss Whedon is gonna do a good job.