Terminator: Salvation [Blu-Ray] McG

Terminator: Salvation [Blu-Ray] McG
The future of the Terminator series arrives on Blu-Ray, begging the question: was it worth the fight? A glut of excitable sci-fi fan boys immediately began hazing this project when word of McG at the helm initially dropped, only to be temporarily satiated by the shoot-for-the-moon casting of Christian Bale as John Connor. While this reviewer has no problem with the resistance leader of a bleak, dusty, post-apocalyptic wasteland having a gruff voice, the presence of an actor of Bale's calibre altered what may have been a more concise and effective story buried beneath the two-headed-lead beast that ended up holding court over Salvation's narrative. From the opening sequence, which telegraphs something that could've been an effective reveal, it's clear this film is about the character of Marcus Wright. Sam Worthington's not-so-mysterious prisoner from the past wakes up in the future after donating his body, post-lethal injection, to scientific research, and almost immediately runs into a young Kyle Reese. This is where the meat of Salvation's story lies. Having an x-factor protector trying to keep safe a young man whose life is the key to saving the future is the grain of classic Terminator that grapples for screen time with John Connor's dreary plot thread, which is essentially just him becoming the military leader his mother always prophesized. Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) is quickly proving himself among the best actors of his generation, and in fact, steals the show from his senior thespians with believable subtly and knowing homage to his character's legacy. Had McG honed the story to support the stronger arch, Salvation could have been a totally respectable entry into the franchise. Eye-candy abounds, especially the gargantuan "harvester" and the CGI appearance from you-know-who, but the whole production is gorgeously detailed in a very gritty, raw, dirty way. There's little difference between the theatrical and director's cuts, but the later is playable in "Maximum Movie Mode," which is really just a time stretching way to present features that could just be collected in a menu for ease of viewing. A "making of" and a separate look at the "Moto Terminators" are mostly unique, but footage from each is interspersed into the commentary replacing "M.M.M." Throughout, there are plenty of fascinating looks into production, especially the VFX. For all his strutting about quality, McG is still humble enough to point out shots in the film he was never satisfied with. The cast and crew seem to have their hearts in the right place, but they may have gotten collectively in over their heads. Salvation is a case of its creators fighting like mad to astonish without fully understanding the story at the heart of the film's metallic body. (Warner)