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  1. #1
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    Default TERMINATOR SALVATION (Blu-ray; Warner Bros.)



    NOTE: This review is NO way, shape or form meant to discredit, piss on or otherwise ignore all the other takes on the film in this section of the forum (of which there are a few if I am not mistaken)...it is merely my own personal take.


    Studio: Warner Bros.
    MPAA Rating: PG-13
    Disc/Transfer Information: 1080p High Definition; 16X9 2.4:1 (2.40:1); Region 1 (U.S.) Release
    Tested Audio Track: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (tested at core DTS)
    Director: McG
    Starring Cast: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Bryce Dallas Howard


    RESISTANCE IS FUTILE…OR IS IT?



    PLOT ANALYSIS:

    In many ways, this fourth installment to the Arnold-esque franchise is like a cross between War of the Worlds and Transformers – how, you ask? Well, remember when Tom Cruise and all the unlucky captives of the aliens in Spielberg’s War of the Worlds are trapped in those “transport buckets” on the alien ships? Something very similar happens in Terminator Salvation. Furthermore, the overtly wild, eye-popping mechanical mayhem and battle sequences in this Christian Bale-helmed action fest are eerily similar to all the chaos that ensued between the transformers in Michael (gulp) Bay’s film.

    Let me back up a bit. I rented this on a whim after recalling wanting to see it theatrically; after all, the “hole” left by “John Connor” telling us that the “battle had just begun” at the end of Rise of the Machines had fans salivating for the fourth installment. Part 3 was pure popcorn action – the kind of film that non-diehard Terminator fans were able to enjoy just as an over-the-top summer blockbuster, while serious fans that were raised on the more cerebral diet of the first and second films called Jonathan Mostow’s film pure eye candy. Bet that as it may, Rise of the Machines was simply all-out, balls-to-the-wall fun from beginning to end, and we were treated to Arnie gettin’ it on with a foxy “female” terminator sent to wipe out John Connor once again. The DVD’s Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is still, all these years later, absolute pure demo gold. And so Terminator 3 stands on its own as a kind of unique entry in the franchise; one that non-Terminator diehards can watch as a standalone action picture.

    The biggest gamble came when Warner Brothers announced that Arnie wouldn’t be in the fourth installment – it was to take a bit of a fresh direction with Christian Bale as Connor leading the human resistance after the events of the third film. How could this work? How could it be a Terminator film without Arnold on the marquee? Well, just when you thought he wasn’t completely in it, there’s a good surprise towards the end of Salvation

    The timeline of events from the conclusion of Rise of the Machines up until what transpires in Salvation seems a bit sketchy upon first watch, and the film finds itself playing like an odd mix of a Mad Max film and one of the aforementioned Transformers sequels, what with desolate, dry landscapes and horizons fusing with bands and pockets of survivor colonies. An opening sequence gets a bit confusing as we witness a prisoner (Sam Worthington) preparing to be executed on death row as he talks with a cancer victim looking for him to donate his body once he’s executed. Worthington’s character ends up being “half-made” into a terminator and sent into the raging war that Bale and the resistance is fighting with Skynet and the machines. It takes until the end of the film to discover that the cancer victim in that opening sequence was actually behind making Worthington into the half-machine in order to, of course, stop John Connor’s resistance efforts.

    The resistance, as it is known, is apparently fighting this war against the machines and Skynet via a submarine, I guess because the robots simply cannot make it underwater – until some new eel-like terminator units find a way to do just that. Meanwhile, there are some continuation issues here, mainly with the fact that Claire Danes’ character from the third film has been replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard (Spider-Man 3); at the end of the third film, Connor and Danes are destined to be married and have children as they hunker in the military bunker, but much like the Dark Knight Katie Holmes switch, Howard now plays Connor’s wife and is carrying his baby. Another interesting element in Salvation comes in the form of Connor’s father (played here by Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin)who is fighting the war against the machines from the L.A. pocket of resistance – Connor doesn’t know his father, Kyle, is in this time until some events start coming together.

    The main problem with Bale playing John Connor is his Batman-under-the-mask-like dialogue delivery; sometimes, it is so similar, it’s startling. As Bale delivers his lines in this, you can almost hear the lisp-like speech in The Dark Knight when he talks to Harvey Dent about turning himself in – the delivery is identical. But, surprisingly, if you give it time, Terminator Salvation has some moments of clarity and wallops of action setpieces reminiscent of the first three films. There are wild updates of the terminator machines and their weapons/ships, and a great final battle sequence between Bale, Worthington and a surprise visit from a terminator we all know…

    Which brings me to Worthington’s “Marcus” character and the role he plays in this; as I said, if you give the film time, the plot begins to make more sense and effective elements begin to fall into place. Once discovered as a half-machine, Marcus is suspected of being a Skynet spy of sorts by Connor and some of his resistance friends, even though he denies being there to harm them. Restrained in iron chains, Marcus is eventually set free by a sexy member of Connor’s team that doesn’t believe he is there to harm them, either. Meanwhile, Connor’s father, Kyle, and other resistance fighters, have been scooped up by giant machines and are headed to Skynet headquarters in a bombed-out San Francisco. Now, in order to save the future and stabilize the past, Connor must get to Skynet and rescue Kyle – his only hope is to trust Marcus in that this half man/half machine will help him in infiltrating Skynet’s headquarters.

    What ensues are eye-popping machine/human battles that borders on almost beyond reproach – sure, these battle sequences were wild enough in Judgement Day and Rise of the Machines, but wait until you see Bale fighting the surprise terminator towards the end, or Marcus using his machine half to battle the super terminator. Pretty cool stuff, to put it simply.

    There are some “cameo” voiceover moments from John’s mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton) and the score from the first three films has been fused with a Batman Begins-like tune from Danny Elfman, but the biggest issue I had with Terminator Salvation was Bale as Connor; I just didn’t see it. Actually, Worthington would have probably been a better fit, visually, for Connor. I just didn’t see Edward Furlong growing up into Bale – speaking of Furlong, there’s a nice nod to his John Connor performance from the second film in this, when Bale switches on a boom box radio and blasts that Guns ‘n Roses song from Judgement Day

    The final sequence has, again, Bale as Connor narrating a few words about the machines not being completely eliminated, thus leaving the door open for a fifth installment; will we see a return of the beloved California politician? Is he too old? Can his wife manage to look remotely sexy even with makeup?


    TERMINATOR SALVATION REVIEW CONTINUED BELOW...
    Last edited by Mike LoManaco; 12-04-2009 at 03:00 AM.

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    TERMINATOR SALVATION REVIEW CONTINUED...

    VIDEO QUALITY ANALYSIS:

    For Warner Bros.’ Blu-ray presentation of Terminator Salvation, the audio happened to fare better than the video – and I’ll get to that below. The opening shots on this 1080p, 2.40:1 widescreen transfer appeared to be riddled with a bit too much grain and slight digital noise. As the transfer moved forward, however, visuals cleared up a great deal and there was a tremendous amount of detail to be found in facial hair, pores, dirt roads and the usual standbys that happen to look good in high definition. The overall color palate was coated in a dull, bleak, cold scheme inherent to the subject material of robots taking over mankind, and this transferred over well on the Blu-ray. Most scenes kept a thin veil of film grain present, but aside from some opening sequences, this wasn’t a distraction.

    AUDIO QUALITY ANALYSIS:

    Wow. Even running the DTS core stream of this 5.1 Master Audio track was an experience that bested the video presentation on the Terminator Salvation Blu-ray Disc (I will finally have access to full lossless Master Audio after the holidays when I receive the Oppo Blu-ray player). From beginning to end, this was a sweeping, engaging and at times walloping audio track that will have your subwoofer testing the vibration limits of objects in your listening room. Compared to the last DTS Master Audio track I sampled on Blu-ray, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, this sound mix was a completely different animal – much like the crushing Dolby Digital track on the Rise of the Machines DVD, the LFE, surround activity and immersion presence on Salvation will give even the most demanding of systems a workout.

    Curiously, I haven’t been pleased with the latest crop of Master Audio-equipped titles, even running them at core extraction – let me say I haven’t been impressed. But once the action heats up in Salvation, hold on – there’s a heavy, menacing sense of bass information during the battle sequences and when the machines are falling and hitting the ground as they’re taken out. Gun blasts, directional cues and all other kinds of elements work their way into the surround channels with an aggressive presence; it’s an all-encompassing, nearly constant surround mix. At times, dialogue was bit difficult to make out when I needed to lower the master volume to compensate for the crushing, hammering effects; this happens with almost every disc where the soundfield needs to be reduced to an almost nonexistent level due to late night viewing of high action material.

    SUMMARY:

    Most of Terminator Salvation doesn’t really entertain; fans of the franchise will find themselves checking the elapsed time on their players to see how much more they need to sit through because, as I said, much of this plays like an odd War of the Worlds/Mad Max/Transformers hybrid. But once the “Marcus” man/machine finds his mission, to help John Connor save his father from the Skynet trenches, and the battles between him and the “resurrected” super terminator (you’ll love that surprise), the film really picks up steam and redeems itself. It is absolutely no Judgment Day or even Rise of the Machines, but it gets fairly entertaining towards the end. It will be interesting to see where – if anywhere – this franchise is going to go from here.

    RECOMMENDATIONS:

    If you’re curious, like me, you’ll want to give this at least a rental spin – it didn’t find much love in the theaters and it was pulled rather quickly, but it sure makes for wild home theater enjoyment. Coupled with the disc’s Master Audio track, you can probably find worse ways to spend two hours. Just watch that subwoofer volume/calibration level on your system because this one’s a boomer.

    As for a purchase, I really can’t say; I don’t think I am going to pick it up as I don’t see it getting much repeat play in my system, but I may rewatch it a few times before I need to return it.

    As always, thanks for reading, and hope you enjoy Terminator Salvation should you choose to give it a try.
    Last edited by Mike LoManaco; 12-04-2009 at 03:14 AM.

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    Awesome sound quaility:D
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    Seriously... It's right there at the top of the threads, because the rest of us were already talking about the movie.

    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83422

    Gonna keep beating this drum until you get treated the same as the rest of us. No offense intended, Mike.
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    ^^^^^ +1

    Mods please merge. :)


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    Quote Originally Posted by kuntasensei View Post
    Seriously... It's right there at the top of the threads, because the rest of us were already talking about the movie.

    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83422

    Gonna keep beating this drum until you get treated the same as the rest of us. No offense intended, Mike.
    Now, now....

    His opinions are more important, kuntasensei, so they must be showcased. Nevermind that the rest of the forum already had a place to discuss this movie in as much or as little detail as they wanted to. You see, this magnanimous soul is not a part of this forum so much as he's benevolenty gracing us all with his presence.

    Now, get your ass back to the peasant thread so the high minded one can thank his followers and shun his detractors without reprimand, you trouble maker you.
    Last edited by Demiurge; 12-04-2009 at 09:36 AM.

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    I feel so utterly, insignificant. :(

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keiko View Post
    I feel so utterly, insignificant. :(
    Now now, Your PIE MAN!

    Nuff said

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    mine is being shipped by walmart. 20% bing cashback.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BIZILL View Post
    mine is being shipped by walmart. 20% bing cashback.
    Thank you for your participation. And for reminding me I need to do the Bing cash back thing from now on.

    Awaiting thread merge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    Now now, Your PIE MAN!

    Nuff said

    Pauly
    Thank you for that, Pauly. That makes me feel better and you've booted my self esteem.

    Have a nice day. I know I will, now. :D

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike LoManaco View Post
    NOTE: This review is NO way, shape or form meant to discredit, piss on or otherwise ignore all the other takes on the film in this section of the forum (of which there are a few if I am not mistaken)...it is merely my own personal take.

    Why didn't you just post your own personal take on this film in the original thread like everyone else?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KrazyMofo24 View Post
    Why didn't you just post your own personal take on this film in the original thread like everyone else?
    See Demi's post


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    lame...

    mods need to deal with this crap asap... it's pathetic.
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    I'm still concerned with the "color palate" of this film. Or maybe the palette. I can't decide.

    Seriously, Mike.... you're welcome in our threads. We don't bite unless provoked. Well... except Keiko.
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    I don't bite because I have no idea where some of y'all have been, or if ya's have had your shots. :p

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    You're all gonna get reported...you're all gonna get reported...nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyaaaah! :p
    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!

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    Yeah, we probably will get reported. Justice demands it.

    Hey, Patrick... Shoot me your mailing address in a PM. I'll ship ya' a bottle of Jameson's to help get you through all of the e-mails you're gonna get. ;)
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuntasensei View Post
    Yeah, we probably will get reported. Justice demands it.

    Hey, Patrick... Shoot me your mailing address in a PM. I'll ship ya' a bottle of Jameson's to help get you through all of the e-mails you're gonna get. ;)
    Reported for bribery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Demiurge View Post
    Reported for bribery.
    Oh, that wasn't bribery, sir! It's my way of apologizing for future reports against me! :D
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    Reported for disagreeing.

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    You are all, Terminated!

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    Quote Originally Posted by keiko View Post
    you are all, terminated!
    dun dun dun dun dun!
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuntasensei View Post
    dun dun dun dun dun!
    The theme music soundtrack is intense indeed, for the original Arnienator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danz1906 View Post
    Awesome sound quaility:D
    I agree, Danz. As I had mentioned, this was the highlight of the disc. I actually feel it warranted more positive remarks than the video transfer did. This very well may be the de-facto demo disc for the current crop of action releases (for DTS-MA tracks).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike LoManaco View Post
    I agree, Danz. As I had mentioned, this was the highlight of the disc. I actually feel it warranted more positive remarks than the video transfer did. This very well may be the de-facto demo disc for the current crop of action releases (for DTS-MA tracks).
    I dunno... There was a bit of harshness to me on this one, though I did enjoy it. I think it's gonna be hard to beat Transformers: ROTF for recent DTS-MA track that will show off your surround setup. Though let's face it, I'm gonna watch Star Trek more than either of those combined.
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    Great DTS-MA sound + Great SUBwoofer action=:D:D:D
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    Quote Originally Posted by danz1906 View Post
    Great DTS-MA sound + Great SUBwoofer action=:D:D:D
    Thanks for your comments. Funny that you posted them here instead of in the existing thread that you started.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike LoManaco View Post
    TERMINATOR SALVATION REVIEW CONTINUED...

    SUMMARY:

    Most of Terminator Salvation doesn’t really entertain; fans of the franchise will find themselves checking the elapsed time on their players to see how much more they need to sit through because, as I said, much of this plays like an odd War of the Worlds/Mad Max/Transformers hybrid. But once the “Marcus” man/machine finds his mission, to help John Connor save his father from the Skynet trenches, and the battles between him and the “resurrected” super terminator (you’ll love that surprise), the film really picks up steam and redeems itself. It is absolutely no Judgment Day or even Rise of the Machines, but it gets fairly entertaining towards the end. It will be interesting to see where – if anywhere – this franchise is going to go from here.

    RECOMMENDATIONS:

    If you’re curious, like me, you’ll want to give this at least a rental spin – it didn’t find much love in the theaters and it was pulled rather quickly, but it sure makes for wild home theater enjoyment. Coupled with the disc’s Master Audio track, you can probably find worse ways to spend two hours. Just watch that subwoofer volume/calibration level on your system because this one’s a boomer.

    As for a purchase, I really can’t say; I don’t think I am going to pick it up as I don’t see it getting much repeat play in my system, but I may rewatch it a few times before I need to return it.

    As always, thanks for reading, and hope you enjoy Terminator Salvation should you choose to give it a try. [/FONT]
    Thank you Mike for another well-written and in-depth review.
    Based on your review, I won't purchase it, but may try the rental instead.
    I look forward to the next one. Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xcapri79 View Post
    Thank you Mike for another well-written and in-depth review.
    Based on your review, I won't purchase it, but may try the rental instead.
    I look forward to the next one. Cheers.
    Slurp... slurp... slurp...
    Equipment list:
    Onkyo TX-NR3010 9.2 AVR
    Emotiva XPA-3 amp
    Polk RTi70 mains, CSi40 center, RTi38 surrounds, RTi28 rears and heights
    SVS 20-39CS+ subwoofer powered by Crown XLS1500
    Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player
    DarbeeVision DVP5000 video processor
    Epson 8500UB 1080p projector
    Elite Screens Sable 120" CineWhite screen

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