Who's In It: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood, Anton Yelchin, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common, Jane Alexander, Michael Ironside, Helena Bonham Carter
The Basics: Skynet keeps trying to kill all the stupid humans and the stupid humans keep getting themselves killed. And this movie proves that it's a never-ending battle, one destined to be played out over many more
marketing platforms sequels. With luck those sequels will help me figure out how messiah-of-the-future John Connor and his own teenage father--who hasn't met John Connor's mother yet-- can exist in the same time frame without John Connor magically disappearing back up into Dad's balls.
What's The Deal: I have no emotional connection to any of the people in this mythology. What that means is that when the giant machine robot thingies pluck them from the ground and squeeze them to death, all I can think to do is yell, "AWESOME!" I don't even care if John Connor messiahs everybody back to safety in a post-machine future. But I figure the movie probably wants you to care. Which means on one level it fails in a spectacular way. Of course, if cold mechanical death, megadestructive nuclear blasts, humanoid battles, helicopter crashes and wacky hellish fiery peril are what you care about, if sensation alone makes a movie work for you, then this one succeeds on those strengths every 15 seconds.
Starring The Dark Knight And Some Australian Guy: I walk in thinking, "Nice, this is Christian Bale's wildman rant movie. He's going to be all kinds of crazy." But no, that happened when the cameras weren't rolling. What he's doing here is the husky whisper-talking he uses when he plays Batman. Not that it's bad. I just expected something else. Meanwhile, Australian newcomer Sam Worthington seems to be battling a dialect coach terminator living inside his own throat, one that's trying to squash his native accent and failing in a way that would make Outback Steakhouse laugh out loud. If restaurants laughed, I mean.
Number Of Surprises: A nice handful. There are some freaked-out machines that are actually pretty frightening, some character reveals that, while predictable, are still entertaining, and a chance to see former NEA chairperson Jane Alexander get herself into a shocking machine-based predicament. But again, if you're looking for something satisfying story-wise, humanity-wise, logic-wise, or any of the other -wises, then you'll be bored after the 37th thing explodes in your face. And there are like a hundred more to come after that.
Summer Movie Earplug Warning: It's loud. Really loud. If you go see it in a theater with a good sound system you might want to bring protection for the big decibel moments.