Despite many people’s opinions, I liked “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” I will admit the execution was sloppy and provided more humor than action. I liked where the man versus machine film franchise went with “T3.” After the first “Terminator” film set the stage, “T2” turned out to be an impressive remake of “T1.” By the end of “T3,” the arena for the no holds barred battle royale between the human resistance and the cold machinery of Skynet is ready to commence. “Terminator Salvation” will provide the highlights of the battle and the rise of its best weapons John Conner and Skynet’s T-800 line.
Braving the WonderCon 2009 crowds on February 28th, I eagerly sat on the edge of my seat waiting for the “Terminator Salvation” panelists. Led by its film director McG, stars present for the panel included Anton Yelchin (Kyle Reese), Bryce Dallas Howard (Kate Conner), Moon Bloodgood (Blair Williams), and rapper Common (Barnes). Sadly, the main start Christian Bale (John Conner) was unable to attend, but McG and the WonderCon attendees left him a loud voice mail. Upon asking for the biggest Terminator fan in the room, an average Asian with short hair and glasses let out a bellowing scream and charged the stage. He delivered a very good Arnold Schwarzenegger voice and joined the panel answering questions about the fans as a fan.
I found this very surprising because I was sitting next to this Asian Arnold at the preceding panel and he asked to make sure I got out of his way during the “Terminator Salvation” panel. I thought he was just in a rush to ask a question. During the previous panel he later found a better aisle seat that better suited his aforementioned run.
McG provided a WonderCon exclusive: A first look at the new trailer for “Terminator Salvation” set to air during the opening weekend of “Watchmen” on March 6th. But unlike most teaser trailers, this one revealed a giant chunk of the plot instead of the usual bevy of explosions and menacing killing machines. In the trailer, John Conner and several of the human resistance stumble upon a man named Marcus (Sam Worthington) who is in fact a man with a Terminator exoskeleton. Or maybe he is a Terminator that is really capable of lying. Or perhaps he is a Terminator that gained sentience. The origins of this man and whether John and the human resistance can trust him will be a key point of the plot.
McG told the audience of the development of “Terminator Salvation.” After the panning of “T3,” McG went to the original “Terminator” creator James Cameron with the idea of pitting the humans against Skynet in the apocalyptic future. The film also would discuss the rise of John Conner as the human resistance leader. James Cameron found the concept interesting, but would not give approval until AFTER seeing the finished product. He wants to see it like the average movie fan. Acclaimed writer Jonathan Nolan, after the success of the Christian Bale “Batman” reboot, lent his talent to write the screenplay.
Each actor had a few things to say about their roles. Anton Yelchin told about the research he did of the Michael Biehn version of Kyle Reese in the first “Terminator” movie. Whether it was tying up the sling for the sawed-off shotgun or even shoe selection, Anton intends to reference and develop his younger Kyle Reese into the hero of the first “Terminator” film. As Kate Conner, Bryce Dallas Howard’s character has to shoulder the responsibility of being the next leader of the human resistance should John Conner die. Will she be able to handle the responsibility and will the humans accept her as the next leader? Moon Bloodgood posed a marketing issue. Stating that some heads of Warner Bros were present McG wanted to know whether the audience would want to see Moon’s breasts during the film. The resounding response gave the heads something to consider. So if Moon’s breasts do appear in the final print of the film, thank WonderCon.
Common provided some keen insight on the underlying message of “Terminator Salvation.” He said that the film has a theme that regardless of color, sex, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs, humanity has to stick together during a serious crisis. For the film, the Terminators do not care about the color of a person’s skin or what God he or she may worship; it will kill that person nevertheless. One corollary to note is that it is preferable for mankind to get along with each other and see past the differences BEFORE the killing machines appear. The question I would have liked to ask if they had time was,” Why does Skynet feel the need to exterminate humanity? We do a good enough job killing each other already; why does Skynet feel the need to speed up the process?” If you do not wish to be spoiled about the film’s plot development and scenes, please stop reading and wait for “Terminator Salvation” when it hits theaters May 21st.
*Possible Spoiler Analysis*
“Terminator Salvation” comes off as both a sequel and a prequel. It continues the “T3” story, yet sets up the technology for Skynet and human characters to battle each other in the first “Terminator” film when they travel back in time. Based on the Michael Biehn’s role as Kyle Reese, Skynet developed several lines of bipedal killing machines that resembled humans before the T-800 played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The failed models were easy to spot. McG plans to show off those older lines and how Skynet eventually developed the T-800. This is why robots collected humans into the camps that Kyle described. When asked whether Arnold would reappear in the role that made him famous, McG said he could not answer. But it is often that what one does not say is louder than what one does say.
*Possible Spoiler Clips*
Other exclusive clips shown include Marcus saving John from killing machines swimming along water. Despite being rescued by the supposed Terminator, John still cannot decide whether to trust him. It is revealed during that scene that Skynet is holding Kyle Reese hostage. Showing his confidence in his work, McG revealed an unfinished clip to the audience of a chase sequence. A gigantic robot invades attacks a gas station full of people. Several are taken and dumped into a holding tank. Those who attempt to flee are blasted. Three protagonists attempt to fight it using an oil tanker. After creating a giant fireball, they flee. The giant robot dispatches motorcycle drones to make chase. The human protagonists attempt to shake off their pursuers before getting cut off by an Hunter Killer hover jet.