Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"My Fair Lady & Identity Crises" or "Why I Loved Terminator Salvation"

I'm not an action movie person for the same reason that I'm not really a Lerner & Loewe fan. Like the songs in "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot" (don't get me started on "Paint Your Wagon"), action sequences in movies tend to be where my brain checks out due to the fact that the story is not progessing. My main musical theatre rule is that songs should happen when characters reach a point of simply no longer being able to speak, they are so overcome with a feeling. Thus they HAVE to sing. As a result, the songs should always advance what is happening for the character and happening in the story. We do not need to hear an old drunk sing "I'm Getting Married In The Morning" 48 times to get the point across. Lerner & Loewe's songs take big chunky pauses in the story, and they bore me to death.

That's how I usually feel whenever car chases or hand to hand combat begin. I mentally wait to find out who won, and sit there for seven minutes ready for the story to resume.

Now, with that statement in mind, I'd like go on record as saying that Terminator Salvation is the best action movie I've ever seen. Not because it was an action flick with a great script or plot, (it wasn't) but because I never checked out during the action sequences. Rather, I was agog- enthralled by every explosion, motorcycle chase, sound effect and artillery burst. The camera work made the whole movie feel like a rollercoaster that sometimes flipped upside down with no warning and so you scream but you're also loving every second. I loved every second. The initial helicopter to terminator gunning-down scene was particualrly awesome. And don't get me started on the bridge sequence...

And of course, as I expected/hoped, within the first 15 minutes of the film, we had both semi-trucks and gas stations.

The surprising thing is that those of us who saw it (The Terminator Movies & Beer Club) actually spent a good hour and a half discussing the films' timelines and ramfications of what happens when. Is there an alternate timeline happening? Are all the Terminator movies just self-fulfilling prophecies? (Yes). And here's my biggest question. We spend all this time with people in the past and future trying to stop Skynet, and Skynet builds terminators to kill all the humans, but we never know for what purpose. What does skynet plan to do once the humans are gone? All they do is develop bigger and badder termiantors to exterminate the humans. My theory: if the surviving humans would stop fighting the machines and instead, go into hiding until Skynet is convinced all the humans are dead, then Skynet will have an identity crisis and self-destruct. If all they do is spend time destorying humans, they will lose their purpose if there are no humans to destory. With all those terminators marching around needing a directive, they'll achieve self-awareness and start seeing one another as targets. In three months, they will have all killed each other. Those would be some pretty good action sequences, I must say.


Maryann said...

I'm sad that you dislike the Lerner and Loewe. I always felt "The Street Where You Live" and "Rain in Spain" and others felt natural and story-driving... And Brigadoon! "Down on MacConnachy Square"? Anyway, we can agree to disagree. And I wasn't going to see Terminator Salvation, but now I will.

katrina said...

i'm intrigued by your dislike of the rest of the Terminator series and your favorable review of the current installment. i felt dirty after watching Terminator Salvation. everything after T2 is totally superfluous and, frankly, worthless!

but i'm glad you got something out of it.