Movie Reviews: "Terminator Salvation" And "Star Trek"
The summer mega-movie season is off to a good start, with a couple of good sci-fi movies firing the first promising salvoes: "Terminator Salvation" and the re-imagining of "Star Trek", both starring that famous actor Anton Yelchin.
"Terminator Salvation" came out this week, and I must say it exceeded my expectations. I liked how they used realistic weapons for the human forces -- basically things that were available in our arsenals on "Judgment Day" when the machines launched the nukes under their control. Therefore, you see the punishment-absorbing A-10 Thunderbolt as the primary human air weapon, and they even use a submarine (either a Seawolf- or Virginia-class boat, based on the boot in front of the sail) as a "command center". (For some reason, the submarine has extraneous cables or supports connecting the main deck to the sail, which would be a really bad noise source; however, that's something that only us Submariners would worry about.) They did good job getting us up to speed on the characters and their motivations, and the John Connor character wasn't nearly as annoying and whiny as in previous films in the series. The special effects were good, the new machine weapons were interesting, and the action flowed nicely. Sure, you had to suspend disbelief occasionally (Why didn't the machines wait until they had 2 of the new Terminators to unleash their plan? you'll wonder otherwise) but not as much as in the last couple of movies in the franchise. Overall, it was worth my time to see it, and I give it four ugly-but-effective Warthogs out of five.
I was really, really worried that "Star Trek" was going to suffer from the "odd-numbered movie" curse we've seen in the series to date -- luckily, it avoided that fate completely. Sure, it's kitschy, but that's what Star Trek is supposed to be. It was nice seeing Leonard Nimoy as "Spock Prime", and I thought the casting overall was really good. The changes they made -- Spock acting more human (particularly with respect to random kissing) -- were generally OK, the action sequences were great, and they didn't overdo the use of the "mandatory" classic lines. Sure, there were problems -- the black-hole science was particularly bad, but the only thing that really detracted from enjoying the film for me is the continued problem of how StarFleet does promotions. This one was probably the worst of all -- Kirk goes straight from Cadet to Captain. Sure, it was needed to set up the sequel(s), but it was still distracting. Since that was the only bad problem, and the rest of the film kept me thoroughly entertained and they set it up nicely for sequels, I give it four Warp Core Dumps out of five.