Terminator Salvation: World exclusive first footage unveiled
Feature by Rob Carnevale
IS THERE a need for a fourth Terminator movie? It’s a question that many fans of the franchise have been asking ever since a new film was announced.
But it was also the very same question that incoming director McG needed answering before committing to the project in the first place. Did we need to see yet another Terminator coming back from the future to hunt Sarah Connor? And where could the franchise go in order to prevent it feeling like a weary re-tread?
Speaking before a packed London audience on Tuesday (November 18, 2008), McG delivered some of those answers in emphatic fashion: back to the beginning.
Terminator Salvation will precede a lot of the events that have already taken place in the first three films. It will unfold after Judgement Day. And, crucially, it will examine how John Connor emerged as leader of the Resistance.
There will be plenty of Terminator action – with 10 NEW Terminator machines in total – but McG was keen to stress that the film will play to the strengths of its actors, as well as the technical expertise of its special effects team.
What’s more, the screenplay has been co-written by Jonathan Nolan, of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight fame, and is designed to explore where humanity ends and computers begin.
Thus far, the footage looks spectacular. Only seven minutes were shown, and much of that was incomplete, but McG appears to have taken the franchise in an interesting new direction, while honouring its origins.
Several of the action sequences look amazing: a car chase involving motorbike Terminators that owes a lot of its inspiration to the raw style of Road Warrior particularly so. But also a large Terminator machine designed to kidnap humans for Skynet’s own sinister ends.
The T600 series referred to by Kyle Reese in James Cameron’s original will also feature prominently (whereby its rubber skin will be easier to spot), but the eventual development of the Model 101 Terminator (conveyed by Arnold Schwarzenegger) will play a massive part in the direction of the film. John Connor will try to prevent it from happening.
Christian Bale coup
One of the greatest coups in realising McG’s vision for a fourth Terminator film was also the casting of Christian Bale in the key role of John Connor.
The director admits that he was greeted with a less than friendly response when he initially pitched the idea to Bale but worked hard to convince the actor that the film would play to his strengths.
Part of this was building as much that was real as possible, so that Bale and company – including Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin and Michael Ironside – would have something to act against, rather than a tennis ball and lots of green screen.
The presence of Christopher Nolan’s brother, Jonathan, was another key component, as there will be a very clear emphasis on story and the threat posed to society by technology – something McG confessed to being worried about in real life.
Fans can therefore anticipate a film that’s big on action, but also character and plot, while the gritty look and fast, intelligent style is designed to reflect the success of previous franchise reboots such as Batman and James Bond.
McG also confirmed that a “leaked” ending was NOT how the film would end, even though they had explored the possibility at a very early stage (that John Connor would turn out to be a robot?), while a rumoured cameo from Schwarzenegger seems likely (though NOT confirmed verbally, but with a knowing grin).
Terminator Salvation will be released by Sony Pictures on June 5, 2009, and – for this critic at least – now looks set to become one of the most keenly anticipated and spectacular films of next summer.