Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Terminator Salvation: more constructive

OK, so I found the film deeply annoying. Annoying enough that before I went to sleep last night, I had to figure out what I would do with it. Rather than exercise any original thought, I took the premise of the film as my starting point and here's what I came up with.

*** SPOILERS ***

It's a trilogy.

Rather than focusing on the plot of each film, what I'm most interested in is setting up interesting arenas for each film to explore. The first film is about friendship, the second film is about loyalty, and the third film is about achieving victory when you're not protected by destiny anymore.

Movie 1: Is all about establishing the relationship between Marcus Wright and Kyle Reese. Maybe the movie starts the same way, or maybe it starts with Marcus walking out of the desert. Either way, Movie 1's mission statement is make Marcus/Kyle the coolest post-apocalyptic duo ever. Make their friendship legendary. Kyle is the boy with the plans; Marcus is the guy who can pull them off.

John Connor is an off-screen figure, a legendary inspiration who is essential to the Resistance.

During Movie 1, much of the same stuff happens to Kyle, giving Marcus an against-impossible-odds rescue mission. During it, he discovers pivotal information about himself (and what he's supposed to do to Connor). Movie 1 ends with Kyle rescued, Marcus reeling, and both of them forced by circumstance to team up with Connor on a mission of pivotal importance to the war.

Movie 2: Is all about playing with tensions and loyalties. Kyle grows to know John Connor, but still thinks of Marcus as his best friend. Connor grows to know Kyle and Marcus, trusting the two of them. The question of what happens when the switch in Marcus' head flips on is present throughout the film - which is mostly a kick-arse action setpiece that incorporates many of the moments we saw in 'The Terminator '. A central question that's often asked in this film would be "We don't understand the enemy, so how can we destroy them?"

This second movie ends with Marcus turning on them, and Kyle and John teaming up to try and execute him. The film finishes with the cliffhanger of Connor's team beginning the assault of Skynet's time base.

Movie 3: Starts with the assault on Skynet and getting Kyle into the time machine. After that, everything is in play - Connor can die, the war can still be won or lost. Let the action ensue; hell, bring back Marcus from the dead if you can think of something interesting to do with him.

... or you could send giant robots back to London 2011 to beat the sh!t out of everything.
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