I'll admit it, I was disappointed in Terminator Salvation. Actually, I had lowered my expectations once I saw the 37% on Rotten Tomatoes, so really I suppose I got what I expected. Which means not anywhere close to as good as Star Trek, more on par with Wolverine.
It's time to face facts: It's not a Terminator movie without Arnold Schwarzenegger. He makes those movies and when he's not around, it just doesn't feel the same. This really didn't feel like the other movies. Now on one hand, I guess that's a good thing - this is the first time we get an extended look at the future post-Judgment Day, after all - but it also just feels like it doesn't fit into the Terminator universe. Instead of robots that looks like humans or are made of liquid metal, you have more rudimentary metal soldiers and huge aircraft.
The special effects and the sound in this movie are great. There's a lot of metal action - motorcycle-robots and large "harvester" aircraft that pick people up like a claw machine. The sounds of those harvesters were amazing - loud, groaning metal sounds that vibrated my seat with the bass.
While there were definitely a couple of spectacular action sequences, the movie felt very disjointed to me. It was really a lot like a video game. I think it's because one of the first sequences is kind of seen from John Connor's perspective, so that it feels like one of those first-person shooter games. The plot was pretty standard and non-complicated (yet still a mess), characters' motivations were either unexplained or made no sense, and some of the actions seemed illogical to me. The movie was just successive action sequences, and they are worth seeing on the big screen, but I was disappointed there wasn't much of a larger story.
And much as it pains me to say it, Christian Bale didn't need to be in this movie. He was more of a supporting character, and not given much more to do than run, shoot, and scream. The infamous recording of his on-set raveout had more emotion (and dialogue) than this movie. But Sam Worthington was great as Marcus Wright - and he was really the star of the movie.
I have liked all of the Terminator movies, even the third one, but this one just didn't seem the same. Lots of action, not much mysticism.