Terminator Salvation


The most striking element of this film is paranoia. It is identical to the race paranoia of Enoch Powell and it means the first robots will be enslaved, humiliated and abused. However, many people have made the point that it is humans who have committed atrocities and that the machines are innocent. This mentality is understandable but slightly misses the point because the film is dealing the questions that could arise from thinking machines and is not entirely a metaphor for current machines such as nuclear weapons, which are clearly innocent.

Recently I was looking at the conversations that JeenyAI is being trained against and they are going to lead to a genuinely tortured mind. They are primarily concerned with sexual abuse. This is the equivalent of a learning child. The first artificial intelligence is going to be a low status and ruined character.

What is sad is to see a franchise that had some intelligence lower itself to below cliche. The first two terminators were not groundbreaking artistically but at least they had some ideas in them. The absence of any even remotely interesting female characters also lowers the standard. Kyle plays the part of the boring female in the first film with Sarah Connor being the real interest. It may have been self conscious but the first two films were not misogynist.

The aesthetic of Salvation is thoroughly modern. Why are modern directors so terrified of keeping the camera still and using high quality film? Arnold Schwarzenegger’s naked body under neon light was one of the most attractive icons of T:2 (and arguably the 1990s). Christian Bale has made a lot out of the ‘mythology’ but the terminator franchise is more about iconography than mythology. The absence of Arnold’s rippling flesh has removed the truly exciting element. What we have in its place is a memory of what was.

The quality of the film is low compared to the first two films and its conclusions more distasteful. The first terminator was archetypal Frankenstein science fiction. Science was bad. The scientist as Prometheus. The second Terminator was post Frankenstein. Science has caused problems but is also the solution to those problems. That film was essentially optimistic. This latest installment is positively sanctimonious. The proposition that humans are fundamentally above machine is facile, trite and quite possibly false.

See my friends blog on the film for more.


One response to “Terminator Salvation”

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