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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘Terminator: Salvation’

Take a break from work: watch a movie trailer…


Moment-by-moment thoughts as I watched this trailer for the first time:

0:14: “What day is it? What year?” More time travel? Could Judgment Day stay still, temporally speaking, for five minutes so we can get our bearings? Sheesh.

0:37: “I knew it was coming. I thought I knew our enemy.” So, the machines have morphed again, but into what? Skinjobs?

0:48: Judgment Day V3.0 (or are we up to 4.0?) is looking more like the Mad Max apocalypse. Has there been some contamination of the timelines, stuff leaking from one reality to another? Can we get the Doctor on this? Seriously, it can only because Gallifrey’s been destroyed and the Time Lords are no longer keeping an eye on infinity that such corruption of the timestream has been allowed to go on for so long.

0:57: “This is not the future my mother warned me about. Something has changed.” Hasn’t that been the whole point of your life, John? To alter the future? Isn’t it a good thing that it seems to be working? Or are you discovering that messing with time is a job best left to professionals?

1:18: Oh, it is skinjobs. I was kidding. At least, I was thinking about Cylon-type skinjobs, not flesh stretched over metal skeletons, when I joked. Hard to tell here which kind of flesh-colored robot this is. I suspect, though, that we’re looking at a poor ripoff of Battlestar Galactica.

1:25: “Hello. My name is John Connor. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

1:47: “Win or lose, this war ends tonight.” I’m thinking, not so much. The Hollywood Full Employment Act of 2003 that requires that every young man between the ages of 11 and 47 serve their country and their species by portraying John Connor still has many actors yet to cast.

1:59: A Transformer? Well, that’s what you get when you hire McG to direct your robot movie.

Terminator: Salvation opens in the U.S. on May 22, and in the U.K. on June 5.



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  • JoshDM

    More like Terminator : Salivation.

    Even if it is McG.

  • JSW

    Yes, we can only wonder what kind of flesh-covered robot would show up in a Terminator movie. And of course it must be a ripoff of Battlestar Galactica since no other work of fiction has ever depicted robots that looked like people, least of all the Terminator series.

  • Florsie

    I don’t know whether to be psyched or already disappointed. Is this McG dude someone we could trust with the Terminator franchise?

  • Ryan

    Er, yeah. I don’t think we can accuse the Terminator series of ripping off Battlestar Galactica…since Terminator sorta got there first…(and did it better, not that I’m bitter and disillusioned with the last two seasons of BSG)

  • MaryAnn

    Uh, no. There’s a huge difference between the flesh-covered metal skeletons of *Terminator* and the skinjobs of *BSG,* who — as far as we know so far — do not appear to be anything other than organic. They may be genetically engineered (ie, for strength), but at most, they may only have some sort of cyborg enhancements to allow them to download.

    If the flesh-covered robot depicted in the trailer is more than a machine — if it is a “feeling” being, then it’s more than safe to say that it was probably influenced by *BSG.* Which isn’t to say that *BSG* is the first to propose such creatures, but it’s the one that, at the moment, is having a huge impact, pop-culture wise.

  • bitchen frizzy

    Blade Runner

    Lots of Star Trek episodes

    Metropolis (? – haven’t seen it)

    It’s also an old idea in sci-fi literature.

  • Scott

    Skynet is self aware. It killed billions to protect itself. So it isn’t anything new to the series for the robots being portrayed as being able to feel.

  • PaulW

    Ellen Tigh is Skynet.

    Ow, stop punching me.

  • MaryAnn

    Self-awareness and emotion are not at all the same thing.

  • marshall myers

    “Self-awareness and emotion are not at all the same thing.”

    What-a-minute though… didn’t the terminator in T2 pick up on emotion and it’s nuances by the end of that movie? “I know now why you cry, and it’s something I can never do.” Wasn’t that movie partially about the machine learning to be more human?

  • Paul

    The Terminator in T-2 figured out emotion, but implied it couldn’t actually feel them. Self-awareness, as we understand it today, only requires that a mind be able to look at itself and think for itself, which, in theory, a computer could do. But emotions require chemicals in the brain, and the Terminators have plain old chips. Thus, a T-model could become self aware, and thus more human, but not emotional, and thus not completely human.

    I write that realizing that in Star Trek Data finds an emotion chip, but in theory that shouldn’t work unless in the intervening 400 years science finds a way around the need for the chemical interaction, or the chip has chemicals inside.

  • Victor Plenty

    Emotions require chemicals, but so do memory, reasoning, imagination, and just about everything else the brain does. If those abilities can be built into some kind of “chip,” there may be no reason emotions cannot.

    In fact, any machine that can reason, imagine, and remember (well enough to become self-aware) may already have everything it needs to feel emotions, too. It may turn out that an emotionless thinking machine is a logical impossibility, like trying to make water not wet.

    Of course this is all pure speculation until we more fully understand why and how humans can do any of these things, and exactly what accounts for the differences between our mental capabilities and those of our closest biological cousins.

  • acmike

    People, it’s all the same movie/plot. The computers and machines that we create will evolve, rebel, and overtake us. The Terminator, The Matrix, I Robot, Battlestar Galactica, A.I., and even Wall-E are the same movie. We should learn from Hollywood that our demise at our robot overlords is inevitable. I mean, we’ll get a century or two of cheap, easy living while the early steel prototypes do our underling work (I-Robot), followed by a century of hot organic-robotic sex with fembots(A.I. and Bladerunner), but when they hit the technological singularity and achieve conciusness, it’s all downhill from there. So I don’t think it’s fair to say any movie is a ripoff of the other. They are all just different shades of telling the same tale.

  • Robert

    Emotions require chemicals

    Hey, a million hippies can’t be wrong.

  • mortadella

    It could have been an interesting character study on how John gets to know his father Kyle…but uh, maybe next time, eh?

  • PaulW

    The future has changed…?

    It’s not the war John Connor thought was coming…?

    Oh no. Skynet went back in time and blew up THE PLANET VULCAN!!!

    …wait. That’s been done.

  • Victor Plenty

    PaulW, I’d chide you for not putting a spoiler warning on your last comment, but of course it would have ruined the joke.

    Plus, there’s absolutely zero overlap between Trek fans and Terminator fans, so no harm done anyway.

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