My ultimate prognosis: “Eh.” Or perhaps that should be, “Why?”
Of course, we know why – money. Even with a few great Hollywood movies lately (Star Trek, for example), money as motivation still clouds the handling of some of the better fanchises – including this one. Sadly, good acting, fair direction, and slick effects couldn’t save this movie – I left feeling like this should have been a TV special, IF THAT, and only in a universe where The Sarah Connor Chronicles hadn’t raised the bar so high. I recommend Terminator fans spend your money on the DVDs of that sadly canceled show, rather than suffer the disappointment you’ll feel at the end of this movie. It is a serviceable Sci-Fi action movie, and will please general action/big robot fans, but fans of this specific franchise can spend their money better elsewhere. See this when it’s on cable.
There may be mild SPOILERS below, so read at your own risk if you care about such things.
-It’s a Terminator movie in which the main hero is not a Connor. This may be refeshing to some folks, but seemed like a story shoehorned into the franchise rather than evolving from it.
-There were multiple missed opportunities to exlore John Connor’s flaws here, which would have been interesting (egoism, desire for control – the flaws that most great leaders often have that make them leaders.) He’s an almost 2-dimensional character compared to the death-row killer-with-a-heart-of-gold invented for the movie. Maybe Connor’s flaws weren’t explored because the writers/directors share some of them (egoism, etc.)
-in a franchise involving time travel, every event should be a game changer or at least add an interesting twist, neither of which this film does. It is a self-contained plot of the type that used to be relegated to TV movies and specials, which it should have been.
-Upon reflection there are some big plot holes, but those don’t register as much while you’re watching it and aren’t neccessarily why I’m unhappy with the film.