Six years later, the studio wanted to try and reboot the franchise. The biggest twist of the film this time around? No time travel. The beginning of a planned trilogy set during the war, Christian Bale takes over the role of John Conner.
The film focuses upon Marcus, who awakens in the middle of the war and starts trying to figure out what is going on. He ends up on the run with Kyle Reese and young mute girl Star. When they run into other survivors, they come under attack by the machines who kidnap Star and Kyle. Marcus ends up seeking the help of John Conner, believing they need to work together to save and the others from Skynet.
Truthfully, the film has mostly decent effects and it is full of very talented actors…but I never feel really drawn into the story. It tries to surprise us, but the set-up at the beginning telegraphs to much…?
The visual effects are very good (though a CGI Arnold is pretty rubbery looking) and there are a lot of exciting action scenes. But we get a lot of “machine perspective” shots, which in the previous films gave us insight into the Terminators…but it just feels performative here, because who cares what the random flying machine or motorcycle perspective is.
This is not a terrible film, but it is more a sci-fi war movie that happens to have terminator machines in it than a Terminator movie. And to be honest, I never found myself wishing for a huge focus on the war itself, feeling that it works better as a background part of the story.