I saw Terminator Salvation with my lovely wife on Saturday night. Loved it.
First, from the perspective of a simple action movie, it was spectacular. The special effects were well done, and they weren't so affected that you couldn't make out any of the action, a la Transformers. It really kept us on the edge of our collective seat. It's really a theatre movie, as well, as in it should be seen in the theatre. There are some super-sized robots and expolosions in this one. When a giant automaton would plunge its metallic foot downward the theatre would reverberate with the impact. Good stuff.
Second, the story was compelling and intersting. Many reviewers have commented that Christian Bale's performance was lacklustre. Throughout the whole movie he speaks in this hoarse whisper that is supposed to imply some sense of intensity. It ain't workin, dude. But the secondary plot involving a next-generation Terminator struggling with his identity is engaging, to say the least.
The appeal of the Terminator series has always been the man vs. machine agitus, which seems to strike a deep chord of dread in most post-moderns. Ever since Arnold tossed around the chick in the first Terminator movie to the sound of her 1980s pop music, we have thought "Oh, shit. He's so cold." We have a grave fear, one that is justifiable, of the limits of technology and its power to destroy us.
Well, this next installment of the Terminator franchise taps into this theme some more and pits the Machine (Skynet) against the Man (Marcus) - the result is the victory of the human spirit. The movie is a true fable that demonstrates the value of humanity, which is, in the end, its human-ness. This movie is, in the best sense, pro-life.
The end sucks, though. They added some shit so that they could go up to Terminator 32 and make a franchise. Try to ignore it.