Day 151: Terminator Salvation – The Machinima Series

Terminator Salvation The Machinima Series - 2009Terminator Salvation – The Machinima Series
Tor Helmstein, Kelly Ward and Ian Kirby
Starring: Moon Bloodgood, Cam Clarke and Jim Meskimen
Rated: NR
Length: 74 min.
Release: May 18, 2009

The resourceful A-10 pilot from Terminator Salvation has her own story in this kick-‘bot prequel filmed via the innovative Machinima process that turns video-game elements into a full-blown animated story. Moon Bloodgood reprises her T4 role, providing the voice of Williams as she takes on an explosive mission to track what or who is disrupting comm links during the Resistance’s fierce guerrilla war against Skynet. T-600s emerge, guns blazing. MotoTerminators patrol post-Apocalyptic L.A. Aerostats hover. Hunter Killers rain death. Machinima delivers action and style in a big way. Reboot the future with Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series.

My Thoughts:
I’m not gonna spend much time on this as it would be a waist of your time to read it…just like it was a waste of my time to watch this stupid collection of lame video game reals with a poorly done voice over dubbed in. Keeping in mind that this collection is really a series of internet shorts created as a precursor to the movie and as a strange promotional of the Terminator Salvation video game. It was a strange promotional that ultimately failed.

The back story on Williams is interesting…but not interesting enough to put up with how poorly the execution of this idea was. The whole time watching it I just couldn’t get past the fact that they used a really bad video game engine to create this waste of space story. The whole video game engine thing doesn’t come off as creative…it comes off as cheep. Really…really…REALLY cheep.

The only reason I sat through this piece of garbage was to write this review. I knew right away it would be bad, but I hoped it would get better…it does not. There is no take away from this story that adequately justifies the need to sit through it. There is no set up to Terminator Salvation that makes this worth your time.

So let this be your warning…don’t waist your time. Seriously…don’t. It’s 74 min. you’ll never get back. .5 stars out of 5.


Day 23: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Extended Edition)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Extended Edition)
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Dominic Monaghan, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Sean Astin, Sean Bean & Orlando Bloom
Rated: PG-13/Not Rated
Length: 251 min.
Released: December 17,  2003
Trailer Synopsis:
The War of the Ring reaches its climax as the dark lord Sauron sets his sights on Minas Tirith, the capital of Gondor. The members of the fellowship in Rohan are warned of the impending attack when Pippin cannot resist looking into Saruman’s palantir and is briefly contacted by the dark lord. King Theoden is too proud to send his men to help without being asked, so Gandalf and Pippin ride to Minas Tirith to see that this request is sent. They meet opposition there from Denethor, steward of the city and father of Faramir and the late Boromir. Denethor’s family has acted as temporary guardians of Gondor for centuries until a member of the true line of kings returns. This member is none other than Aragorn, who must overcome his own self-doubt before he can take on the role he was destined to fulfill. Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam continue to carry the One Ring towards Mordor, guided by Gollum. What they don’t know is that Gollum is leading them into a trap so that he can reclaim the Ring for himself. Though Sam suspects his deceit, Frodo is starting to be corrupted by the Ring’s power and the mistrust of Sam this causes is fully exploited by Gollum. The only way good can prevail in this contest is if the Ring is destroyed, an event that is becoming harder every minute for Frodo to achieve. The fate of every living creature in Middle Earth will be decided once and for all as the Quest of the Ringbearer reaches its climax.

My Thoughts:
So, the LOTR journey finally comes to an end. This was a very LONG journey. Seriously…watching all three of these massive movies together like this was quite the trip. The third and final installment is The Return of the King. This one is the biggest of the three. Huge battles, big, grand scenes of Middle Earth (A.K.A. New Zealand). This one is good on the small screen, but if you get a chance to watch it on a larger TV it really shines!

The extended edition of this one  is literally four hours long. FOUR HOURS!!! I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the clock and saw the time go by like it did. I mean that in a good way though. Unlike The Two Towers this one didn’t have nearly as many dry parts. It flowed much better and thus the time flew by much easier. I didn’t find myself looking at the clock wondering when it would be over (or at least when I could change the disk).

It picked up the pace almost immediately explaining more directly the history of Gollum (something I was looking forward to seeing) and it kept on going. The only time it seemed to drag on was near the end. Now wrapping up the several various plots and subplots would naturally take some time…but the way they handled it just made me think GET ON WITH IT!!! Much of this is due to the fact that they tease you with the ending. I don’t like that at all. In screen writing one of the first rules you learn is starting a script = FADE UP FROM BLACK. Ending a script = FADE TO BLACK. As a general rule of thumb…those are the only times you should see them on paper.  So what happens in Return of the King? Well the climax of the movie is over and they fade to black…then fade up from black!?!?…then fade to black again…THEN FADE UP AGAIN!!!…AND AGAIN!!! It seriously ends about 4 different times! I mean come on!…Really? I don’t know why they did that? It’s really annoying! Use a cross fade or something! Don’t mess with my head like that.

With the exception of that annoying use of transitions this movie is amazing! I can’t quite give it a 5 because that ending was just handled so poorly. So, I’m giving it 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Day 22: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Extended Edition)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towwers (Extended Edition)
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Dominic Monaghan, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Sean Astin, Sean Bean & Orlando Bloom
Rated: PG-13/Not Rated
Length: 223 min.
Released: December 18, 2002
Trailer Synopsis:
Sauron’s forces increase. His allies grow. The Ringwraiths return in an even more frightening form. Saruman’s army of Uruk Hai is ready to launch an assault against Aragorn and the people of Rohan. Yet, the Fellowship is broken and Boromir is dead. For the little hope that is left, Frodo and Sam march on into Mordor, unprotected. A number of new allies join with Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Pippin and Merry. And they must defend Rohan and attack Isengard. Yet, while all this is going on, Sauron’s troops mass toward the City of Gondor, for the War of the Ring is about to begin.

My Thoughts:
The Two Towers is probably my least favorite of the LOTR films. My reason for that is there are several periods that seem to drag on far too much. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t like it…I still do very much. However, the pace of this one seems to just drag on a bit to much at times. I can imagine it was the hardest book to write a script for because the way the book is written it doesn’t weave the stories together. It follows one plot line beginning to end…then starts over with other characters and follows their story. This obviously wouldn’t have worked on film so they did the best they could attempting to keep it in chronological order.

And what about the battles…ohhhh the battles! They are great. I like that stuff, so it almost goes without saying that I’m going to enjoy them, but if you like the scale of these battles, just wait till the next one…insane! I’d also add that (in light of the scale of The Two Towers and Return of the King) the first LOTR movie is great on almost any screen, but  the other two almost need to be on a larger screen in order to really feel the grandiose of the movie and special effects. The Two Towers and Return of the King are crazy good on the big screen. It’s true that some films are just better on the big screen…and LOTR 2 & 3 are just such movies.

Because the film seemed to drag on a bit in the middle I’m giving this one 4 out of 5 stars. I still loved it…but just not as much as the first one.

Day 21: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Edition)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Edition)
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Dominic Monaghan, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Sean Astin, Sean Bean & Orlando Bloom
Rated: PG-13/Not Rated
Length: 208 min.
Released: December 19,  2001
Trailer Synopsis:
An ancient Ring thought lost for centuries has been found, and through a strange twist in fate has been given to a small Hobbit named Frodo. When Gandalf discovers the Ring is in fact the One Ring of the Dark Lord Sauron, Frodo must make an epic quest to the Cracks of Doom in order to destroy it! However he does not go alone. He is joined by Gandalf, Legolas the elf, Gimli the Dwarf, Aragorn, Boromir and his three Hobbit friends Merry, Pippin and Samwise. Through mountains, snow, darkness, forests, rivers and plains, facing evil and danger at every corner the Fellowship of the Ring must go. Their quest to destroy the One Ring is the only hope for the end of the Dark Lords reign!

My Thoughts:
To this day my absolute favorite Lord of the Rings (LOTR) movie is The Fellowship of the Ring. When I say it for the first time in theater I thought it was brilliant. Then, when I saw the Extended version the first time it became a favorite movie of mine all over again.  I love it because it’s the only one where you see all of the cast really together. All the cast fit perfectly with all of the characters so well. I’ve always been leery about books being turned into movies,but they really handles these with care. As a fan of the books you need to have some level of flexibility with the movies, though. It is hard to translate it exactly (they go into great detail on the difficulty of that process in the special features…they are worth watching for sure).

I just loved the on screen interpretation of the world of Middle Earth. It’s so well thought out and detailed. They do an amazing job creating this world and all of these races of beings. You really except the believability of this world and it’s history. The credit first goes to Mr. J.R.R. Tolkien for going into great detail and creating these worlds (and languages) on paper. Then, second to Peter  Jackson and his team for doing an extraordinary job bringing to life what was only on paper (and really bad animation) for decades.

My only real problem with them is that they are soooooooo loooonnngggg!!!! To put it into perspective The Godfather II (What I originally thought to be one of the longest movies ever!) is 200 min. long. The shortest LOTR movie (of the extended editions) is The Fellowship of the Ring and that’s 208 min. The Return of the King is 251 min. long!!! That’s 4 hours and 11 minutes! Now, 20-30 min. of those totals a probably credits, but still! That’s insane!

Id also say  that if you aren’t into fantasy at all then these will not be the movies for you….clearly! However, I think most people who have a problem with Sci-Fi and Fantasy have that problem because the world is not set up well and it rarely seems believable. The Lord of the Rings and the Star Wars movies are great examples of when this is done well. I’d say if you haven’t seen them yet you should take this little blog post as a sign that now is the time. If you haven’t seen them in a while…well what are you waiting for!!! I loved watching and re-living this movie. I’m giving it 5 stars out of 5!