Terminator Salvation: How To Kill An Unstoppable Franchise

90s- James Cameron’s Terminator 2 becomes the most successful blockbuster in forever.

00s- The Terminator franchise follows in the steps of Superman’s second and third sequels while Jame’s Cameron’s Avatar becomes the most successful blockbuster ever.

What happened?

The first Terminator movie was made with $50 so they couldn’t afford to waste your time. The Terminator arrives in the opening scene and they get right to killing Bill Paxton in the most painful manner possible.

The sequel opens up with the war in the future. While not the grim guerrilla struggle of a people “this close to being snuffed out forever”, was fairly exciting.

It was disappointing that the third movie was basically a in-joke retread, but at least the goal was to just have fun.

So the time came to make the next Terminator movie. Finally they were ditching the time travel retreading and going with the machine war. Even a fantastic franchise like Back to the Future barely survived a time travel plot rehash; Doc Brown almost killed the entire thing with a piece of chalk and required drawn out diagram if anyone wanted a hope of following the plot.
So, when this time came some people were gathered around. These people included siamese writer twins John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris, whose only previous credits include a bunch of shit, one episode of Married with Children, one episode of Aeon Flux, Sandra Bullock’s The Net, fucking Catwoman, and having Arnold Schwarzenegger repeat lines from previous movies in T3 (and would eventually go on to pen the wildly successful Surrogates with Bruce Willis). The next good sign was that it was to be directed by self-assigned nickname “McG” whose only previous directing credits were the two Charlie’s Angels movies.

When the time came and these people were gathered around a table, the question was asked “What should our new Terminator movie be about?”

The eventual best answer that would then go on to be greenlit was “A 20th century death row inmate kisses a cancer lady then tries to find redemption when he’s reborn as a terminator with a heart”

Even Ernest Hemingway admitted that everyone’s first draft is shit. When the time came for rewrites, someone took a red pen and wrote “Salvation” over “redemption”, the word “literally” right after “heart”, and finally a bunch of underlines and circles around “literally” alongside a doodle of the Grinch.

With all big productions, there’s bound to be some miscomminucation. In T:S’s case, it was between the guy who thought the machines were everywhere hunting humans down, and the guy who thought he was making Black Hawk Down 2. The first guy had resistance command on a mobile submarine and scenes showing how loud sounds and fire immediately drew the attention of machines. The second guy unknowingly slipped in scenes of everyone walking around wide open airbases and soldiers starting bonfires out in the open at night back to back with scenes showing how fires immediately attract the attention of machines. The first guy got a memo that John was the central key figure in the resistance and that any retro time paradox that erases his existence will doom mankind. The second guy got a conflicting memo that John was just a grunt who didn’t even get his own squad. Second guy figures it’s early in the war so people have to carry around useless guns instead of lasers. The first guy gives the machines giant mechs, water snake robots, and motorcycle robots (that fly out of Devastator’s legs!) in a world where all the road crews have been vaporized.

Now, it’s impossible to read a lot of scenes on paper and know how they’ll play out on screen, but there are some things that once you read them, you immediately realize something went wrong. For example, if at any point in the making of the movie adaptation of Wanted, you find yourself writing “and then the peanut butter rats explode”, you should probably start over.



19 years since the last “real” Terminator movie. A man awaits execution. He offers to sell his body to science in exchange for a kiss from a terminal cancer patient. The deal is done.



So that’s what death tastes like.

The scene continues. This should probably go on for at least 5 more minutes.

A CLAW bursts through the roof and REACHES towards them! The 60 foot tall robot king kong has snuck up on them!

and then the water snake robots jump up and attack the helicopter

John Connor aborts nuking the monsters’ base to go in and rescue a prisoner. He holds a tracker to guide him to the hostage. Wasn’t this the ending to Aliens? Let’s give John’s tracker the exact same sound effect. Did we add in a dirty mute orphan girl? No? Let’s do that. Oh, and the too slow service elevator escape followed by the bad guy arriving in it. This movie includes the character Kyle Reese, who was once played by Michael Biehn, who was also in Aliens. It all makes sense!


Wounded, but alive from the magnetic mine, they RIP open Marcus’ shirt.


Holy shit! Something shocking!

With a metallic CLANK, beefy black guy slams his RIFLE BUTT into Marcus “skull” (tee hee) to knock out this “man” (*giggle*). I know we’ve done a pretty good job of Marcus being a Terminator coming as a total shock to the audience, but maybe throw in a “NOT a terminator” sign, just to be safe.


The lone transport helicopter lands and totally kicks their fucking ass!



The terminator RISES from the MOLTEN metal! John quickly takes aim at yet another conveniently placed LN2 source.


You and me? We’re finished professionally.

Fucking BLAM!