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Monday, July 21, 2008

A Comment on Guardian's Teaser Trailer Post

Setting aside the question of whether the dystopic franchise has already been destroyed thanks to the travesty of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and the wanton act of vandalism that was The Sarah Connor Chronicles, what do teaser trailers do for the audience? At best, they indulge us with an intriguing line or a spicy plot hint. At worst, they are like that Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. It promises to be the bleakest adaptation so far (although I bet they still won't touch Harry's Draco fixation); therefore we get a clip so literally dark that there are no strong images at all, just a black screen, one line of dialogue and the title rendered in silver-grey. Thrilling.

In the case of Terminator: Salvation there's a shaky montage of tepid shots that have long passed into the mythology of the series: the human skull being crushed by the symbolic machine foot, the vibe of military-industrial paranoia, the hulking silhouette of a human-detecting machine rising above the horizon.

Nearly every one of these shots could have been created from outtakes of the previous films and the TV series. The trailer becomes nothing more than the harbinger of yet another degradation of what was once a daring, feminist, technologically-apt marvel. It must be said that science fiction and fantasy fans, being tech-minded, are already very net-friendly and therefore susceptible to the lure of teasers and spoilers.

Guardian Teaser Trailer Blog Post

Yes, it's true that recently released Terminator 4 teaser has little new in it. However, it's this one image that excites me most about T4. And to me, this image is new. There's a grandness--and beauty, look at the composition of this shot!--to this one shot, buried almost smack in the middle of the trailer, that gives me hope that McG is going to give us his own vision of the future.

T3's biggest fault probably lies in essentially reconfiguring Sarah Connor's story and journey from T2 and asking the character of John Connor to be his own "man" while essentially hampering him with almost the same issues that his mother did. (The entire ending of T3 could have been and should have been the beginning of T3. Imagine the kick ass movie it would have been then.) Continuing the predestination thread, after Sarah herself has come to the conclusion that the future is what they make, is a step backwards, not a step forwards.

This one shot hints, and maybe I'm reaching--the final film will tell, that John's own journey will be his own. One man, not wrestling with just personal demons, but with the responsibility of a world larger than he is. A landscape that dwarfs him. We'll finally get to see John struggle to be apart of the world and not someone desperately trying to separate himself from it.

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