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Notes on two movies. Seriously: may contain spoilers (in case you were ignoring the title.)

I mentioned the other day that I had been watching Terminator: Salvation but I watched it again and found I had more things to say. Then I found some things to say about Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as well, so what the heck - it's a two-for-one entry.

Terminator Salvation
(Apparently the official version of the title has no colon in the middle, but it makes more sense with it, as far as I'm concerned.)

I have a tendency to watch the movies I get on demand over and over, because hey, it's a 24-hour or 48-hour rental or whatever, so why not get my money's worth? (I think I watched Coraline four times right in a row.) My husband called this movie "underrated" and I think that's a very fair assessment of it. At the very least, it's a very competently-made action movie. I don't know why it pissed so many of the fans off so much - just by its very existence, after part 3? Who knows.

Now I have to say that I AM a fan of these movies, as a whole. I loved both the original Terminator and T2 - I've been known to say that The Terminator is my favorite movie of all time, actually. I didn't see it in the theater when it first came out, unfortunately. (I remember seeing some decent reviews at the time and thinking it over, but man, an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie? It sounded very low-rent. Which I suppose it was, technically.) So I first saw it on video. Rob and I were working at Gaido's when T2 came out, which meant that our days off were on weekdays. There may have only been one day in the week that we were both off, because I remember that we went to see T2 on the same day of the week for like 5 weeks in a row. We both loved it (although I usually say it loses steam towards the end). I even liked the widely-panned T3 pretty well, although it did bother me that it screwed up canon right and left. This one is considerably better, though.

On the cast:
- first of all, there's Sam Worthington (playing a new character to the series) - this guy is very, very easy on the eyes. I'm a little more doubtful about his acting chops after Avatar, but he's certainly not as wooden here as he was there. He's definitely got leading-man charisma, in any case.
- Christian Bale is really perfect for the adult John Connor. That dour, humorless persona that he's so good at? is exactly what you need here.
- What on earth is Helena Bonham Carter doing in this movie? Not that she's bad in the part, it's just so far from the kind of thing she normally does that I do a double-take every time she shows up.
- Anton Yelchin is apparently genuinely a kid - they said that he was 17 (he was Chekov) in the Star Trek movie and I didn't think he looked all that young, but he looks plenty young here. He was born in 1989, which means he's 20 now, and may well have been 17 or 18 when these two movies were filming. Here's he's playing the young Kyle Reese, which I was really dubious about, but he won me over.
- I looked at Bryce Dallas Howard and seriously thought that was Julianne Moore for a while. (And I guess she's playing Claire Danes, actually. The same character that Clare Danes played in T3, that is.)

Music by Danny Elfman - I wouldn't have guessed that. It sounds pretty similar to the original music at times, which I'm sure is deliberate, but the main theme is pretty dark and low-key. There is also some GnR, which is a nice call-out to T2.

There are also call-outs to a number of lines from the other movies. It's always been traditional, I think, to have some variation on "I'll be back" in every movie, although here it comes from an unexpected source. Several of Reese's lines seem to echo things his older self says in the first movie - "Come with me if you want to live" is the most obvious, but there are a couple of others, too. (Also, his line about "You wanna know the difference between us and the machines?" reminds me of a similar line Ripley had in Aliens. Which could well be deliberate, under the circumstances.)

I didn't notice until this viewing the way the shots of the medical equipment at the end echo the execution-chamber shots in the beginning credits. Which is a nice touch, in a slightly gruesome way. (I do think the ending is a bit corny, actually, but on the other hand, what else is Marcus going to do at the end, really?)

I was trying to figure out if Marcus' "mission" as an infiltrator makes any sense at all, and frankly, I'm not entirely convinced. I guess that's the "new terminator model" that Skynet is said to be working on - but he doesn't seem to have been sent to kill anybody, just to find them, I guess. It seems, in the LA part, like Skynet has units following him, leading them to Reese - or maybe just to the Resistance, generally, and they just get lucky with Reese. But then why doesn't the same thing happen again later? I need to pay more attention to what Helena Bonham Skynet says towards the end, maybe there's something more in that long speech that I tend to zone out on that Explains Everything. On the other hand, this is an action movie, maybe expecting logic is too much.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Good lord, I said yesterday that I had forgotten this movie, and it was even more true than I knew. For one thing, I knew that Robert Pattinson was in it, and Brendan Gleeson, but I didn't remember (if I ever knew) that David Tennant was in it - I don't suppose I really knew who he was in 2005, actually. He apparently didn't have much pull at the time, either - his name isn't even IN the main credits.

It starts right out with the snake - is that a way of announcing from the beginning that we are in more serious territory than the previous movies? This was the first book, incidentally, that I read at the time it was released. I had caught up on the other three just before this one's release date, I believe. This is the point where the books get abruptly longer, and I always felt like they really should have divided them all into two movies each, although in retrospect that probably would have been overkill. Still, this movie is one of the rare movies that really needed to be longer - I feel like it's sadly short on exposition in places. Did people who didn't read the books have a clue what was going on? Not to mention that the actual World Cup game is entirely gone, as well as the elves, and several other characters as well.

The music in this is really rather gorgeous - mostly different from the other movies, as far as I can recall. And good lord, there's a song over the credits? Do any of the other HP movies have that? (I checked - the music is by Patrick Doyle, who is the guy who wrote the score to Sense and Sensibility, which I've always liked, as well.) Isn't this also the only movie of this series that Mike Newell directed? Maybe he brought in Doyle.

This note appears on IMDb: "Composer Nicholas Hooper turned down the opportunity to score the final two films, saying that working on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) took a toll on his family's personal life." So I guess he succeeded Doyle. (There are some rumors on IMDb about who might be finishing up the set.)

Oh, the casting stuff reminds me - we were watching Sweeney Todd earlier, and I noticed that the cute young guy who plays Johanna's suitor (Jamie Campbell Bower is apparently his name) has been cast as Grindelwald for the two remaining Harry Potter movies. I'm trying to remember - I don't think it's a huge role, but I think he (Grindelwald) pops in and out several times, as I recall, so it's probably fairly substantial. It hasn't been that long since I last read my way through the whole series, but the last book is complex enough that I really need to read it a couple more times before I'll be able to keep a firm grasp on what happens to whom and when.

Date: 2010-01-05 05:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ursulahitler.livejournal.com
I've yet to see Avatar, but it could be that Worthington freezes up trying to act in a green screen void with balls taped to his face. The first thing I ever saw Gwyneth Paltrow in was "Sky Captain," and I thought she was the worst actress I'd ever seen, total wood... But then I saw her in a more earthbound movie, with actual sets and stuff, and she was much, much better.

Date: 2010-01-05 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mellificent.livejournal.com
I actually thought he was better in the green-screen parts than the live-action parts. I don't know what the problem was.

Date: 2010-01-05 01:24 pm (UTC)
nonelvis: (DT specs of hotness)
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
2005 was last year Tennant didn't have enough pull to get his name in the opening credits -- it was the same year he did Casanova, which is the role that got him the lead in Doctor Who. (And even before then, he'd been working like crazy -- seriously, check the man's IMDB listing, because I don't know when he slept between 2004-2005.)

Date: 2010-01-05 10:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] profrobert.livejournal.com
My complaint about Goblet is the reverse: Rowling needed a good editor, and I thought the movie writers did a good job cutting it down to size.

My reaction to Nonelvis and all the DT Dr. Who fans has always been, "You're hot for Barty Crouch???"

Bower played No. 2's son, 11-12, in the recent Prisoner remake (which I thought was really good, BTW. I don't know why AMC burned the mini-series over three straight nights). He should be a really good, gay Grindelwald.

Date: 2010-01-06 07:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mellificent.livejournal.com
Oh, I've said for ages that Rowling is in dire need of an editor who's not afraid to tell her to make some cuts. I'm not gonna argue with that. But given that she was allowed to publish these tremendously long books, I don't think cutting all the exposition from the movie - y'know, the part that would actually make the plot make a little more sense - was a good idea.

And it was Barty Crouch, JUNIOR, mind. Barty Crouch Sr. was that guy from The Vicar of Dibley, which is a whole different thing.

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