We Get It, Terminator Salvation Movie Is Just Like A Video Game

In trying to describe how much they disliked the new Terminator movie, many movie reviewers decided that comparing it to video games would do the trick.

Terminator Salvation, the fourth Terminator movie, opened last weekend to cranky reviews.

Unimpressed with actor Christian Bale and director McG's take on the evil-android series, movie reviewers eviscerated the film. And in the process, they lobbed the grandest of insults:

They wrote: this movie's like a video game.

Here's a sampling:

*The Memphis, Tennessee Commercial Appeal's John Beifuss: "...The giant shape-shifting robots (which harvest humans like the Martian machines in Spielberg's "War of the Worlds") are more Transformer than Terminator; they seem to have been designed for video games and Toys R Us spinoffs rather than for movie sequels."

*The Chicago Sun Times' Roger Ebert: "… most of the running time is occupied by action sequences, chase sequences, motorcycle sequences, plow-truck sequences, helicopter sequences, fighter-plane sequences, towering android sequences and fistfights. It gives you all the pleasure of a video game without the bother of having to play it." (Two stars)

*The Boston Herald's James Verniere: … "Terminator Salvation, which sports a surprisingly grating score by the otherwise great Danny Elfman, looks less like a movie than a hybridized video game." (C+)

*The Seattle Times' John Hartl: "… More video game than movie, "Terminator Salvation" is the fourth and easily the least-entertaining installment in one of Hollywood's most successful science-fiction franchises." (1 1/2 stars)

*The Tampa Tribune's Kevin Walker: … "Loud, monochromatic and relentlessly grim in the way of a video game for preteens, this movie - directed by McG (of the 'Charlie's Angels' movies and a whole bunch of music videos) - completes the transformation of the 'Terminator' series from mind-bending science fiction bolstered by great special effects to a special effects circus with very little story." (1 1/2 stars)

*The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Colin Covert: "The film proceeds with video-game logic. The humans have a chance to strike at the heart of SKYNET by jamming the communications link to its army of high-tech killers. But that goal can be interrupted at any moment by an onslaught of unmanned fighter jets, motorcycles or even mechanical eels patrolling the rivers." (2 1/2 stars)

*The Winnipeg Free Press' Randall King: "[Actress Moon]Bloodgood projects all the gritty humanity of a sexy video-game character." (2 1/2 stars)

*Gizmodo's Mark Wilson: It's a two-hour video game linking a series of sequences that have little reason for existence other than McG's action-packed directing style.

*(Bonus blast from the past from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's review of Terminator 2 back in 1991: "It is, at the same time, dazzling and numbing, a movie that stuns you in all senses of the word. ... It is as dehumanized as Nintendo, which is ultimately what it resembles — the world's biggest video game.|)

I didn't see the movie. Any gamers out there think this is inaccurate criticism? Or is Terminator Salvation guilty as charged of being too video-gamey?


    Havn't seen it yet, but why are they using video game as an insult. Maybe they feel threatened that video games will take over their industry.

    Also, to be honest... Terminator 1,2 and 3 never had a really rich plot or storyline in the actual movie. It was just some people running away from arnie... or another machine. So I don't see what they're complaining about.

    haha sounds like its going to be awesome

    “Terminator Salvation” is the fourth and easily the least-entertaining installment in one of Hollywood’s most successful science-fiction franchises.”

    Really? It's worse than 3?!?!? I find that hard to believe.

      I agree. Terminator 3 was pretty bad.

    See, I get where this retarded trend for using the word "video game" as a derogatory term comes from. I mean think about it - the majority of these reviewers won't have played a game, so they don't understand the haptic / participatory side of actually *playing* a game. They are idle, frankly disinterested observers watching over their kids or grandkids' shoulders, expecting to be entertained in a passive, vicarious mode (as they would expect from their years as film critics).

    They don't get games... but they do give us an insight into the failings of the movies they discuss. Movies don't provide the same fun and feedback that games do - the pleasure is all in the passive viewing of the thing. If the movie fails on that basic level, then trust them - it's a dud.

    What the reviewers would be referring to when likening a movie to video games is the linear fashion in which the action is presented. Heres a chase scene, fight scene, boss scene etc.

    It is a formula found in most video games so the comparison is apt.

    Also accusing the reviews of not knowing what they are talking about because you assume they dont play games is stupid. Almost as stupid as your criticizing critics without actually knowing anything about film or critical analysis.

    I doubt you even have a degree.

      Sorry to disappoint you pal - BA(animation) and doing a masters in game design at the moment.

      Some of the above quotes there are valid - the fact that most of T4's robots are going to be merch'd to death as toys and whatnot. What I take issue with is the opinion and track record of folks like Roger Ebert. I've read enough of his reviews over the years to know where he's coming from, and frankly he's right in many ways about the present state of games as a new artistic medium. He kinda fails when he tries to make the claim that they NEVER WILL BE as good as film is.

      I don't claim to to be a genius auteur, but I have worked for over a decade as a game dev - I kinda think I'm one up on Ebert at least for knowing where the biz is going and where its potential lies.

    What's the problem here?

    I fail to see how most of these are insults. If you can't see that there's a real difference between video games and cinema then the problem isn't with the reviewers.

    Character development, pacing, depth.. basically all are different in major ways between movies and games. It's one of the main reasons that video game movies suck so badly (and vice versa). They don't translate well.

    No one's going to watch a movie where the main character wanders around for 3 hours shooting people just to get a red key (ot other item), then 3 hours as he backtracks the entire way again (except for LOTR). The same way that no one's going to play a game that's basically a giant quick time event.

    I have a degree in cinema analysis and I've been a gamer as long as I can remember (I'm 28 now). Calling a movie "video game like" is no more an insult than calling it "theatre like" or "book like". It's just an apt description.


    I used to write reviews for films for print media and I have a degree (okay its a BA in English and Philosophy but still) and yes using video games as an insult is moronic. If anything I think this proves that professional movie reviewers by and large suffer too much generational gap between themselves and their potential readers. They are far too snobbishly academic in their reviews and comparing the movie to a video game is an unoriginal stab at wit, as proven by the last quote.

    after Terminator Salvation, i count a total of three choices in the Christian Bale voice arsenal: his normal voice (with a lisp), Broadway singer (Newsies) and hoarse tough guy (Batman and Terminator)

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