Friday, May 22, 2009

Salvation for Terminator...

Last night (Wednesday, May 21) I went to the midnight showing of Terminator Salvation. I'm pleased to report that the future of the Terminator franchise looks good, film wise. While I felt the story was trimmed down far too greatly to meet the needs of action and run-time, the action was truly so fantastic that it really held the film together. Judgment Day and the original are still far superior; but this was a welcomed improvment over Rise of the Machines. Bale was a superior Connor than Nick Stahl by miles. Sam Worthington stole the film to a great degree. Anton Yelchin made a decent Kyle Reese, worthy of succeding Michael Beihn.

As far as the music goes, I'm pleased to report that the Terminator drum-beat, heard in the commercials, was present on three occasions. At the opening, at the reveal of the best cameo in motion picture history, and at the end credits. That it's not included in the score truly infuriates me. That said, it's only one element of the theme. The true heart of the theme was, as I expected, absent in any true and intelligible form. I feel it likely it's lack of inclusion was based purely in financial motives, as McG truly does seem to appreciate the Terminator universe. There where many great nods to continuity throughout the film and he's clearly got his hands on the property.

As far as nostalgia...

It's what gets me and a lot of other people in the seats. So frankly, the studios need to pay more heed to it. Imagine Star Wars without it? Star Trek? Godfather? There is much talk of a Ghostbusters 3, and imagine it not being used? Would any of us not be miffed?

Just thought I'd add my two cents...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hasta La Vista, Theme Song...

I'm currently listening to the score from the latest in the Terminator franchise of films, 2009's "Terminator Salvation" which opens in the USA for early showings this Thursday, May 21st. It will have some (for reasons beyond my comprehension) tough competition in the more family friendly fodder of the latest waste of film to star Ben Stiller. Nope, I'm not saying the flicks name. I know from box office experience that it will likely win the weekend due to being more family friendly, so I'm getting a head start on being upset that it beat the new Terminator flick for number one that memorial day weekend.

Anyway, like I said, I'm currently listening to the score from TS, and... I'll be honest, it's a good score. It's not epic or sweeping thus far, as I've heard. But it's solid, and thankfully, it doesn't sound like a typical Danny Elfman composition for the most part. Don't get me wrong, Elfman has talent - but when it comes to genre stuff, he should be banished to an island and never allowed near it with a ten foot pole. That said, he's managed to hide his normal tones and tunes - mostly - from TS. That all said... it's lacking one very critical thing.

The one thing that every single true Terminator fan wants. And has wanted. Since 2003's disappointment of Terminator 3, and the more recent Terminator TV series.

The god damn mother fucking theme song!

...Seriously. What. The. Fuck?

There are not many films that have a sweeping and well loved theme song that become iconic. There really aren't. I mean, think of 10 and you've likely named them all. Star Wars. Star Trek. Godfather. Jurrasic Park. I can't go much further than that. Because there are not to many films with great iconic themes that are so beloved!

When they didn't use it outside of the closing credits in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines... I was miffed. But at the time, I glossed over it, because it was Arnold as the Terminator again after a 12 year long wait. I was young, naive, and able to gloss over such a (at the time) triviality as the theme song. When they where preparing for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I actually spoke with series compose Bear McCreary (one of my top 3 composers, btw) through e-mail and asked him, point blank: what was happening with the theme? He informed me they (FOX) where trying to secure the rights, and all those involved in production wanted to use it. Alas, all we ended up with was the thump-thump-thump-thump-thump drum beat intro.

When I first heard substantial news of Terminator Salvation, director McG (shit name, right? He knows, he's not a pre-madonna, it's short of McGinty and a nickname he got as a kid because he's the third named Joe in his family, as I recall) first spoke of the film, he promptly addressed the themes. He said he loved them. He said he wanted them. When he hired Danny Elfman, he said he had instructed Elfman to use said themes.

I rejoiced.

I knew Elfman wouldn't use them constantly, I knew we would be lucky to have the opening and closing credits and maybe a specific moment near the climax of the film, but I relaxed as all seemed well and on track for the return of the great theme I'd loved since, literally, childhood.

Yet here I am. Writing, ranting, and grinding my teeth as I listen to the score from Terminator Salvation and... do not hear the themes. None of them. Certainly not the familair "do-do-dooooooo, doo-doo-doooooooo" that so many of us love from the first two films. No, I'm listening to the latest Terminator score sans any Terminator themes! Again!

I feel like pulling a William Shatner and, at the top of my lungs, screaming to the heavens like he did for Khan...




It's no use though. The film comes out in 5 days. There is nothing to be done except to feel a little bitter, a little betrayed, and a little more disenfranchised. And as I type those words, a little sickened too, as I just heard some classic Elfman chaos in track 7 that, to my ears, is nails on a chalkboard. Thankfully it was just a brief moment. Hopefully that's all it will be. But I guess it's "Hasta La Vista, Theme Song" for Terminator.

Have a listen. It's good. It's just not great; and it's lacking that which we all hoped it would contain, the themes.