McG Talks What Went Wrong in TERMINATOR SALVATION and His Plans for TERMINATOR 5

by     Posted 5 years, 108 days ago

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If you had to sum up this summer’s “Terminator Salvation” in one word, it would probably be “disappointment”.  There were  glimmers of a fantastic film shining through but they were continually blocked by The Christian Bale Show featuring The Angry, Grimacing John Connor and his Growling Voice Band.  In a recent interview, Director McG gives his thoughts on what he thinks went wrong with the film and what he hopes to do with “Terminator 5″.  Hit the jump to grit your teeth and stare pensively into the sunset.

Speaking with IGN Movies Australia [via The Playlist], McG cites the biggest problem with “Terminator Salvation” is that it didn’t have enough fun.  I suppose that was unforeseeable since Christian Bale is just a ray of sunshine in all his movies.  While I do appreciate McG’s honesty in admitting the film didn’t win the widespread acclaim he sought, he still wants to do right by everyone, especially James Cameron and the fans.  Unfortunately, I think he’s going to miss that goal for two reasons.  First, “Not Enough Fun” was not the biggest problem in T4.  It wasn’t even the third of fourth biggest problem.  The problem was that McG let the casting of Bale transform everything.  He let the casting of John Connor, who had a name-star and no character arc, eclipse the stronger storylines like Marcus’ search for humanity and putting young Kyle Reese, who was an interesting character, into a box for the third act (literally).  And please don’t get me started on the ending(s).

The other reason I’m lacking confidence is what he says he’s got planned for the fifth film (in addition to “fun”) because you know what else “Terminator Salvation” was missing?  Time Travel!  Well don’t worry your heads, post-apocalypse fans.  McG isn’t going into the details (probably because, Skynet-willing, they’re still working on the script), but it sounds like Connor will be racing through different time periods with a new antagonist on his tail.

Yes, a new, clearly-defined antagonist is in the mix because that’s something T4 was also missing and apparently that was a bad thing.  As McG says, “It will be more of a chase movie with a new Terminator that is on your ass.”  That sounds great because the series has never done something like that.  Oh, except for the first three movies.  They all did that.  They’re all chase movies with a new Terminator that is on your ass.  They’re all like that.

I don’t mean to go after McG because he does seem like a nice guy but that may turn out to be his biggest problem.  He’s clearly a people-pleaser.  Re-reading this interview and remembering interviews he did promoting “Salvation”, he keeps talking about how he wants to do right by James Cameron and by fans and that’s fine.  He should say he respects the franchise and Cameron once or twice but ultimately that’s not his primary job.  Getting the fans on board is marketing’s job.  Here’s the question I want answered: what does McG want? I’m not talking about a movie that makes a X-amount at the box office or what will have the widest appeal among fans.  McG has this landmark franchise at his disposal and it’s not enough to simply attempt to please everyone and lack a vision and purpose of his own.  I know McG can direct action and he did it very well in T4, but one of the biggest complaints I heard is that his film lacked humanity.  That has to come before fun and time travel and new antagonists.  It’s harder to do but if he really wants to do justice to the fans and to James Cameron, that’s where McG will focus his efforts.




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  • clockworkpi

    The biggest problem with Terminator Salvation was the screenplay. It was poorly written, with poorly developed characters, leading up to the poorly thought up conclusion. Not to mention it contradicted various things that were stated by Reese in the first film. McG and the writers of Terminator Salvation should be fired and replaced by people with creativity who know how to nurture and develop characters properly.

  • clockworkpi

    The biggest problem with Terminator Salvation was the screenplay. It was poorly written, with poorly developed characters, leading up to the poorly thought up conclusion. Not to mention it contradicted various things that were stated by Reese in the first film. McG and the writers of Terminator Salvation should be fired and replaced by people with creativity who know how to nurture and develop characters properly.

  • CDUB

    i THINK i MAY BE ONE OF THE FEW THAT REALLY ENJOYED MCG’S LAST INSTALLMENT. IT WAS DARK AND GRITTY JUST LIKE THE SARAH CONNOR PREDICTED FUTURE AND THE FUTURE THEY SHOWED IN THE PREVIOUS FILMS. AS FOR BALE…I AM PRETTY INDIFFERENT. HE DIDNT STEAL ANY SCENES, BUT DIDNT THINK HE MAILED IN HIS PERFORMANCE EITHER. i AGREE THAT THE KYLE REESE CHARACTER SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE DEVELOPED, BUT ITHINK OVERALL MCG HONORED THE OHTER FILMS (SHOWING HOW JOHN CONNOR GOT THAT GNARLEY SCAR WAS A NICE TOUCH), BUT PUT HIS NEW STAMP ON IT. i LOOK FORWARD TO WHAT ELSE HE IS GOING TO DO WITH THE FRANCHISE.

  • CDUB

    i THINK i MAY BE ONE OF THE FEW THAT REALLY ENJOYED MCG’S LAST INSTALLMENT. IT WAS DARK AND GRITTY JUST LIKE THE SARAH CONNOR PREDICTED FUTURE AND THE FUTURE THEY SHOWED IN THE PREVIOUS FILMS. AS FOR BALE…I AM PRETTY INDIFFERENT. HE DIDNT STEAL ANY SCENES, BUT DIDNT THINK HE MAILED IN HIS PERFORMANCE EITHER. i AGREE THAT THE KYLE REESE CHARACTER SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE DEVELOPED, BUT ITHINK OVERALL MCG HONORED THE OHTER FILMS (SHOWING HOW JOHN CONNOR GOT THAT GNARLEY SCAR WAS A NICE TOUCH), BUT PUT HIS NEW STAMP ON IT. i LOOK FORWARD TO WHAT ELSE HE IS GOING TO DO WITH THE FRANCHISE.

  • fabrice

    there are a lot of problems in salvation..

    the screenplay
    MCG
    the dynamic
    the end of the movie..it was like WHAT
    the MAD MAX scenes…what happen with the night?
    this guy is a lier, that future is not what we saw on T2 and T1
    not too much robots
    the carachters are empty

    the franchise is almost dead since T3 and T4 was the ultimate opportunity, too bad

    james cameron is terminator

    • EddeeBee

      The end of the movie was meant to imply there would be a continuation.
      That’s why it ended like that with no real resolution. The war wasn’t won yet.

      Has anyone even thought to give credit how great the MUSIC was in this movie (and I mean the instrumental score)? I thought it was incredible..

      James Cameron has abandoned the Terminator universe. He did what he had to and moved on to other projects. He has no intentions of returning to do any further Terminators, so why not have someone else take over?

      I thought the characters were great especially Moon Bloodgood. She added a great element and humanity to Salvation.

      Christian Bale is an excellent John Connor and it isnt like they could have gotten a better one. From where? All those failing excuses for actors that they casted in GI JOE? If that is where Hollywood’s young actors are turning out they better wrap it up and start over.

  • fabrice

    there are a lot of problems in salvation..

    the screenplay
    MCG
    the dynamic
    the end of the movie..it was like WHAT
    the MAD MAX scenes…what happen with the night?
    this guy is a lier, that future is not what we saw on T2 and T1
    not too much robots
    the carachters are empty

    the franchise is almost dead since T3 and T4 was the ultimate opportunity, too bad

    james cameron is terminator

    • EddeeBee

      The end of the movie was meant to imply there would be a continuation.
      That’s why it ended like that with no real resolution. The war wasn’t won yet.

      Has anyone even thought to give credit how great the MUSIC was in this movie (and I mean the instrumental score)? I thought it was incredible..

      James Cameron has abandoned the Terminator universe. He did what he had to and moved on to other projects. He has no intentions of returning to do any further Terminators, so why not have someone else take over?

      I thought the characters were great especially Moon Bloodgood. She added a great element and humanity to Salvation.

      Christian Bale is an excellent John Connor and it isnt like they could have gotten a better one. From where? All those failing excuses for actors that they casted in GI JOE? If that is where Hollywood’s young actors are turning out they better wrap it up and start over.

  • David Kovacs

    THE NEW TERMINATOR WENT WRONG FOR MANY REASON INCLUDING A BAD SCREENPLAY AND IT “WASNT FUN.” BUT A HUGE REASON IT DIDNT WORK WAS CASTING. CHRISTIAN BALE WAS A TERRIBLE CHOICE TO PLAY JOHN CONNOR! IF YOU LOOK BACK AT THE JAMES CAMERON TERMINATOR FILMS (WHICH WERE GREAT!) JOHN CONNOR A LOT OF PERSONALITY. SEEING JOHN CONNOR AND ARNOLD PLAY OFF EACH OTHER WAS A LOT OF THE FUN. THATS ANOTHER REASON SALVATION DIDNT WORK. ARONLD!!! EVEN THOUGH T3 WASNT AS GOOD AS ITS PREDECESSORS, IT STILL WAS AN ENJOYABLE MOVIE! T4 WAS MISSING ALL THE GREAT CHARACTERS TERMINATOR FANS HAVE LEARNED TO LOVE! FOR ME IT WAS LIKE THEM THINKING ABOUT CHANGING THE VOICES OF THE FUTURAMA CHARACTERS, IT WOULD CHANGE THE CHARACTERS! IM NOT SAYING THEY SHOULD HAVE KEPT THE SAME EXACT ACTORS (OTHER THEN ARNOLD, WHO SHOULD BE IN EVERY TERMINATOR FILM) IM SAYING THEY SHOULD HAVE THE SAME EXACT CHARACTERS!! AND IN T4 IT SEEMED LIKE THEY TOOK THE CHARACTERS NAME AND COMPLETELY LEFT THERE PERSONALITY BEHIND! OTHER THEN A FEW WELL SHOT ACTION SHOTS AND TWO GOOD PERFORMANCES BY ANTON YELCHIN (STAR TREK) AND SAM WORTHINGTON (JAMES CAMERONS AVATAR) I PRETTY MUCH HATED THIS MOVIE. HOPEFULLY McG CAN REVIVE THE SERIES, BUT AFTER TERMINATOR SALVATION I DONT KNOW WHAT HE COULD POSSIBLE DO!

  • David Kovacs

    THE NEW TERMINATOR WENT WRONG FOR MANY REASON INCLUDING A BAD SCREENPLAY AND IT “WASNT FUN.” BUT A HUGE REASON IT DIDNT WORK WAS CASTING. CHRISTIAN BALE WAS A TERRIBLE CHOICE TO PLAY JOHN CONNOR! IF YOU LOOK BACK AT THE JAMES CAMERON TERMINATOR FILMS (WHICH WERE GREAT!) JOHN CONNOR A LOT OF PERSONALITY. SEEING JOHN CONNOR AND ARNOLD PLAY OFF EACH OTHER WAS A LOT OF THE FUN. THATS ANOTHER REASON SALVATION DIDNT WORK. ARONLD!!! EVEN THOUGH T3 WASNT AS GOOD AS ITS PREDECESSORS, IT STILL WAS AN ENJOYABLE MOVIE! T4 WAS MISSING ALL THE GREAT CHARACTERS TERMINATOR FANS HAVE LEARNED TO LOVE! FOR ME IT WAS LIKE THEM THINKING ABOUT CHANGING THE VOICES OF THE FUTURAMA CHARACTERS, IT WOULD CHANGE THE CHARACTERS! IM NOT SAYING THEY SHOULD HAVE KEPT THE SAME EXACT ACTORS (OTHER THEN ARNOLD, WHO SHOULD BE IN EVERY TERMINATOR FILM) IM SAYING THEY SHOULD HAVE THE SAME EXACT CHARACTERS!! AND IN T4 IT SEEMED LIKE THEY TOOK THE CHARACTERS NAME AND COMPLETELY LEFT THERE PERSONALITY BEHIND! OTHER THEN A FEW WELL SHOT ACTION SHOTS AND TWO GOOD PERFORMANCES BY ANTON YELCHIN (STAR TREK) AND SAM WORTHINGTON (JAMES CAMERONS AVATAR) I PRETTY MUCH HATED THIS MOVIE. HOPEFULLY McG CAN REVIVE THE SERIES, BUT AFTER TERMINATOR SALVATION I DONT KNOW WHAT HE COULD POSSIBLE DO!

  • Eliza

    McG is still totally out of touch with his audience. Terminator fans don’t want more fun. If we wanted more fun, we’d go watch shitty movies like GI Joe. There is already plenty of that out there. Do something different. What ever happened to making it about character? And how about having not totally laughable dialogue? People bemoan casting, but there’s only so much an actor can do with terrible writing. The one thing that was almost universally well-received was Anton Yelchin as Reese. So no more putting him in a box, and please, for pete’s sake, don’t set the film in a time period that makes it impossible for him to appear (like McG said recently). Oh, and unless Bale is contractually obligated, I don’t think he’ll want to come back. He knows it was terrible.

  • Eliza

    McG is still totally out of touch with his audience. Terminator fans don’t want more fun. If we wanted more fun, we’d go watch shitty movies like GI Joe. There is already plenty of that out there. Do something different. What ever happened to making it about character? And how about having not totally laughable dialogue? People bemoan casting, but there’s only so much an actor can do with terrible writing. The one thing that was almost universally well-received was Anton Yelchin as Reese. So no more putting him in a box, and please, for pete’s sake, don’t set the film in a time period that makes it impossible for him to appear (like McG said recently). Oh, and unless Bale is contractually obligated, I don’t think he’ll want to come back. He knows it was terrible.

  • Geb

    The biggest problem with Terminator 4 was McG…

  • Geb

    The biggest problem with Terminator 4 was McG…

  • Dave R.

    please no T5…. or at least get McG out of the fucking director’s seat. I had high hopes for T4 but was thoroughly disappointed.

  • Dave R.

    please no T5…. or at least get McG out of the fucking director’s seat. I had high hopes for T4 but was thoroughly disappointed.

  • mike Hoath

    The real blame for T4 should be pointed at whatever studio owns the franchise for giving it over to the douche bag that did Charlie’s Angels. And if that’s not enough, apparently they are giving him another go? Seriously, who would go to a cinema to see another McG terminator film after seeing that last piece of shit?

  • mike Hoath

    The real blame for T4 should be pointed at whatever studio owns the franchise for giving it over to the douche bag that did Charlie’s Angels. And if that’s not enough, apparently they are giving him another go? Seriously, who would go to a cinema to see another McG terminator film after seeing that last piece of shit?

  • in_rainbows

    really? a part 5? Stick a fork in it already. THE Terminator story ended when Sarah Conner lowered the terminator into molten steel. McG means well but he needs to come up with something original. By original I mean something he thought up himself. Like a puppet show and not EVER touch a movie again!

  • in_rainbows

    really? a part 5? Stick a fork in it already. THE Terminator story ended when Sarah Conner lowered the terminator into molten steel. McG means well but he needs to come up with something original. By original I mean something he thought up himself. Like a puppet show and not EVER touch a movie again!

  • you_suck

    The original screenplay, the one that focused on Marcus, sounded much more intriguing than what we ended up getting. McG should have stuck to his instincts rather than kneeling to Bale. Frankly, Bale has made a career of playing second fiddle to better actors and he seems to have grown a little pissy about it. McG had his shot, it didn’t work and now they should just let the franchise die – there isn’t much more original material to mine here anyway. Yelchin and Worthington deserve kudos for their performances, btw. Bale was a distraction.
    The most amazing thing to me, btw, was that they got Arnie to participate but they made absolutely no attempt to explain why he was the prototype – weird. Oh yeah, and the ending – a heart transplant on the battlefield; I mean wtf?

  • you_suck

    The original screenplay, the one that focused on Marcus, sounded much more intriguing than what we ended up getting. McG should have stuck to his instincts rather than kneeling to Bale. Frankly, Bale has made a career of playing second fiddle to better actors and he seems to have grown a little pissy about it. McG had his shot, it didn’t work and now they should just let the franchise die – there isn’t much more original material to mine here anyway. Yelchin and Worthington deserve kudos for their performances, btw. Bale was a distraction.
    The most amazing thing to me, btw, was that they got Arnie to participate but they made absolutely no attempt to explain why he was the prototype – weird. Oh yeah, and the ending – a heart transplant on the battlefield; I mean wtf?

  • Reese

    Movie was dark, and set in the future…I think it was great…Overall A-, I see it as Batman Begins, and I hope the sequel is The Dark Knight….I think what we miss, is the 80 and 90′s soundtrack from the previous films…seeing linda hamilton…ed furlong…But honestly I still feel the love in this fourth installment, I see it as a worthy sequel to T2 judgment day, that puts more depth and explains everything a bit more…I believe thats what great trilogys do, then start off by developing to reaching a climax to a final ending, like LOTR, Matrix Revolutions, and other trilogys, I believe if the next one hits the target, expect this new trilogy to be of epic proportions, hats off to sleeper hit T:Salvation, and MCG….Good job.

  • Reese

    Movie was dark, and set in the future…I think it was great…Overall A-, I see it as Batman Begins, and I hope the sequel is The Dark Knight….I think what we miss, is the 80 and 90′s soundtrack from the previous films…seeing linda hamilton…ed furlong…But honestly I still feel the love in this fourth installment, I see it as a worthy sequel to T2 judgment day, that puts more depth and explains everything a bit more…I believe thats what great trilogys do, then start off by developing to reaching a climax to a final ending, like LOTR, Matrix Revolutions, and other trilogys, I believe if the next one hits the target, expect this new trilogy to be of epic proportions, hats off to sleeper hit T:Salvation, and MCG….Good job.

  • nano X

    Wonder if James “I’ve made my money” techno-hack Cameron
    ever plans to come clean abouthis finanacial ‘understanding’ with
    the most awesomely genocidal regime in world history
    —across the Pacific?

    I mean —-70,000,000 ‘peacetime’ murders is a pretty large
    nacho platter to have to hide under the couch!

    UH—HUH—

  • nano X

    Wonder if James “I’ve made my money” techno-hack Cameron
    ever plans to come clean abouthis finanacial ‘understanding’ with
    the most awesomely genocidal regime in world history
    —across the Pacific?

    I mean —-70,000,000 ‘peacetime’ murders is a pretty large
    nacho platter to have to hide under the couch!

    UH—HUH—

  • sam sucks

    No more Sam Worthington. Screw that guy. It has to be all about John Conner and the Resistance fighting the terminators and Skynet. War. The future War

  • mustdisqus

    It failed because ‘it wasn’t enough fun’, without mentioning the lame storyline or script, trying to make up for it all with CGI and explosions? It’s not a fairground, it’s cinema. He’d be better off as a music video director if he just wants to focus on the quick fix aspect

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