McG Should be Fired From the Franchise

mcgOk, especially in this economy, I never advocate that people should be fired. I’m even a light touch on tenure decisions with people I think are just bad for the department or the discipline. I have this theory, if you paid your dues, you’ve earned the right to work wherever you’ve put your 7 years in.  I feel the same about other professions that ask a considerable amount of research, study, grunt work, and probationary time before granting you any kind of job security.

To be honest, I also hate to sound like a fangirl gone mad, but seriously . . .

When I saw Termination Salvation this past week, I was willing to give McG the benefit of the doubt. My lengthy film review makes sure to be as even-handed as possible b/c for all his “mistakes,” he did give us the most diverse summer blockbuster we’ll likely see this season. It was entertaining enough. And McG also made a risky hiring decision for the role of Kyle Reese that was ultimately better than anyone else I can imagine playing the character. (I loved Michael Biehn, and am a big fan of Jonathon Jackson tho his Reese was a little flat, and I said in my review, hiring Anton Yelchin was not only a stroke of genius, it saved this movie.)

That said, I just read an interview with McG in which he and Christian Bale say there was an alternative ending to the film, where John Connor’s skin is laid over Marcus Wright’s exoskeleton only to for him to be resurrected and kill Kate Connor (John’s wife), Kyle Reese (John’s father), and then wipe out the resistance:

“Connor dies, okay? He’s dead,” McG continues. “And Marcus offers his physical body, so Connor’s exterior is put on top of his machine body. It looks like Connor, but it’s really Marcus underneath. And all of the characters we care about (Kyle Reese, Connor’s wife Kate, etc.) are brought into the room to see him and they think it’s Connor. And Connor gets up and then there’s a small flicker of red in his eyes and he shoots Kate, he shoots Kyle, he shoots everybody in the room. Fade to black. End of movie. Skynet wins. F— you!” (Entertainment Weekly)

It isn’t just that both the star and director of this disappointing addition to the franchise thought this ending was plausible, McG is actually lamenting not having followed through!!!!  He actually believes that people would applaud his choice after they calmed down.  Oh really?

And Christian Bale actually advocated for this ending throughout much of the filming.  This is why the movie violates all of the established lore of the franchise and why the story ultimately focuses on the life of Marcus Wright; Warner Bros put the franchise in the hands of people who have little to no investment in the story at all.

Warner Bros approved the original storyline!!! And all McG said about the change was that it would kill the money making potential of the franchise by ending the possibility of other films.

Don’t believe me? As I said in my review, the video game version of Terminator Salvation begins where most fans expected the film to do so. The game introduces all of the characters in the film and explains how the resistance came together in the aftermath of nuclear war. The video game came out only a few days before the film with no concurrent advertising.  Thus the film drops the viewers into a world of characters no one knows, in the middle of a battle no one recognizes, run by leadership no one has heard of.  They never clear up these issues, and as my film companion said “I’m confused, it was like we just started in the middle or something. Who were those people?”  And as movie reviewers around the nation pour in, the same complaint keeps being raised.

So, do you think a man who

  1. didn’t consult the originator of the Terminator concept and script writer for the bulk of the franchise
  2. sold out the story to make money off the video game no one was told about outside of the gamer world
  3. and thought it was ok to replace John Connor with a machine and then have him kill his own family on screen

should be left in charge of the franchise?

There is a reason why this film is tanking after its opening day. The direction, the writing, and even the acting, seem more invested in making John unlikeable than in explaining why people follow him; given the original ending we now know why. Changing the ending did not change the plot that laid the ground work for that ending.  Even if I don’t read the last page of a bad novel w/an even worse ending. . . the novel is still bad.

The plot of the new Terminator movie may understand that “it is all about the human heart” but McG and Bale seem to think it is all about the dollar and the dark. Fire them both.

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