Terminator Salvation: The Countdown Has Begun

On Tuesday night Joseph "McG" McGinty Nichol, the director of the new Terminator movie, made an appearance in the Apple store on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. The chance to get to hear the filmmaker speak about the latest news over the highly anticipated movie attracted a modest size crowd of dedicated fans who patiently waited in line outside the store for as many as two hours before the event actually started.

Amongst them was Ron Anderson, whom had made the commute all the way across town from Irvine in rush hour traffic just to check out the event. "I'm obviously a huge fan of action movies and I cannot wait for the premier day to come around, but I still try to keep my expectations realistic. It is the fourth movie after all!"

The atmosphere was lively and many had brought books for the director to autograph. Once it was time, we were guided into the store and seated in front of a stage. The host of the evening, Geoff Boucher from the LA Times, and the director himself appeared shortly after, to the audience's big delight.

It was evident that McG was relaxed and definitely in a great mood. His laid back attitude rubbed off on his fans when confirming that it was true that originally, he was uncertain whether the world needed another Terminator movie or not.

"That's absolutely right, I thought it was a bad idea," he said, "Especially after the third movie in which the story was fine, but it also kind of lost its direction. What we needed to do was to figure out a way to establish credibility of the movie, and in order to do that we had to begin over again."

Twenty-five years have passed since the original release of The Terminator in the mid eighties. Six years later it was followed up by a second and eventually a third sequel, none of which ever reached the cult status of the first one, but were at least as popular and had an unbeatable influence on the science fiction/action genre.

Different actors and directors have contributed to the making of these films throughout the years, and the quality of this concept has reached both success and failure.

In Terminator Salvation, Christian Bale (known from Batman - the Dark Knight and American Psycho) costars with rising Australian star Sam Worthington. McG was not shy to praise the talent of Worthington: "You don't know who Sam Worthington is? I feel like I'm talking about Russell Crowe before Gladiator. He honors the movie in such a high degree that you're going to remember the day when you heard his name for the first time." He went on by describing how challenging it had initially been to find a person who could stand up to the powerful presence of Bale on the screen.

Arnold Schwarzenegger who became famous for being involved in the making of all three previous movies was, due to practical reasons, not able to physically participate in the upcoming release.

But Schwarzenegger will be there in spirit - he will still be appearing on screen with help of sophisticated computer-generated facials and the body-double of fellow countryman and actor Roland Kickinger.

And even though the focus in the script has shifted from Schwarzenegger's character as a cyborg for the benefit of Bale and Worthington in the new movie, it is clear that imagining a Terminator movie without "the Austrian Oak" himself is nearly impossible.

Director McG agrees as he half jokingly, half seriously explains the need of forward thinking visual technology: "We wanted the T-800 Terminator in this movie, but definitely the body, face, and look from the original picture from the early eighties. And he sure is a very fit man, our governor, but 25 years is 25 years after all."

Overall, McG seemed to be feeling content about the movie as he answered his fans' questions covering the writing process, managing the film crew, the somewhat unexpected PG-13 rating (Salvation is the first of the four movies not to be rated R), the actors, and the science fiction genre itself.

According to McG, it is critical that an intriguing Sci-Fi movie should contain both pure visual entertainment and a philosophical story that people can go on and talk about for years to come. After watching the preview, a cascade of violence in a post-apocalyptic setting with live comments by McG, I am fully convinced by Kevin Jordan and Chris Nguyen, the guys sitting behind me, that this is something to look forward to.

They have both seen all of the movies and cannot decide which one was their favorite. High or low expectations, no matter whom I ask, the answer to why everybody is here tonight seems to be the same all over: "I simply like action. The more intense, the better."

The movie has the potential to become a great success, but in the end the box office will deliver the final verdict. One thing is for sure, you rest assured that the Terminator will be back!