Review: Art of T4

During the summer of my 10th year my life was changed forever. That was when I saw TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY on the big screen, a movie that has shaped my cinema watching experience ever since. From that point on T2 has been my favorite movie of all time, with every movie since barely able to rival the film's semi-truck action sequence, or feature a villain as badass as the T-1000. To put it simply, T2 is amazing.

Being such a big fan of T2 (as well as THE TERMINATOR), I've been waiting like a kid waiting for Christmas for TERMINATOR SALVATION . I've had my doubts with McG on board (but I love the CHARLIE'S ANGELS movies so I'm not entirely upset), and that looming PG-13 rating doesn't sit well with me either. But a movie set entirely in the future, in the middle of the war against the machines, fighting against Skynet on the battleground of post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, with Christian Bale as John Connor? Oh hell yeah.

Which is what prompted me to pick up THE ART OF TERMINATOR SALVATION, as I love the series and the lore of Skynet and those unstoppable killing machines. I had high hopes for THE ART OF to blow me away with its art, with its showcasing of cool on-set props or screen images, or maybe even some cool marketing posters, like many of the ART OF books that big budget movies like this seem to feature. But sadly, I didn't get any of those things. And even worse, through the "storytelling" of the book (why it jumps from a Hydrobot to a Hunter-Killer to the ginormous Harvester) it goes through the storyline and reveals specific plot points regarding the final film. I excepted some spoilery images (which, ironically, there weren't any), but spoilery explanation as to the context of the art itself? Never in a million years.

But let's not focus on that stuff, let's focus on the actual artwork that was presented for the film--all the different Terminators, Hunter-Killers, Hydrobots, Harvesters, and Skynet Facilities. The concept art is definitely cool for every section, the problem is, because there are 22 sections, only a handful of pages are devoted to each--sometimes too many, sometimes not enough. I wanted more of the T-600s, and could have used less of the tow truck or the loading zone, but what the heck are ya gonna do, right?

As for the art itself, I was severely unwowed. While there were some amazing sketches and concept paintings, there was also a lot of digital art and pre-visualization art, which has the look of crappy CGI, or (even worse) crappy photoshop. Most of the art wasn't hand drawn or painted, but crafted on a computer--and you could tell. Maybe it's just the purest in me, but hand drawn / painted stuff tends to look better and way more genuine than computer art or graphics ever will.

This is not to say that I didn't enjoy the designs, or that I thought the Terminators (presented in all shapes and sizes) weren't cool (they were), I just wasn't impressed by the way the art was presented. That said, the Terminator designs, no matter how hard they tried, look like TRANSFORMERS. They've stated that they made conscious efforts not to look like TRANSFORMERS, but as I was flipping through this book on the bus some bum leaned over my shoulder and asked "hey man, are those TRANSFORMERS?" If a bum thinks the designs are like TRANSFORMERS, what the hell is the rest of the world gonna think? I also would have preferred to see stills form the final film, to compare / contrast the concept art to how it eventually came out. Unfortunately, that rarely happened. Truth be told, there are probably less than 10 actual images from the film itself. I get that this is suppose to feature the art of the film, but featuring the art in the film would have been awesome. But alas, it had none.

Optimus Prime called, he wants his design back.

When it comes down to it, I was highly disappointed with THE ART OF TERMINATOR SALVATION. I was looking forward to checking out the new designs, see killer images from the film,or details from the set, and (maybe this is just the movie poster lover in me) I was hoping for a Poster Art section at the end, just showing off some marketing designs from the film (there has been a few kick-ass posters released thus far). Instead, THE ART OF featured too many digital art examples, concept art layouts that looked like screen caps from a video game and not from a movie, and (fittingly enough) a section on the video game version of the film. I could have done without the play-by-play of the storyline, and would have liked to see more than just a small handful of actual stills from the movie. While I'm still pumped to see the flick come May 21st, I wouldn't recommend the THE ART OF TERMINATOR SALVATION to even the biggest TERMINATOR fan.

1 out of 4 stars


Extra Tidbit: Writer Tara Bennett also wrote 300: THE ART OF THE FILM.
Source: JoBlo



Latest Entertainment News Headlines