Episode 47: Skynet VIP Suite

The Overthinkers rip Skynet a new one.

Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather rip Terminator: Salvation, McG, Christian Bale, and Skynet a new one.

Tell us what you think! Email us or call 20-EAT-LOG-01—that’s (203) 285-6401. If you haven’t yet, take the very short survey! And… spread the overthinking by forwarding this episode to a friend.

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7 Comments on “Episode 47: Skynet VIP Suite”

  1. fenzel #

    One thing I didn’t bring up in the podcast was the Terminator:Salvation/Reign of Fire question.

    It seemed pretty clear early on in the marketing that this movie was going to look and feel like Reign of Fire in some ways, what with Christian Bale as the leader of a postapocalyptic resistance against big CGI baddies who has to travel to the big base when a stranger comes to town.

    But what wasn’t clear was that there was going to be a “Christian Bale’s stranger friend jumps at a flying villain to his apparent death off something really high while screaming and brandishing an axe” shot.

    Maybe it was a tribute.

    Otherwise, there weren’t too many other surface similarities. The rest were more setting and detail stuff.


  2. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    I’m saving this one until after I see the movie, which to tell you the truth, I’m not that inclined to do after the universal “meh” it’s been receiving.

    But I’m curious what you have to say about the rating issue.
    T1: R
    T2: R
    T3: R
    TS: PG-13

    This bothers me, the idea that it’s a kinder, gentler Terminator. Less hardcore than Terminator 3 (which honestly, to my memory, was not very violent at all). Bothered me a lot when they pulled the same trick with Die Hard 4. In my mind, John McClain should swear, and the war against the robots should not be appropriate for unaccompanied minors.

    And… yup, that “Unaccompanied Minors” song is back in my head.


  3. fenzel #

    @ Matt

    There is no actual terminating in this movie.

    The most obvious break in the series is that the format of the movie is totally different – and not in a bonkers “Chronicles of Riddick” kind of way.

    There isn’t an evil robot that is inexorably hunting somebody down trying to kill him/her. It just isn’t part of the plot.

    That explains why there aren’t any really huge and notable acts of violence. The violence is pretty nonspecific a lot of the time, and not a lot of it is memorable.

    It’s like if you made an Indiana Jones movie about a small-town piano teacher who wants to be an archaeologist, so he writes a paper about Henry Jones’s diary and tries to get accepted to doctoral programs, and Indiana Jones ends up being one of his reviewers.

    Although, it is important to note that, if this movie came out when Terminator 1 came out, it would almost certainly be R. There’s been a lot of drift in what the standard means. A fair number of people do get shot, exploded and dismembered, there are some creepy naked bodies (although not showing anything too revealing).

    But come to think of it, I don’t know whether McG managed to get any of the actual stuff in frame. If he didn’t, it’s probably an accident, on account of the camera apparently being tied to a bunch of strings and swinging randomly around the set.


  4. Gab #

    Re: Translations: OH EM GEE I about geek-gasmed when you brought up actual translators. Fagels was the first I read because he reads fluffier and easier, being more poetic, but I like Lattimore a lot because his wording is closer to the original word choice and meter; and since I couldn’t hack it in dead languages, I appreciated that a lot from him. Wrather, how many _Inferno_ translations have you read? I can’t remember who did it, but I read one that tried to force rhyme in high school and then a lovely one by Mandelbaum in college.

    Re: Federalism/Elitism: Yes. This is something I could write pages on, but yes. The Founding Fathers were elitist and had a very patriarchal mindset when establishing our government. But I don’t think and never HAVE thought Wrather is an elitist because he does the opposite of what Fenzel did a great job of defining: Wrather does anything BUT reject what everybody else cares about. Your whole purpose for having this website stems for the love all of you have for the Popular Culture. If anything, you’re revolutionaries that are bridging the gaps between elitists and the masses by having knowledge, experience, and love for both sides’ realms. Really, if more people thought like you and wanted to get rid of those divides, it would all be a better place, right? ;)

    Re: Villains: Wrather, you’re made of awesome for bringing up the childhood trauma. That being cut from the same cloth is brought up sometimes, and whether it’s effective really depends on the movie and villain and how well it’s all written, but I like that much more than a sad/traumatic past on its own.

    The Main Event

    -I felt it was implied that John was kind of bred to be what he is by his mom. Hence those tapes she recorded for him. What they are trying for the whole time, it seems, is that both Conor and Skynet, in attempting to avoid/change their fate, actually create/fulfill it.

    -I was bothered by the transmissions because I’d think the chain of command would get pissed that a lone member of the ranks was transmitting without authority. It’s a form of insubordination, even if it’s meant to be in support of their cause. I mean, unless he had been given permission, but it’s implied that he’s doing it of his own accord.

    -Without preconceived _Terminator_ knowledge, it’s about destiny. See the first point. And yes, the triumph of the human spirit. Logline? In a post-apocalyptic world of machines v. humans, the leader of the human resistance must ally himself with what he most hates in order to save what he most loves.

    -I thought the final script changed because the first script was leaked. I remember something about Conor dying in the original.

    -The Old Lady was helping to establish the theme of humanity v. machine-ism. Think of Conor’s little speech to the Resistance as he’s telling them not to bomb Skynet.

    -The Control Chip boggled my mind, too. I actually didn’t think it was necessary. It would have been more emotional/moral/ethicaly questionable if he had been planted with a human mind and cyborg body because then that human mind would be subject to the machine body. And it would have been even more traumatizing for Marcus if the consciousness that led him to making his decisions had been 100% his.

    -It seemed to me as though the Control Center thing was built *for* Marcus. And I would think they use English because they were originally programmed by English-speaking humans. I also think this is why they still have jaws and stuff- they’re modeled after humans because they were designed by humans. Yeah, the robots may not *need* them, but that’s just what they were originally like, so that’s what they continue to be.

    -The T800 that misses John is the token inept guard. You MUST have at least ONE of those in every action movie.

    -Overall, I think I need to see it again. Not just because I did genuinely like it (sorry guys), but because I too felt barraged (although not to the point where I jumped in my seat or scratched myself) and know there must be stuff I missed. Sensory overload. I don’t think I’d go to the movie theater again, but I’d at least watch it on HBO, if not rent it first.

    -Lee, I think you need to save *those* final comments for your girlfriend. ;)


  5. fenzel #

    It seems a bit too on-the-nose to accuse the Founding Fathers of being patriarchal.


  6. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    Well, I certainly don’t mind that the new movie broke the format of two Terminators being sent back in time. Honestly, Terminator 3 really should have gone in a different direction. Having Arnold protecting John from a shapeshifter, it was a virtual remake of T2, with all the good stuff taken out. I am 100% behind the idea of setting a movie in the future. From what I’ve heard, they didn’t nail it – but the concept is sound.


  7. Megan from Lombard #

    the movie seemed to follow the summer rule of seeing how much stuff they could blow up during the course of the film.

    I wasn’t overly impressed with it, however I think that it (sort of) explained as to how John became the leader of the Resistance because one would think that *some* military leaders would’ve survived the blasts.

    One thing that I think McG really blew was the fact that he practically gave away the Marcus plotline, hell, he gave it away in the trailers. If he had really wanted to pull ‘wow…didn’t see that coming’ moment he should’ve kept us gussing. As it was I knew after the beginning of the movie what was going on and I got hit with the anvil of symbolism during the execution scene; apparently they weren’t going for subtlety.

    Also there’s the question as to how safe it would be almost ten years after the warheads blew up in the atmosphere; wouldn’t there still be enough radiation fallout to make it hazardous to humans?


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