Losing my Terminator Salvation…

Posted on May 24, 2009



I succumbed to the hype to go see Terminator: Salvation over the weekend. For the two or three of you that have never heard of Terminator, Salvation is about the future war against machines and one man’s journey to be the salvation of mankind.

Let me start by saying that T1 and T2 had a huge influence on me when I was a younger. Nothing was cooler than a robot coming from the future to assassinate a future hero. Arnold’s role as the T-800 has to be one of the most iconic pop culture symbols of the 20th century. Because of Director James Cameron’s vision of T2, it has become one of the most celebrated sci-fi movies of all time.

Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins

With that being said, I was far from satisfied after seeing this sophomoric addition to the series. The visuals were fantastic and Christian Bale did the best he could with what he had. However, the Director’s (McG) storytelling of the movie was clumsy, fragmented, and illogical. This movie suffered from what I call the ‘dot-to-dot’ syndrome. McG had in mind several main points that he had to hit and it was obvious how he was going to connect them- it was like connecting dots. No real surprises and very predictable. Many prequel type movies fall to the ‘dot-to-dot’ syndrome like Wolverine and the Star Wars prequels. A select few do not like Star Trek and the new Batman series. While not a prequel, T4 is in the same category of needing to ‘fit’ into an existing storyline. The only thing redeeming about the movie was a few cool action scenes and the appearance of a key cameo. Other than that, I thought McG really ‘terminated’ my appreciation for the series and my opinion of his directing chops. It is beyond my comprehension how you have so much source material and can’t get still can’t get a 4th sequel wrong…*sigh*


One principle that I was reminded of is how the ‘dot-to-dot’ syndrome affects much more than just movies. I think of how often so many experiences in life feel so contrived and unoriginal. We can experience the dot-to-dot syndrome at a church service, wedding, graduation ceremonies, staff meeting, and any big event. You know what needs to be hit and you know exactly how it’s going to get there- it’s like connecting dots 1-2-3. As creative leaders, you can’t settle for such status quo thinking.

So as you start to create a new experience, remember to think outside the dots. If you do that, then your fans will most certainly say ‘I’ll be back’.

My blog on X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Star Trek