Comic-Con 2008: Terminator Salvation

The biggest film panel on Saturday at the San Diego Comic Con, the “Terminator Salvation” panel, played an extended trailer with about three minutes of all new footage along with one of the better panel Q&A’s of the convention.

The footage has an almost “Mad Max” tone to it – desert setting, rundown facilities, giant rusted trucks outfitted with bulldozer fronts or weapons and little to no visual effects. Unlike Max though, everyone’s dressed in military-style outfits and there’s no strange tattoos or piercings.

A “Jarhead”-esque shot had Bale (or Worthington, hard to tell) covered in oil hands in the air yelling. Bale threatens “You’ll kill everyone in the room” at a chained up version of Worthington’s character. He responds “Not everyone… just you” in a toned down Aussie accent that’s been slightly altered to sound robotic.

Another scene evoked the Great Escape as a motobike leaps one of those giant cross-post fences (albeit at night). The money shot had Connor lying on a metallic floor, steam issuing all around, shouting you “son of a bitch” to what looks like a metal T-800 arm which starts digging into his face. Earlier in the clip Bale yells “You tried to kill my mother, you killed my father, you will not kill me.”

Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood, Anton Yelchin, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common and director McG all showed up with the helmer, and a giant T-600 statue. The T-600 featured heavily in the footage, rubbery skin on the larger and more tank-like Terminator robot which mows down people with its gattling gun arm. A scene has it walking a long alley and crushing a skull on the way and the design was to evoke Soviet tanks crushing everything in sight.

Bloodgood plays a pilot who brings John to an outpost full of survivors, whilst Common plays John’s first aide in the resistance. Howard plays Kate Connor, John’s wife (a “Bonnie to his Clyde” says McG), and gets to do the single-handed pump action shotgun trick of Linda Hamilton’s from T2. Yelchin is a young Reese and got to utter the line “come with me if you want to live” in the footage shown.

Shooting is presently at the halfway point and the Skynet scenes were shot this week with the last bit of filming wrapping this morning. McG says the scene with the giant claw pulling a guy out of a crumbling building is a kind of giant robot called a harvester and there’s another (likely the one in the sewer in the trailer) called a hydrobot. The action of the film is set in the year 2018, eleven years before the first film’s future period and thus “SkyNet is not there yet and the machines haven’t come to a point of proficiency. We see the space between the contemporary films and 2029” says McG.

Most interesting is that McG and some of the actors very clearly stated that while they will try and respect the old films as much as possible, this is a reboot ala “Batman Begins” rather than a direct sequel. This is evoked in a line from the footage where Bale says “This is not the future my mother told me about… something has changed” to which Kate responds “If you saved us once in another future you can save us in this one”.

McG says that the film’s rating is undecided right now – they’re making it for a specific rating and it’s up to the studio to ultimately decide what to do with it – “I have been given the blessing to make the movie – just make the movie. If it’s rated R, it’s rated R.” He confirms that extra silver being used in the film print process, at the same high levels used in classic black and white films.

McG closed the panel with news that the next trailer will be attached to the new James Bond film “Quantum of Solace” on November 7th.