Terminator Salvation: Too much information?

Do you feel you’ve substantially already seen Terminator Salvation? And are you entirely to blame for ‘looking’, if you do…?

“All this…seems so oddly…familiar to me…”

We’re put in a difficult position here at Den Of Geek when a major film or TV show decides to drip-feed virtually it’s entire plot to the internet in order to drum up business for release. We’re usually assiduous about marking movie reviews that contain major plot-points with a ‘spoiler’ label, but what do we do when that  spoiling info comes about in the form of advance news via interviews, photos and leaks, nearly all of which are sanctioned by the producing studio?

From a certain point of view, one could argue that people who read sites about movie news can expect – at the very least – to be at risk of having their ‘fresh’ enjoyment of a new movie spoiled. Any movie site loves a scoop that may slip out in the course of an interview (though most are intentional). And any movie site will be reluctant to label that article ‘Some secret news about Terminator…’. No, sir, it will be CHRISTIAN BALE REVEALED AS SPACE-BANANA, click here for more

(If you want subtle, check out the cross-hatching in a Renoir preliminary sketch.)

We scour the world for the slightest nugget of news about a project that might interest us, no matter how early in the production process. In the case of certain movie projects, a mere cup of coffee can become newsworthy.

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So what is it with us – do we want to know every single last detail about a film before we spring for the ticket? Oddly enough, yes, but only for those films that don’t most interest us personally, as consumers. The editors at this site (and, I’ll bet, at others) protect each other on request from being exposed to spoilers for films and shows that they really want to enjoy in the cinema or at transmission.

I’ve personally posted an inordinate amount of our reviews of 24, because Simon Brew and Gaye Birch – not yet caught up on the latest episode – love the show, while I think it sucks. Former DoG editor Sarah Dobbs and I protected Simon from spoilers for The Dark Knight last summer, whilst I never want to know a damn thing about the latest series of Dexter while it’s still running.

Yet together, we combine our efforts to spoil everything for you, because we don’t know exactly which shows/movies you want all the skinny on and which make you go LA LA LA whenever you smell a spoiler- and yet we need to give our article listings meaningful descriptions.

I haven’t always followed ‘the loop’ – the first I knew that someone had made a sequel to Alien was a feature in London’s Time Out magazine, and within 24 hours I was enjoying James Cameron’s white-knuckle ride at the Empire Leicester Square. Obviously that kind of thing happens less to me now, and I miss it a little bit.

So I did understand the ire of a reader such as Gudge, who posted a complaining comment on the news that Arnie’s T800 fights John Connor in Terminator Salvation yesterday. I even understand the several complaints posted whenever we have put up significant casting news and rumours on forthcoming episodes of Doctor Who – in a certain sense, the casting of a particular actor can indeed prove a bit of a spoiler as regards that show, particularly if the news is of a former Who actor making a return.

Not only do I understand, but to a certain extent I am a victim of spoilers myself: the nearer we get to the release of Terminator Salvation, the more I notice how much it resembles my beloved Gears Of War, and my former meh-ness dissolves into some genuine anticipation.

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But I did not need or want to know the following about Terminator Salvation without a bucket of popcorn to hand:

SPOILER AHEAD – THOUGH IF YOU HAVE SEEN VIRTUALLY ANY TRAILER FOR SALVATION, YOU’LL ALREADY KNOW THIS.

OKAY NOW SCROLL DOWN A BIT:

Sam Worthington is a cyborg. What is a scene – and a revelation – that powerful doing in the trailers and publciity material for Salvation?

What happened to the days when a major plot turn of that nature was something that would only pollute your ears when some loathsome teenager decided it’d be funny to ‘buzz’ the queue for the film he’s just seen, broadcasting the news that Vader is Luke’s father (etc)?.

Presumably the narrative of Terminator Salvation doesn’t disclose this information about Worthington’s character until that very emotional ‘unveiling’ scene (disclosed in most of the trailers); if it did, the way the scene is played would be pretty pointless.

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The rationale from the studio PRs seems to be that ‘this is the kind of thing you can expect in this movie’. But I kind of doubt that Salvation has anything else quite that emotionally powerful to serve up. We’ve all seen trailers that are essentially composed of the entire movie being advertised, and thus we’re all a little cynical that there might be ‘yet more’.

Seems to me that studios – and most particularly Warner Brothers – are willing to hand us all the tent-poles of a movie’s plot and expect that we will still be willing to show up and have some canvas draped on it. Warners have no reason to believe otherwise, since their extensive pre-release campaign for The Dark Knight unveiled huge swathes of the movie, which nonetheless went on to conquer the world in a storm of ticket sales.

It’s actually become surprising for me to now see Christian Bale in anything longer than a five-minute excerpt.

Cyborg Worthington was revealed to the world through the normal flurry of promo materials, so there wasn’t anything we could have done to batten down that turn of events in the movie. In the case of Nude CG-Arnie fighting Christian Bale, it would have been hard to distil that nugget of news into a meaningful headline without substantial disclosure.

Much of the news that comes about forthcoming movies arrives in the form of rumours and Chinese whispers, and at least these are unsubstantiated enough (and frequently plain wrong) that you can’t be sure you’ve had a plot-point spoiled. Many of us have grumpily arrived at the cinema only to find that a major spoiler was a crock of shit, and – oddly enough – this kind of ‘disinformation’ can add a lot of value to a film!

You’re probably reading this site because as a child you ended up opening your first Christmas presents at 2.30am on Christmas morning, because nobody was going to get any peace (or any sleep) until you did. We at Den Of Geek couldn’t possibly have waited that long.

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It’s just that sometimes I wish the presents were better hidden, even from me. And since James Cameron was the last person to really spring the goods on me back in 1986 with Aliens, I’m hoping he’ll continue to keep his mouth shut about Avatar