Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Terminator, Night Are So-So Sequels

Plus, Dance Flick is rhythmically challenged.

by | May 21, 2009 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got deadly machines (Terminator Salvation, starring Christian Bale and Sam Worthington); historical hysterics (Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, starring Ben Stiller and Amy Adams); and dance fever (Dance Flick, starring Damon Wayans Jr. and Craig Wayans). What do the critics have to say?


Terminator Salvation

With Terminator Salvation, director McG has brought the venerable sci-fi/action series back to the screen, with plenty of chases, explosions, and yes, machines. But critics say he’s forgotten the key ingredient that made the originals so compelling (besides Arnold, of course) — the human factor. Christian Bale is John Connor, leading the human resistance against Skynet, which has conquered our dystopian planet with its armies of Terminators. The pundits say the action sequences are well handled, but the performances are middling, and the story inspires little emotional investment. Salvation is the worst-reviewed entry in the Terminator franchise. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Bale’s best-reviewed films, and Jen Gets Terminated, in which RT editor Jen Yamato provides her take on every film in the franchise.)


Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Night at the Museum was a big hit with audiences (if not with reviewers), so a sequel was inevitable. And the result, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, is bigger and better than the first, while still overdosing on comic mayhem. Ben Stiller returns as hapless night watchman Larry Daley, whose pals at the Museum of Natural History have been inadvertently shipped to the Smithsonian in Washington, where they’re threatened by such baddies as Al Capone and Napoleon; fortunately, Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) is on hand to help. The pundits say this Night is funnier and more madcap than its predecessor, but it’s essentially a series of loosely connected gags, with precious little discipline to make it work as a whole, and it squanders a veritable all-star team of comedic talent.


Dance Flick

Dance Flick is yet another spoof of contemporary cinematic tropes, a subgenre that has been critically ravaged in recent years. However, the critics find Dance Flick to be one of the better recent entries – which is hardly a glowing recommendation. Featuring a veritable army of Wayans in front of and behind the camera, Dance Flick aims to score laughs by mining the rich comic vein of such deathless classics as Save the Last Dance, Step Up, and High School Musical. And the pundits say the Wayans’ relentless energy is good for a few chuckles, but overall, Dance Flick is essentially a scattershot collection of gags that only occasionally hit their targets.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Burma VJ, which compiles footage from video journalists’ chronicles of living conditions in dictatorial Myanmar, is at 92 percent.
  • Kabei: Our Mother, a delicate drama about a woman’s efforts to keep her family together in the midst of World War II, is at 88 percent.
  • O’Horten, an absurdist Norwegian comedy about a retired train engineer, is at 84 percent.
  • The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story, a doc about the acrimonious relationship between the siblings who crafted some of Disney’s most memorable movie music, is at 83 percent.
  • Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight, a doc about the graphic designer who co-founded New York Magazine and created the iconic “I (heart) New York” logo, is at 83 percent.
  • Steven Soderbergh‘s The Girlfriend Experience, staring Sasha Grey as a high-end call girl who offers her clients a quasi-relationship, is at 72 percent.
  • Easy Virtue, starring Jessica Biel and Colin Firth in an adaptation of a Noel Coward play about the shakeup caused by a posh Brit’s marriage to an American racecar driver, is at 67 percent.

Tag Cloud

Superheroe Schedule vampires Thanksgiving Spring TV 2015 E! Ellie Kemper Creative Arts Emmys HBO VICE serial killer Shondaland sports political drama 2017 A&E Columbia Pictures technology Paramount Network police drama GLAAD Infographic Watching Series TIFF Set visit Summer medical drama FX CNN adventure Rocky zombie WGN Fantasy Toys boxoffice Trivia psycho Song of Ice and Fire TCA IFC Polls and Games period drama NYCC dc Paramount social media SXSW Apple TLC FOX Animation MSNBC AMC Opinion Esquire Tumblr supernatural OWN Countdown Reality President Cartoon Network Emmys Box Office 21st Century Fox crime drama National Geographic Horror talk show war Bravo Lifetime DC Comics Martial Arts Pop ratings politics ITV YA Grammys Awards 2016 Certified Fresh composers singing competition Comedy Fox News Marvel Super Bowl Interview BBC America discovery Action TV Land The CW TCA 2017 Biopics IFC Films Election Sundance Now festivals thriller DC streaming service SDCC TBS Fall TV Marathons Tomatazos Best and Worst First Look PBS based on movie Western TruTV Comedy Central diversity ESPN Rock cults TV CMT Ovation Star Trek Nominations mutant Nickelodeon crime Cosplay crime thriller Video Games travel GIFs Mindy Kaling CBS Nat Geo 45 comiccon Comic Book See It Skip It blaxploitation GoT ABC Family Showtime Spike VH1 zombies Premiere Dates Teen The Arrangement Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt El Rey 007 Star Wars what to watch binge Sneak Peek LGBTQ Universal Disney Channel Music justice league Trailer Freeform Reality Competition cops romance dceu docudrama Rom-Com APB Drama Valentine's Day Ghostbusters BET Musicals YouTube Premium Sundance Pirates FXX Extras Kids & Family crossover CW Seed Mystery cooking Mary Tyler Moore Acorn TV American Society of Cinematographers Calendar Musical Sci-Fi Sony Pictures Amazon historical drama Disney unscripted streaming Oscars sitcom Writers Guild of America Netflix Holidays PaleyFest History science fiction 20th Century Fox X-Men Red Carpet Dark Horse Comics Warner Bros. hist Hulu Logo aliens Lionsgate NBC cinemax Winter TV BBC RT History Masterpiece YouTube Red harry potter Walt Disney Pictures Crackle Starz robots Winners CBS All Access SundanceTV Food Network E3 24 frames golden globes Lucasfilm Superheroes USA finale TNT spy thriller Year in Review Syfy MTV cats DC Universe TCM Britbox biography Photos Christmas dramedy Character Guide Adult Swim Pixar USA Network Podcast transformers ABC Country DirecTV