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

PaleyFest disaster cancelled Shondaland sequel Drama E! teaser The Walt Disney Company blockbusters 2020 Calendar Family Rom-Com Shudder Starz Teen die hard comic book movies talk show Character Guide cancelled television dogs worst TLC high school social media Winter TV foreign First Reviews pirates of the caribbean true crime Opinion TruTV Trailer Cartoon Network rt labs hist Amazon Prime docudrama Nat Geo independent Television Academy FX on Hulu supernatural Spring TV streaming movies crime all-time Dark Horse Comics Action Premiere Dates joker crossover CW Seed Star Wars live action Winners Extras slashers FX History Hallmark comics mutant Marvel Studios Disney+ Disney Plus aapi versus Turner Heroines cars theme song psychological thriller boxing zombie Music Trophy Talk diversity 99% Hear Us Out mob game show green book TCM NBC HBO Max stoner Tags: Comedy BAFTA NYCC young adult Apple TV Plus Rocketman movie Universal Pictures YouTube legend Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Netflix Masterpiece black comedy The CW Paramount Network dceu SXSW book adaptation Super Bowl TBS Disney Fantasy kong Comic Book FXX marvel comics anthology game of thrones BET Pacific Islander Women's History Month TV Land Holidays television ITV Best and Worst USA kaiju adaptation The Purge Year in Review cancelled TV shows screenings Funimation BBC One genre Country TV dexter VH1 historical drama Hollywood Foreign Press Association E3 fresh know your critic zero dark thirty HBO Go cancelled TV series free movies space elevated horror comic Tumblr blockbuster HBO binge art house name the review french Amazon Studios Comic-Con@Home 2021 spain Mudbound Set visit YouTube Premium reboot rotten streaming Star Trek laika 007 SundanceTV Pride Month The Arrangement TNT action-comedy telelvision Lionsgate classics rt labs critics edition superhero screen actors guild concert new star wars movies PlayStation 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards The Witch festivals twilight ABC Signature stand-up comedy Countdown Classic Film Showtime dark children's TV mission: impossible Western rt archives Nickelodeon CNN IMDb TV Turner Classic Movies adventure Fall TV DC streaming service Certified Fresh biopic Syfy Grammys Wes Anderson latino spanish Watching Series Marvel Summer Martial Arts Vudu transformers critics royal family Hallmark Christmas movies FOX medical drama Rocky 2018 Anna Paquin Box Office canceled President sopranos new zealand Amazon Prime Video Food Network ghosts Emmy Nominations 72 Emmy Awards IFC Films OWN Superheroes animated MSNBC richard e. Grant cats Trivia directors ABC DGA ABC Family Podcast deadpool sequels serial killer Lifetime Discovery Channel Walt Disney Pictures target Tubi godzilla romance Rock romantic comedy TIFF facebook New York Comic Con rotten movies we love Warner Bros. Pirates Writers Guild of America Exclusive Video breaking bad Epix Red Carpet scary halloween Reality Competition APB australia San Diego Comic-Con PBS Emmys Travel Channel Quiz Horror Hulu strong female leads a nightmare on elm street A24 politics VOD OneApp robots ESPN cinemax critic resources halloween tv IFC Universal new york Tomatazos obituary dreamworks Academy Awards ViacomCBS USA Network The Academy Sundance saw Oscars indie YouTube Red biography X-Men scorecard video on demand indiana jones Elton John Comedy Central Mindy Kaling crime drama TV movies Ellie Kemper See It Skip It Cannes jamie lee curtis Brie Larson Film olympics suspense cops Fargo italian dramedy MTV Bravo Musicals Logo sports 2015 Valentine's Day SDCC Spectrum Originals technology hollywood Mary Tyler Moore Sneak Peek YA emmy awards Schedule Peacock 2017 Amazon nature football BBC Arrowverse Animation tv talk WarnerMedia remakes prank Paramount AMC Pet Sematary Avengers finale Endgame based on movie TV One discovery Disney Plus comiccon political drama spanish language spinoff Sci-Fi Esquire WGN psycho fast and furious Polls and Games DC Universe witnail stop motion Freeform Toys franchise war dragons GIFs 79th Golden Globes Awards ratings Kids & Family scene in color Ghostbusters 73rd Emmy Awards chucky 24 frames BBC America zombies international what to watch Awards Tour Acorn TV Spike Film Festival hidden camera best aliens cooking Columbia Pictures Baby Yoda razzies Song of Ice and Fire Pop award winner comic books Thanksgiving child's play festival Fox News Musical Photos thriller king arthur Britbox 2019 Black Mirror south america women natural history 1990s Stephen King sag awards CBS All Access venice docuseries Holiday batman police drama Paramount Plus composers asian-american series films TCA 2017 vs. justice league japan Captain marvel Legendary DirecTV Television Critics Association science fiction cartoon kids First Look hispanic American Society of Cinematographers news book Pixar AMC Plus 2016 Tarantino Black History Month toy story crime thriller Superheroe reviews travel TCA Winter 2020 Lucasfilm Image Comics Binge Guide archives vampires Fox Searchlight Marathons gangster feel good DC Comics TCA Awards scary movies Christmas Reality Lifetime Christmas movies casting mockumentary blaxploitation Cosplay RT21 anime golden globes singing competition Video Games TV renewals dc VICE wonder woman live event RT History lord of the rings 21st Century Fox Awards spider-man Adult Swim TCA Interview spy thriller japanese worst movies miniseries The Walking Dead trophy Tokyo Olympics black Infographic cults 90s Pop TV Marvel Television satire sitcom Sundance TV adenture debate Sundance Now Election 71st Emmy Awards toronto revenge Apple christmas movies Apple TV+ CMT boxoffice GLAAD GoT leaderboard LGBT doctor who documentaries NBA king kong spider-verse posters unscripted 4/20 A&E hispanic heritage month Chilling Adventures of Sabrina CBS mcc 2021 renewed TV shows ID 45 canceled TV shows MCU Mary Poppins Returns slasher HFPA video Comedy 93rd Oscars Biopics Creative Arts Emmys Disney Channel Ovation Prime Video Mystery comedies Instagram Live 20th Century Fox harry potter Disney streaming service Neflix National Geographic basketball documentary Crackle El Rey BET Awards Mary poppins james bond rom-coms Chernobyl period drama parents comic book movie heist movie marvel cinematic universe Crunchyroll movies popular superman Netflix Christmas movies Broadway nbcuniversal Sony Pictures monster movies jurassic park quibi Alien criterion Comics on TV golden globe awards universal monsters nfl Nominations werewolf trailers LGBTQ