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

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