I thought it was... okay. Felt like an average summer blockbuster, which is exactly what all the reviews prepared me for. McG is definitely no James Cameron, as if we needed further evidence.
The second half is quite a bit of an improvement over the first half, which felt very limp. A lot of that's the fault of the editing, which is pretty choppy and not... good. I mean, maybe this is nostalgia talking, but you look at Cameron's Terminator, Aliens, T2... (not gonna talk about Titanic cause I don't remember it much) and his storytelling is very natural, it all just flows from one scene to another. The edits are smooth and logically guide you through the plot.
The editing in this film felt like the studio was mandating something close to 2 hours or something. Lots of scenes that just end and you're immediately jerked into another.
And I just remembered that there's this great line Kate Connor gives in some of the trailers, something close to "If you saved us all in another future, you can save us in this one." I always really loved that line, it felt poetic and dramatic and was delivered well. But uh... I don't think it's in the film at all. Must've gotten cut, along with a lot of other things. She didn't say much of anything, I don't think. And she was pregnant, but they don't mention that at all.
And oh yea, it definitely feels like a PG-13 film. One scene in particular has this guy trying to crawl out of a giant pen, where a T-600 immediately guns him down with a giant arm-mounted gatling gun. Except we don't see him get shot at all, it's a complete cutaway. We see a shot of the T-600 tracking him, hear some gunshots, and see him slumping and falling. It's just pathetic.
The T-600s in this film must've gone to the stormtrooper school of shooting, because it's almost comical how lousy they are. Instead of squads of stormtroopers missing with sporadic firing though, you've just got one T-600 walking menacingly while firing his huge gatling, completely spraying everything but the side of the barn, it seems. It's a nitpick I suppose, but you'd think SkyNET would arm them all with smaller guns if their gatlings meant their aiming accuracy effectively went to nil.
Oh, and Danny Elfman apparently just took the gig for a paycheck. Because his score is terrible. At some random points, you'll hear the classic Terminator score, but it's much too little. Elfman's own work is completely forgettable. I was hoping they were going to just play the classic Terminator score for the credits, but no dice.
Acting's pretty much just competent. The standout's probably young Kyle Reese, who also played Chekov in Star Trek. While his Chekov wasn't to my liking, here he's channeling some serious Michael Biehn, and it was very impressive.
Okay, let's talk visuals... the CGI in two scenes were pretty awful. First one's Marcus falling from the Transport and skipping across the river. Lots of laughter from my audience, because the CGI of his body skipping was just so fake looking and ridiculous. And of course, the second one's my Governator and yours, Arnold. Uh... it was kinda maybe sorta convincing, if you squinted your eyes a lot? Maybe if you'd been crying and your vision was all blurry from the tears? I dunno... I suppose it's the best we can do with state of the art CGI these days. But it still looked very unconvincing. And of course, you've gotta wonder why SkyNET just stuck the T-800 in that cell without a gun to shoot Connor. That would've saved a lot of chasing and punching and clawing, right? Meh... the script may have been looked at by Jonah Nolan at some point in time, but it doesn't seem like a Nolan script. Not by a long shot.
So yea, right now... it's way below the brilliance of T1 and T2. Not sure about T3, it's been a while since I've watched it. Better then or equal to, I suppose? Somewhere in there.