Terminator Salvation Parent Guide
With only a minuscule message about the importance of choice and sanctity of life, family viewers will find that salvation is the last thing offered by this display of unrelenting violence.
Parent Movie Review
While gubernatorial duties seemed to have kept Arnold Schwarzenegger from reprising his role as the muscle-bound Terminator in this latest film, a digital version of the former actor does make it on to the screen. Yet, it’s not him who gets to utter those famous words, “I’ll be back.” To find that out, you’ll have to see the movie.
And, thanks to the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), seeing this flick will be a whole lot easier—especially for kids and teens. Terminator Salvation is the first in this ammunition-riddled series to earn a PG-13 rating in the United States, opening the ticket lines for younger audiences to get in on the action long before it releases on video store shelves.
But, don’t expect the violence to be tamed down in this post-apocalyptic thriller out of respect for the milder rating. Instead, filmmakers have avoided all but a dozen or so moderate profanities and curtailed almost any sexual activity in order to maintain the non-stop assault of bomb blasts, gunfire and other incendiary explosions. (The sexiest scenes we get are a woman removing her jacket and exposing some lingerie while dressing a shoulder injury and a couple of carefully shadowed naked males running around a war zone.)
Set in a dreary 2018, this fourth installment focuses on the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust known as Judgment Day. Except for a few pockets of survivors, most of mankind has been destroyed. John Conner (Christian Bale), now an adult with a wife (Bryce Dallas Howard), and a baby on the way, leads a smattering of human resistance fighters in a last ditch effort to stop the army of Terminators.
However, an attack on the robots’ Skynet headquarters is postponed when John discovers that Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), his future father, is a prisoner at the facility. (This is just one of the script’s time travel complications.) With the help of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a newcomer to the resistance group, John attempts to infiltrate the command center, find the teenaged version of his dad and free the scores of other human captives being held against their will in the belly of the building.
Unfortunately, the plan is compromised by the release of a secret hybrid machine that threatens to reorder the rules of conflict between man and machine.
Although the production certainly won’t shortchange ticket holders when it comes to action, the futility of the fight against an endless onslaught of undying opponents becomes evident in the first half hour of the film. With only a minuscule message about the importance of personal agency and the sanctity of life, the point of the movie may be to introduce audiences to a yet unborn generation of humans who will take on the Terminators and thus prolong the franchise. In the meantime, this generation of family viewers will find that salvation is the last thing offered by this 2-hour display of unrelenting violence.Starring Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin. Running time: 115 minutes. Theatrical release May 21, 2009. Updated July 21, 2016
Rating & Content Info
Why is Terminator Salvation rated PG-13? Terminator Salvation is rated PG-13 by the MPAA PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and language.
During this film’s opening moments, a man is prepped for an execution by being strapped down and having drugs injected into his veins. Later a character receives an injection prior to a medical procedure. Frequent scenes of war zones and corpses are seen. Human captives with bloody incisions are shown strapped to lab tables beside jars seemingly filled with blood. Other humans are shown in cages. A dead pilot is pushed from a helicopter. Later, the helicopter crashes after being hit by gunfire. Robots are repeatedly shot in the face or torso. Others are crushed by falling debris. Several are stabbed in the back of the neck. One robot is covered with molten metal. Another shoots his own foot off after being caught in a booby trap. Numerous depictions of burning vehicles, landscapes and buildings are shown. A man jumps into a storm-tossed ocean. Several humans point guns at each other. A man is shot near his crotch. Several male characters attack a woman. A violent fistfight ensues. Later the woman is hunted and shot at by other humans. Robots repeatedly capture or blow up holocaust survivors. Bloody water is seen after men are attacked in a river by underwater robots. A man is shown with severe burns and facial injuries. Another man is stabbed through the chest with a metal rod. One character rips a microchip from his heady leaving a bloody injury. Later, a character is shocked back to life with bare electrical wires. Two heavily shadowed naked male figures are seen. A woman reveals her lingerie while tending to her shoulder wound. Couples are shown kissing briefly. Several mild and moderate profanities are used in the script.
Page last updated July 21, 2016
Terminator Salvation Parents' Guide
In 2008, the Library of Congress chose The Terminator, the original film in this series, as one of the movies to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry, citing cultural, historical, or aesthetical significance as the basis for their choice. How do you feel about The Terminator receiving this distinction? What do you think this theatrical series says about our society? What cultural impact has it had?
John Connor’s disobedience to his commander’s orders works out for the best in this film, thanks to the control of the screenwriters. However, what complications may arise in real life when officers disregard the commands from their superiors? Are there times when soldiers should be able to follow their own moral conscience rather than their leaders? What impact might that have on the other members of their group?
How does the portrayal of non-human, one-dimensional antagonists in this film help justify the amount of violence used to stop the machines? Would this film have been more disturbing if John Connor and his resistance group were fighting other human beings instead of robots?
The most recent home video release of Terminator Salvation movie is December 1, 2009. Here are some details…Terminator Salvation
Release Date: 1 December 2009
Terminator Salvation on DVD, comes in either a Widescreen Theatrical Version or Full-screen Theatrical Version. Both presentations include the original PG-13 theatrical cut of the feature film, plus The Moto-Terminator (where Ducati bikes become Terminators).
Terminator Salvation on Blu-ray (2-Discs Theatrical & Director’s Cut Editions +Digital Copy) offers:
- PG-13 Theatrical version of Terminator Salvation (115 min.)
- R-Rated Director’s Cut version of Terminator Salvation (118 min.)
- Digital Copy of PG-13 Theatrical version of Terminator Salvation
- WB Maximum Movie Mode (commentary by Director McG)
- Featurettes: Re-Forging the Future, The Moto-Terminator and Focus Points
- BD-Live enabled: Media Center, My Commentary, Live Community Screening
- Resist or Be Terminated (a compilation of 10 viral videos from the alternate reality game).
- Terminator Salvation Official Movie Prequel Digital Comic (Issue #1).
- The first episode of Terminator Salvation Machinima series
Related home video titles:
Robots have long been a mainstay in Hollywood and they come in all shapes and sizes. Among these famous machines is the down-in-the-dumps Marvin in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the dynamic duo of R2-D2 and C-3PO in the Star Wars series, the shape-shifting aliens in Transformers and finally the almost human android in I, Robot.
This movie is the fourth installment of The Terminator franchise (we have only reviewed Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines).