At this morning’s Terminator Salvation panel featuring McG and the cast of the film, the director unveiled several minutes of footage from the upcoming film. McG mentioned that filming is only 50% complete and that no CGI had been added yet.

The footage opens with a descending overhead shot of John Connor (Christian Bale), barely emerging from the scene of a helicopter crash. “Are there any survivors?” a cackling radio voice asks? “One,” Bale says quietly, then again, shouting, for emphasis. He walks off into the distance, as we begin to hear Bale’s dialogue in the film.

The rest of the trailer takes place in various places in 2018, when Earth has become a bombed out, post-apocalyptic hellscape after the rise of Skynet. Amongst other scenes, we see a face to face confrontation between Connor and Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), in which Bale threateningly declares, “If I let you down, you’ll kill everyone in this room,” and then later, “You tried killing my mother. You killed my father. You will not kill me.”

A young Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) delivers the “Come with me if you want to live” line and we see several obscured shots of T-600s, hideous combinations of metal and rubbery flesh. A topless (but covered by her hands) Blair Williams, played by Moon Bloodgood, shares a poignant look with Wright. At one point in the trailer, Connor and Reese share a meaningful exchange. Various action shots, full of shooting, running, and massive explosions are concluded by a shot of Bale screaming at the close sight of a metal cyborg hand.

As the trailer ended and the title card faded onto the screen, the audience went wild. I personally was not expecting to be impressed, but the trailer actually left me wanting more(!). The complete lack of CGI and practical effects was, as always, refreshing in this day and age of Hollywood action blockbusters. More interestingly, McG is an extremely engaging panel presence, and worked very hard to assuage fanboy fears that this film would be a bastardization. I’m not completely sold on the film yet, but the footage was a great start and certainly the presence of Bale played no small part in that.

McG also announced that a Salvation trailer would be attached to this fall’s Quantum of Solace, so you can catch some more footage then and decide for yourselves what to think.

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