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New “Terminator” movie gets L.A. preview

January 15, 2009

PEOPLE-BALE/For the first three “Terminator” movies, nuclear destruction and an epic war between man and machines loomed in the future. “Terminator Salvation,” the next installment in the saga due out on May 22, takes everything up to the year 2018, and it features plenty of newfangled machinery.

In a preview on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, the movie’s director McG (given name Joseph McGinty Nichol) played for a small audience scenes from the upcoming film.

In one scene, a giant robot called a Harvester tore through a decrepit gas station, picking up humans and depositing them in a mobile jail cell. One of the plotlines in the film is that machines will use humans for ghastly research as they develop their latest Terminator machine.

The movie’s cast of fearsome machines has many more players. They include Hydrobots, machines that swim underwater and look like robotic barracudas. In one scene previewed for the audience, actor Christian Bale flies a helicopter close to a lake and gets ambushed by the Hydrobots, but manages to keep them at bay with a an assault rifle. Bale plays John Connor, leader of the embattled human resistance against the machines.

In his talk, McG talked about the role that Arnold Schwarzenegger could play in the film. Schwarzenegger starred in the first three “Terminator” movies, and he was talked about for a possible cameo in the latest film. McG offered few details, but said that he plans to show Schwarzenegger the movie soon. Schwarzenegger is now governor of California, a state embroiled in a budget meltdown.

McG also said he expects the film will be more than two hours long. And he said it will be released in IMAX format, although it will not be shot in that format.

And he talked about another movie coming out this year with deadly machines. The film “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is due out on June 26, from director Michael Bay. “It’s a healthy competition, so we’ll see who the last man standing is,” McG said.

(Writing and reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)

PHOTO: REUTERS/Toby Melville

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