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on 30 July 2017
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on 9 January 2010
Produced by the team of Warner Bros, The Halcyon Company, and with the supervision of both McG(who directed the movie) and cohorts such as Mic Rogers(Director Universal Soldier 2), this collection of six short 15 minute animated chapters is one of many related Terminator Salvation spin-off products to be cast as a `prequel' story to the events of that picture. We have already had two pulp paperbacks and a graphic novel, now we have the Salvation DVD itself and this little curio - The Machinima Series. Machinima.com produce the animation for numerous computer games' in-game movie segments as well as the game play movement itself. Previously available on the internet around the time of the movie, this 6-part animated story has audaciously bagged itself a DVD release. It is surprising that this was granted considering the animation is not really up to the standard of what you would expect, even for a straight-to-DVD production. That this DVD has received little advance word or publicity is perhaps acknowledgement by it's distributors that they are aware of this and have merely put it together as an added extra (and revenue raiser) for the Terminator fans. One element in the production's favour however is the presence of Moon Bloodgood again portraying her character of Blair Williams, though only in vocal form this time.

The story follows her character as she narrates her own story of existing amongst the ruins of post-judgement day earth and fighting Skynet and it's Terminators. She appears to be very much a Lone-Wolf, fighting on her own and not bowing down to any bureaucratic command. Her mission after inexplicably having to bail out of her trusty Thunderbolt II (nicknamed Warthog) aircraft is to locate and destroy a target known only as `The Ghost', a source that appears to have been responsible for a series of mechanical and electrical failures in a particular area of the city. After wasting a hearty number of Skynet's various drones; Moto-Terminators, Aerostats, T-600's, Hunter-Killers and bizarre spider-like contraptions, Williams finds herself rescued at the last moment by the deployment of a killer signal that appears to interrupt the cognitive systems of AI units long enough for them to be destroyed or, at least, long enough for a resistance fighter to make their escape. Realising that the signal was responsible for her aircraft's crash, and is in fact man-made - That the `The Ghost' is in fact a person, both needing to be extracted and taken to central command, Blair ignores orders to `terminate' him and drags him through the post-apocalyptic ruins to the extraction point. The idea of the `killer' signal of course will become the major plot point of the Salvation movie when it becomes entrusted to the care of John Connor.

As a fan of the Terminator series I was very keen to order this and add it to my collection. To slot it on the shelf next to the other DVDs'. For those of you who are not Terminator fans - though the story and vocal talent are of good quality - you may very likely find this rather amateurish due to the basic animation on show. Though you have relentless HK's hovering through spooky misty cityscape landscape engines and some cool backdrops, coupled with consistent action - the limits of this budget animation gives little reaction in terms of emotion. Indeed you may spend some of the time distracted by the zombie eyes of the principle characters. But this does explain the low key nature of this release (I had never heard of it until I viewed it on Amazon). Any higher a profile and any criticism may have seen it laughed off the shelves. This series would have benefitted greatly from a little emphasis on motion capture. But that is not really the point. All this is a minor concern to those who would buy the DVD: The Terminator fan. We are, let's face it, the only ones who are likely to purchase this anyway. For us the fan, its great to spend as much time as we can in this world. There are 2 documentaries on the Disc. One focussing on the production, and one looking at the character of Blair Williams. The contribution of the gorgeous Moon Bloodgood is most welcome here!
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on 14 March 2010
Learning more about Blair Williams and her personal battle with Skynet before she hooked up with John Connor in Terminator: Salvation was always going to be interestng, but the main point of interest here is the "Ghost" who has discovered a way of disrupting Skynets Command and Control functions-at the price of disrupting Resistance communications in the process. It's Blair's Mission to track down and deal with the "Ghost" by whatever means necessary here, but when she discovers that the "Ghost" is a human being she has a decision to make...

If you've played the "Terminator: Salvation" computer game you'll recognise the scenery and the graphics in this, but I rather enjoyed the game so that's not a problem for me. There are also treats, if you keep your eyes open, when Blair encounters-unknowingly-characters who later appear in both the game and the film. The Plot is solid enough, as is the reason Blair eventually ends up with Connor, but longer would have been better, so that we could have gotten more of a feel for Blair as a character in this Post-Apocalyptic world. Maybe in a sequel?

Regardless, I thought that Blair Williams was one of the most interesting new characters in Salvation and this mini-series bears that out. If you enjoy the Terminator series you should enjoy this. Anyone else?
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on 4 December 2009
I am a big fan of the Terminator universe, for good or bad. I have been a fan since the first time I seen Terminator 2 in the cinema as a young teenager. I have all the films on both DVD and Blu-ray including both The Sarah Connor Chronicles seasons, all the soundtracks, books and comics, plus figures and so much more. I'm very much like a T-600 in that way, I seek out everything and anything Terminator. So you can imagine my joy when by accident I came across this DVD (Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series), I wasted not a minute more and ordered it here on Amazon.

"But is this DVD any good or adds anything new to the film, all you Terminator fans out there may ask?"

"And after viewing this DVD I can say from my point of view, yes on both accounts!"

A little about the story. The Machinima Series, is set two years before the advents of Terminator Salvation. The year is 2016, the Resistance fighter Blair Williams (Voiced by the beautiful Moon Bloodgood) embarks on a deadly mission into the city overrun by Skynet and it's killer Terminators, to seek out and terminate the threat that is weakening the Resistance's defenses. But soon she finds out that the threat to the Resistance may not only be from the machines, but from one of their own. This is the untold story of how the Resistance was made aware, of the signal of hope from Terminator Salvation.

I really enjoyed this series, and I feel it makes a very suitable companion piece to Terminator Salvation. One of the reasons why I enjoyed this series so much, is because it's Blair Williams time to shine as the whole series is one of her back stories. I felt that the character of Blair Williams didn't have enough screen time in the film, but this story does her justice. Moon Bloodgood's voice over work is excellent, again she brings a lot of depth and humanity to the character of Blair Williams. The other voice over cast also do a first rate job too!

The series is made up of six episodes. The series is done in CGI, using the Terminator Salvation video game engine and graphics, so the character models and environments can look a bit ugly at times, but they get the job done and the overall effect gives the series a unique identity. The series also introduces us to some new Terminators that didn't make it into the film and the series is also produced by the film's director McG.

The extras on the disc are two informative featurettes on how the series was made, directed and put together.

So, if your thinking of buying this DVD, then please do! Because it's a great chapter in the Terminator universe!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 December 2011
And I'm not a gamer, hence the 2 stars. The fact that it is divided into pointless episodes is a huge pain. No matter how it might have originated or been originally 'broadcast', the deeply annoying intros and outros could easily have been edited out. Oh, except it would then have been even shorter than it's rather lame 74 minutes. Being a fan of all the proper Terminator movies, and of traditional animation and anime, I found this a big let-down.

Machinima apparently means something like machine-generated cinema. That should be "cinema" in very small text: essentially it's game graphics turned into a story. No matter how excited the guys in the DVD Extras on the disc may be, that's all it is. No matter how great an internet phenomenon game generated mini-films might be - that's all we have here - unfortunately.

This is not a film, it is a collection of very short (12 minute) episodes in very substandard graphics. The makers sing the praises of being able to create scenes in real time using real time game engines. Read 'cheap' for that. No wonder the networks are interested. If it hadn't been so cheaply thrown together and someone had actually spent a few minutes touching up, the product would have been much better. For example, character's faces with white gaps where the facial elements aren't joined properly; characters 'walking on air' instead of on the ground when ascending or descending inclines; repeated scenes (you thought we wouldn't notice?) and several weird gamers' body movements (the snap 90 degree full body turn); and way too many extreme close-ups (to save on animating the full figure). Some of the shoot-outs are in such close-up that you can't actually see who is firing at what. Oh, and when it comes to shooting, how come a robot with a targeting program can't hit an exposed human and yet Blair Williams can fire backwards over her shoulder so she can't even see what she's aiming at and yet still take out the robot attacker?

Are there any good bits or redeeming features. To the extent that they exist in the game, the post-apocalyptic landscapes are interesting, varied and well-executed; the gun-fire and explosion audio is good; and there is actually a coherent story-line.

Obvious from the 'Making Of' this was immense fun for the guys who threw it together (the way they are grinning all the time and wiggling game-controller joysticks, instead of concentrating in a 'this is actually seriously hard work' kind of way) rather tells the tale. You'll only be watching this once, so if it's for sale at the £5.75 I paid (Dec 2011), it's very poor value, especially as the Terminator Salvation film itself costs only £3.49!
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on 21 May 2011
The Machinima Series of Terminator Salvation acts as a prequel to the movie by the same name, focusing uniquely on the character Blaire Williams.
As such, the series is not really all that closely tied to the movie. In fact some may question how well it fits within official continuity (the T-600s first showed up so shortly before the movie?). Especially when working in the other two prequels to Terminator Salvation, comic book and novel, the latter of which also featuring Blaire and possibly happening in the very same time span.
Still, even presuming the presence of some small issues with continuity, it's nothing that can't be easily overlooked (I have not, however, played the game, so I don't know how it relates to that).

In and of itself, the series is certainly enjoyable provided that you know what you are walking into. If you expect something on the level of a nationally aired TV-Show, you are going to be sorely disappointed.
What we have here, is a series of long cutscenes made with a videogame engine and further polished.
Predictably (but not inevitably) facial expressions are often overlooked, especially in the first few episodes, and characters will walk around with the same stone cold expression whether they are talking or fighting. However the two leads eventually get better as (I imagine) the authors of the series improved their skills (not so much secondary characters though).

Apart from this, the series has but one weakness: it's short. Both in the length of each single episode and in terms of their total number.
Consequently you should not expect, storyline-wise, anything as complex as a TV series' season. But really, this isn't about telling a grand story that dramatically changes the situation of the world of Terminator. Rather it is a character study and this it performs suitably.

The battles and chase scenes are what I enjoyed best out of this. I would dare say they are, for the most part, visually very well made (and the music does its work just as well).

So the bottom line is, if you'd like to see more of Blaire as she fights earlier models of the killer machines seen in the feature film, you may want to give this a go. Just be mindful not to expect anything more than a personal journey.
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on 26 August 2012
Seeing as Machinima began as a very underground and niche medium, it feels strange that it becomes commercialised in the way the Terminator Salvation series has. It serves as a Milestone in effect, as this is the first professionally released Machinima to be funded by a massive company (Roosterteeth stumbled into it, the Terminator series is the first Machinima to consciously know what they were doing). As a Machinima it is enjoyable, but the creators have made too much of an effort to make it look like a film than a Machinima (there is a subtle difference, I spent a year writing a dissertation on it so I would know!). Machinima tries to make Games film, obviously. Where Terminator and a series like Red Vs Blue differ though, is in their self awareness that it's a game engine they're using to film the narrative. Looking at the cinematography in Red Vs Blue, it's obvious that it's self aware of what it actually is, whereas Terminator's production values are attempting to emulate film too closely. Machinima follows film in the notion that actors, a camera, and effective editing are important, but there is a very particular and subtle style to creating Machinima that this series fails to acknowledge. It therefore becomes a little boring to watch in places, as it takes itself too seriously as a piece of visual work, and thus loses its effect and also removes the charm of Machinima from itself. Worth a watch simply because there isn't much Machinima released on DVD yet.
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on 21 January 2010
I enjoyed this movie, almost on principle as I'm a big Terminator fan. But then again, unlike most people I know, I thought T3 and Terminator Salvation were great, and tend to watch these in preference to T1 and T2. T2 in particular tends to depress me, whereas T3 makes me laugh. Warning: watching Terminator Salvation, The Machinima Series is like watching a video game, and so lacks the attention to detail of its big budget siblings. This appears to be by design. As a concept animation, it should have been cheaper to purchase than it was and/or should have provided more insight into the whole Skynet universe. It didn't really, but perhaps pretended to by unnecessarily breaking itself up into many chapters. Ultimately, it only served as a prequel to the sub plot idea in the main Salvation movie of beating the machines by interfering with the communication signals they use to function. I hope they make more, but make them available for download as simple DivX files at minimal cost.
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on 20 October 2016
I gave this a go, but I am sorry, I couldn't endure it. It wasn't the storyline, it wasn't the voice acting, I just couldn't endure the animation. I don't know what is so cutting edge about it, to me it came off as akin to watching a Saturday morning mid nineties cartoon, or else one long cut-scene on on your early 21st century PlayStation. I also found myself feeling nauseous, and I had to turn it off.
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on 12 January 2010
Hi. Its been quite a while since I was last motivated to write a product review but this one certainly motivates what follows. Lets take it in bits starting from the outside - well the plastic box the DVD comes in is great, the DVD cover is excellent, the title (Terminator Salvation - The Machinima Series) is first rate, the story is also excellent, but the quality of the animation quite frankly SUCKS BIG STYLE. I have been an anime fans for years, mainly Japanese with a small amount of US. I have seen video game anime footage which is far, far better than the quality found on this DVD and had I known how poor the anime was going to be I would NEVER have paid the asking price for this DVD. It may JUST(?) be worth half of what the asking price is for this DVD but even that's pushing it. With regard to the extras found on the DVD I'll give them a 50/50 rating but only because it features some live action footage. This story had such great promise but any anime is only as good as the anime quality and this sadly does not make the grade in my opinion by a long mark. It shouild be withdrawn and re-done and then re-issued.

For those looking for a good Japanese anime movie along the same lines as this one (but with far superior anime quality I recommend the new Appleseed movie.
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