Terminator Genisys review
2015 is the summer of the robot! We’ve had Ex Machina, Tomorrowland, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron which all had some from of robotics playing a huge part of the story. The inclusion of these machines are probably the easiest way to get a mainstream audience interested in science fiction without having to make the story way too fused with the genre. Not to mention that when they can take robots and cross them into other genres, then it shows that Hollywood studios are at least trying to do something different. Once such franchise is The Terminator series.
In 1984, James Cameron created The Terminator, which took elements of action, thriller and even a little horror to create a compelling story about a machine from the future going after a woman that would later become the mother of John Conner, savior of the future. A lot of this had to do with the casting of then unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger as the intimidating terminator. In 1991, Cameron returned to the series with Terminator 2: Judgment Day; it was bigger, more compelling and all around one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time. But once Cameron left, the other movies have failed to reach the same heights and have threatened to terminate the franchise. Terminator Genisys is both a sequel to the first two and a reboot.
In 2029, John Conner (played by Jason Clarke) is the leader of the resistance where he and Kyle Reese (played by Jai Courtney) are leading an attack on Skynet against the machines. They make it into the core, but are too late from stopping Skynet from sending a T-800 back in time to kill Sarah Conner (the same from the first movie). Conner decides to send Kyle back to save Sarah, but moments before he’s sent back, Kyle witnesses a machine attacking Conner.
Now in 1984, Kyle finds a different Sarah Conner (played by Emilia Clarke) then he was told to expect; instead of an innocent waitress, he finds a trained warrior whose already been made aware of judgment day and the machines. The timeline was alerted when another T-800 (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) was sent to protect her as a child. The reveal that they’ve already taken care of the bad terminator and they will continue to stop Skynet. Through newly acquired memories from the new timeline, Kyle reveals that judgment day is now in 2017. Sarah and Kyle are sent there by another time machine where they hope to work with an aged terminator to prevent judgment day from happening.
Terminator Genisys is certainly an ambitious story, attempting to wipe away the slate clean while keeping it’s roots from the earlier movies. The final effect leads to a movie that had my head spinning, trying to figure out the new timeline. It’s not the most confusing, but it seems like that they story doesn’t care about time paradoxes and conflictions.
As far as the acting is concerned, it’s descent. I finally found a movie that Jai Courtney’s tolerable in, even though he doesn’t look like the original actor. Emilia Clarke makes for a good Sarah Conner, being both as tough as Linda Hamilton was in the second movie. Schwarzenegger is always fun to see as the stone face robot. It’s not surprising, but it’s fun.
What is lacking is the action and emotional story. I’m not seeing much of an evolution of character as they are more or less, running from one location to another to stop Skynet, which is an unfortunate retread of the second movie. The action itself is standard blockbuster action, nothing bad, but nowhere near the level that James Cameron brought before.
I’ll give this three T-800s out of five. If you look at Terminator Genisys on it’s own, it’s more or less likely something you’d watch on a rainy Saturday afternoon at the most. But as a part of the once grand franchise, perhaps we should terminate this before it’s too late.