Terminator Genisys – 3 out of 5
In a world where knee-jerk reactions of hatred and outrage are things that are considered normal behavior (but only for things like movies, reboots and casting non-white actors to play comic book characters that are usually depicted as Hitler’s wet dream—if you dare get pissed about things like sexism, racism or rape culture, you’re then assaulted by the people bitching about female Ghostbusters and guys who really hate women having opinions on video games and are told that you are just whiners and offended by everything), anyway, everyone was quick to start throwing hate at the new installment to the Terminator franchise when it was announced it was going to happen.. Meanwhile, I watched the trailer and said, “Sure, I’ll watch it.” I keep forgetting that I’m supposed to just instantly hate everything. I’ll guess I’ll never truly belong on the internet because I tend to reserve extreme opinions until I actually witness the product. Anyway, after days of judgment, machines doing their rising thing and some salvation given to us by Batman’s gravel voice, Arnie is back in Terminator
|So...the machines just couldn't invent a self-driving truck? Google did it.|
|The endless time loop war!|
In 2029, the savior of the human race John “When will this fucking machine war end” Connor (Jason Clarke) launches his major assault in the attempt to stop Skynet from ruling the planet. Like we’ve seen, the machines sent back a T-800 series model to kill Sarah Conner in the past in order to stop the Resistance from being created since Sarah is John’s mother. In an effort to protect both his mommy and his creation, John sends his father; Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time with the mission to stop the T-800 and to protect Sarah…and also to protect his privates because they have to do baby-making things. However, things take quite a turn compared to the last time we saw Kyle’s journey through time and he witnesses a new machine attack John. Now, somehow, the timeline has changed and Kyle’s mission isn’t what it was going to be. He arrives and finds Sarah (Emilia Clarke) is already a badass and trying to stop Skynet from going live and nuking the world. Now, together, Sarah and Kyle—alongside a T-800 that was send back to protect her when she was a child and she now lovingly refers to as Pops (Arnold Schwarzenegger)—use a cobbled together time machine to transport themselves to 2017 in order to stop Skynet—which is disguising itself as a worldwide operating system called “Genisys.” The mission seems straightforward enough until they run into John and learn he is no longer the hero he once was destined to be.
|Holy shit! That is cool.|
I won’t say I walked into this one with high hopes. The first film is awesome and created something completely unheard of in the world of sci-fi when it came out and the sequel was one of those few films that was, in my opinion, actually better than its predecessor and instantly became a classic action film that still holds up today. The third film wasn’t the best thing I’ve seen, in my opinion, but there were some cool parts to it and, despite my really hoping for something dark, gritty and exciting with Salvation, I found the fourth one to be über-disappointing. So, naturally, I wasn’t foaming at the mouth for Genisys…buuuut, I will honestly say that seeing the first trailer had me interested at the idea of a new alternate timeline, some sweet looking action, a return of Arnold in his prime form and a plot twist that realistically shouldn’t have been in the trailer but really showed how this film can be different from the others and a possible game-changer.
|The shot so cool, they have to put it in every freaking movie!|
There’s a lot of flaws holding this addition to the franchise down and keeping it from being on the same level and becoming an instant classic like the first two films but the film does have enough working for it that it’s fairly decent. The film’s opening feels like it is right out of the 2nd film and manages to craft the same tone—something completely unseen in Salvation…a film that felt like all the Terminator elements were added on later in order to shoe-horn it into the franchise. The computer effects are fantastically good and absolutely breathtaking at points. The action has some really cool fight scenes between the machines and some killer big action pieces that are amazingly exciting and unique. And, finally, the new time travel components may work against the film by making the timelines in this franchise very convoluted but it also sets this film apart from the rest of the films and doesn’t feel like just another “let’s send another, different robot back in time to kill John” story.
|Way, way, way better than CG Auhnold in Salvation.|
|Seriously, great CG but they can't get decent makeup |
effects? That looks like it was done from an off-the-shelf
makeup set from a Halloween Express.
Additionally, many members of the film’s cast really helped this film flow and be more entertaining than I thought it was going to end up. Jason Clarke is pretty cool as John Connor—even though this is once again a new actor playing John and they are once again playing the character completely different than everyone else did (also, those facial scars they added to him looked super fake and were very distracting). J.K. Simmons is here and playing a very fun character who recognizes Sarah and Kyle in 2017 from when he was a young officer being saved by Kyle when he traveled back to the 80s. Emilia Clarke does a great job of filling Linda Hamilton’s boots as Sarah Connor and Arnold, as usual in this franchise, steals the show as the now older T-800 model Pops.
|J.K. Simmons is awesome in everything he does. Please, please, please, PLEASE have|
him come back as J. Jonah in the MCU.
|She does kinda look like Hamilton, I'll say that.|
However, for all the good the film has, it still has a lot of flaws that hurt it and really stopped it from feeling like an adequate addition and something that belongs in the same league as the first and T2. For example, the movie overdoes the nods and winks to the previous films and it quickly stops feeling like homages to what came before it and fun bits of nostalgia and quickly just feels like this franchise is just endlessly repeating itself and actively going against trying to pave new ground. Some of the action scenes that are more bullets flying-based feel mediocre and pretty standard action movie stuff that doesn’t really stand out. There’s some truly awful jokes—like one involving the Cops theme (but that one was at least saved by Arnie) and there is absolutely no chemistry between Jai Courtney and Emilia Clarke. This part really hurts the film because the relationship that develops between Kyle and Sarah in the first film felt so natural and in this, due to the absence of chemistry and some bad writing (and a really bad performance), the relationship feels wholly unnatural and extremely forced.
|Arnie just makes this stupid shit work.|
|Seriously, Smith brought nothing to this role that any|
hungry actor with no career couldn't have done.
Finally, one of the worst parts about this film is the performance of Jai Courtney. There were other members of the cast that had some issues like having an actor like Matt Smith, who just came off a very iconic role, play a character that, realistically, could have been played by anyone because Smith really didn’t bring anything of note to the part. Additionally, Emilia Clarke’s delivery of lines occasionally is super cheesy and she never truly feels like the Sarah Connor we know (but a different timeline kinda explains that one away). However, at the core, she still has a gooey, caramel center that is the Connor we’ve see. Courtney, on the other hand, lacks this and never once feels like he is Kyle Reese. It’s bad enough that his performance is very bland and flat but the fact he never, ever comes close to being the character that Michael Biehn made famous in the first film feels very tragic and a wasted opportunity from the production. This very boring and uninteresting performance from Courtney only made the piss-poor developed and lazily forced relationship between Kyle and Sarah only look worse by the time the film was over.
|I'd hate to post blame on a film on one person but, seriously, Courtney was just |
that bland in this film.
I won’t go as far as to say that Terminator Genisys is bad or a waste of time. It’s definitely more entertaining than Salvation but I think I would say it’s about equal to the third film—it’s not great but it has its moments (amusingly enough that this film actually retcons the existence of those two films). The film definitely had some potential it was striving for and, even though it suffers from a moment or two of really lazy writing, the film was pretty ambitious. Heck, even James Cameron gave the film his approval and has labeled it his “official” third film in the franchise—he basically told Rise of the Machines and Salvation to go fuck themselves. Genisys is, without a doubt, serviceable in its entertainment and Arnold is all kinds of fun in his role but, at the end of it all, it’s still another just functioning sequel added to this franchise’s already growing list of only functioning sequels.
|Fun Fact: That's the original T-1000 Robert Patrick on the left there making a quick|