Well, it does feel like the Terminator series might actually be over for good now. Although I said the exact same thing when Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines came out in 2003. But then 2009 and Terminator Salvation rolled in, so… Go figure.
Terminator: Genisys starring (as per usual) Arnold Schwarzenegger as – wait for it – the Terminator, as well as Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, Jason Clarke as John Connor, and Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese seems to have finally put the whole man vs. the machine story to rest, or so I thought until Paramount announced 2 more films coming out between 2015 and 2018 with Genisys being the first movie of the new trilogy. Erm…. okay?
The year is 2029 and the world is going to hell. It would probably be there already had it not been for John Connor who keeps on leading army after army against the machines until it becomes clear that the only way to end this war is to go back in time and stop Skynet before they unleashed their robot army on the humans. Obviously, it sounds doable and also like something that can go smoothly. The story revolves mainly around Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor who, with the help of ‘old but not obsolete’ Terminator (going by affectionate ‘Pops’) try to stop the whole Skynet thing from happening by doing impressive time jumps and confusing the hell out of the police every time it happens. A lot of nakedness is involved. As well as a very confused story of how John Connor ended up being, you know, born. (One day his parents would have to have a very awkward talk with him, I bet.)
Written by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussie and directed by Alan Taylor, Terminator: Genisys was exactly what you’d expect it to be – lots of running, fighting, shooting, explosions, with the cheesy romance in the background, and an ever unemotional Arnold Schwarzenegger who I honestly believed talked the way he usually does in the Terminator films most of my life.
Lots of action artfully peppered with bits and pieces of humor to make it not too awfully depressing (like, seriously, how do people not just jump under the trains in the dystopian worlds?!). with the VFX and CGI being in their prime, the aforementioned action sequences couldn’t not be impressive. I mean, no one goes to see films like Terminator for deep character development and memorable dialogue.
Emilia Clarke – enough said, really. I’d probably watch that woman stare at the wall in an empty room for 2 hours and enjoy every moment of it. She did a wonderful job playing Sarah Connor, and right now, I find it hard to imagine anyone else in that role. Sorry, not sorry. I know that many fans of Linda Hamilton couldn’t possibly be okay with anyone else being Mama Connor, but as someone who’s never been particularly attached to any of the Terminator characters, I quite enjoyed Ms. Clarke’s performance. Also, Jai Courtney is HOT!
It gets old eventually. After an hour and a half, I was pretty sick of the action stuff because every fight started blending with the next one, and it just got exhausting to try and keep track of who’s beating whose ass now. Character arcs were nonexistent – you really start seeing it as a problem after a while. The most impressive part of the film was that ‘Pops’ somehow developed genuine fatherly feelings towards Sarah despite being, you know, a machine.
In general, I wasn’t invested in any of them, although I’ve got to admit that it’s always been my thing with the Terminator franchise – they made it quite clear early on that everyone except Sarah, John, and the Terminator was expendable, so… And speaking of expendable, T-1000 definitely was one of my favourite villains in the film, and I think they should have kept him for much longer. I mean, come on! Blade arms! He sure was more fun than John Connor.
All in all, I’d expect the devoted fans of the franchise to either utterly enjoy Terminator: Genisys because ‘Yay, Terminator!’, or hate it with burning passion because it pulled The X-Men and cancelled out the first 4 films. If I were a real, honest to God fan, I’d be screaming bloody murder. (For the record, no one tried to, I don’t know, cut the screen or throw something at it when the credits started to roll – which was disappointing.)
Good enough if you’re a fan of the franchise. The knowledge of the previous films is not particularly necessary to understand the events happening in the new one. VFX, SFX, CGI, and the like were top-notch, although I didn’t expect anything else – it was, after all, a futuristic sci fi film made in the 21st century. Little to no character development made if feel flat and sort of unnecessary. We haven’t learned anything cool or mind-blowing. I’m sitting here and trying to remember something that made the film stand out, and can’t come up with anything.
The ending was rather predictable, especially if you saw the previous films. I would recommend it if you have nothing else to see, or if you’re a huge fan of the series/genre, but otherwise it’s not a must-watch kind of film. Definitely not. If anything, it was rather sad to see aging Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to be his old (no pun intended) self.