Terminator Genisys Review: Terminated

Chad White

Old and obsolete

Throughout the first act, Terminator Genisys is a different movie than it aims to be towards the end. There’s a romantic subplot thrust upon both the characters and audience that comes off intrusive and distracting. The timeline is unclear for a period, leaving viewers in the dust. Nothing is explained organically as characters spout off exposition at our convenience. That’s not to say this movie is entirely bad. Terminator Genisys, when taken alone, can be entertaining enough for the two hours spent with it but nothing more.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 model terminator – dubbed Pops – is back, almost carrying the entire movies on his broad shoulders. He is joined by yet another new Sarah Conner (Game of Throne’s Emilia Clarke) and Kyle Resse (Australia’s Jai Courtney) as they distort the timelines of the Terminator series. I harp on the time topic because it’s a huge issue throughout the course of the film. The story starts in the future with Reese being sent back to 1984 in order to save Sarah Conner. Before heading back though, he watches John Conner (Jason Clarke) get killed via a T-5000 (Matt Smith). This act disrupts the time stream for Reese, something he soon learns as the T-1000 from the original film tries to kill him and Sarah but is unsuccessful.

Story alterations aside, Terminator Genisys is a dim film. Most of the action takes place in the dark where characters blend into the background making everything come off as muddied as the story. It’s distracting to say the least. Explosions are also loud and intrusive – although I might just be getting old (even though I’m only 22). And the writing is poor with Sarah Conner spouting off the worst annoying one liners in recent memory. “Bite me” she exclaims in 1984 vernacular. Yes, she’s a product of her time but there is a smarter way to go about it. Have her be an over the top version of someone from that time or commit to a serious one. It’s hard to see the character jump from animated to a bland female action hero archetype.

Should you watch Terminator Genisys?

Before you get up in arms over another sequel to another franchise that ultimately bastardizes the series, just think about it. This is for both a new generation of viewers as well as the original ones. It’s not just for you. Movies take a long time to make and, though it may be sloppy, dark and convoluted, Terminator Genisys is ultimately dumb fun. Schwarzenegger’s stoic performance alone is enough for this movie to get by. That may not be what the studio, cast and crew were aiming for but it’s what they gave off. All we can do is pay to watch.

 

Notes

  • This movie and its two sequels have to be made before the rights revert back to the series’ original owner, Avatar man James Cameron in 2019. Prepare for two mediocre movies. But he supports it.
  • Arnold is so funny: “Nice to see you. Get out!”
  • I like how they want to stick to a PG-13 rating and only tease us with a naked Emilia Clarke silhouette. As if we haven’t seen her naked before…
  • There was not enough Jason Clarke.
  • Blink and you’ll miss Bill Paxton as a street punk in the beginning.
  • I forgot Matt Smith was in the movie and his appearance bothered me until I placed his face. He was a good Doctor.
  • Remember when Lee Byung-hun was Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe?
  • J.K. Simmons’ character is a cop who experienced the Terminator’s wrath from the beginning of the film. There are two issues with this:  1). He’s only a character made for this movie and yet they treat him like he’s been in the continuity since the 1984 original. 2). He’s horribly underutilized for the amount of importance they bestow upon him.