Terminator Genisys

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Welcome to the human race...

TERMINATOR GENISYS
Alan Taylor, 2015

With the conclusion of the post-apocalyptic war between man and machine, a soldier in the human resistance is sent back through time to protect the resistance leader's mother but finds that things in the past are not quite what he expected.

In recent years, it seems like there's been a bit of a trend developing in the cases of franchises that deal in science-fiction and fantasy - that of the "altered timeline" plot. Unfortunately, it's not difficult to think of this reset-button concept as a cynical ploy by producers and studios looking to wring more cash out of a franchise that has already run its course. While that was used as a reasonable enough justification for the 2009 big-screen prequel/reboot of Star Trek, more often than not it's used as a get-out-of-jail-free card for creators who have painted themselves into a corner with the previous installments. In addition to allowing for one more story, if it's handled in the "right" way then it can effectively revive an otherwise stalled franchise with the promise of sequels to the newly-altered continuity and so the whole cycle can begin anew. Terminator Genisys is the fifth film in the franchise and it arrives on the heels of two other films that both met with mixed opinions. The absence of James Cameron, who created the first two films with a clear plan in mind and who stated he had told all the story he wanted to tell with those two films, meant that other creators scrambled to come up with good ways to keep the series going. 2003's Terminator 3 was an extremely derivative yet serviceable attempt to bring the series to a close, while 2009's Terminator Salvation tried to kickstart a whole new series set in the aftermath of Judgment Day (see if you can guess how well that went). Terminator Genisys is another attempt to revive the franchise, this time with the type of time-travel plot that I have outlined above. Despite the doubts that had been cast by the previous Cameron-free films, there still remained a spark of potential that this would at least not be a total failure...

Genisys picks up where the series as a whole technically starts, finally showing the humans' final victory over Skynet, the genocidal computer network seeking to wipe out humanity. However, they get there just in time to discover that Skynet has sent a Terminator back to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) before resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) is born, effectively setting the events of the first Terminator film in motion. Per the mythology, Connor sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time while holding back the knowledge that time-traveling Kyle is actually his real father due to causal loops and whatnot. However, once Kyle arrives (in a sequences of scenes that does its best to mirror the opening scenes of the original film, which only makes the slight differences stand out more) he learns that the timeline had already been altered and Sarah, who was originally an ordinary young woman, is now an experienced fighter thanks to the appearance of another T-800 (Schwarzenegger) even earlier in the timeline. What follows is a plan years in the making to prevent Judgment Day (again), but of course complications arise again and again...


Despite my aforementioned misgivings about the fundamentals of the film's premise, I didn't actually mind the end result too much. Compared to the last couple of films, it actually manages a degree of unpredictability thanks to its convoluted premise (while you could argue that a foregone conclusion was a point in T3's favour, it definitely worked against Salvation big-time), which can easily be picked apart piece-by-piece on the fly. The surprising nature of the altered past makes for a decent enough first act, if only to see how differently events unfold , while the decision to transplant the action to the not-too-distant future of 2017 and explore the ramifications of the altered timeline are of debatable quality. Genisys isn't especially concerned with exploring its themes even within the context of a high-concept action blockbuster - some lip-service is paid to the ever-present notions of fate and free will with Sarah having to deal with having her entire life more or less planned out because of circumstances far beyond her control, while Kyle has to struggle with the fact that the most important mission of his life has been rendered irrelevant by said circumstances (and that's without getting into his not-quite-flashbacks to an alternate timeline or the real twist at the heart of the film, which I'm not even sure I want to talk about). There's a satirical stab at modern technological attitudes by having the latest method of creating Skynet be the titular Genisys, a brand-new operating system that's designed to connect everyone's technology together (followed by shots of several people wandering around staring intently at their smartphones - how subtle). Of course, this is all just window-dressing to the main reason you're watching a film like this - wanton destruction carried out by robots.

On that front, Genisys delivers some fairly watchable set-pieces ranging from the small (a street brawl between a young and old T-800) to the large (a vehicular chase along the Golden Gate bridge). They might be reliant on CGI to noticeable fault, but I'm hard-pressed to think of anything that was especially awful and insulting about any of them, occasional notable contrivance notwithstanding. The effects work used on the various types of Terminator may also be lacking in terms of execution, but for the most part it's a reasonably slick and technically decent affair that conveys the machines' complexity rather well. Instead, what ends up being noticeably underwhelming above all else is the film's attempts at characterisation. While playing the Terminator's coldly logical diction and attempts to mimic human behaviour for laughs has been a staple for much of the series, combining it with recent films' tendency to joke about Schwarzenegger's age (which is incorporated into the plot in a somewhat questionable manner, plus his father-figure relationship with Sarah does pave the way for plenty of dad jokes). This does mean that the jokes tend to fall very flat, which is a shame since he's clearly putting some effort into his deliberately deadpan work here. While Emilia Clarke does a decent enough job of channelling Linda Hamilton, Jai Courtney seems especially miscast as Kyle in a way that no amount of gruff yet sensitive back-talking and combat skills can overcome. Jason Clarke continues the proud tradition of John Connors that look nothing like one another and, though he starts off being rather bland, he improves considerably later on in the film. Also thrown into the mix is J.K. Simmons as a police officer who witnessed the events of the 1984 segment of the film as a young man and has since become obsessed with Terminators - while Simmons is a good actor and the part is clearly intended to be comedic, it doesn't translate to any significantly effective humour.


As far as non-Cameron Terminator films go, I'm inclined to give the edge to Genisys for the time being, though I doubt it'll hold up particularly well on repeat viewings. At the very least, it's on par with Terminator 3 in that it's not a genuinely horrible film so much as a heavily flawed one that still manages to have its good moments here and there, and I appreciate its left-field time-travel premise more so than that of the blandly post-apocalyptic Salvation. It is still undermined by a variety of factors - the CGI makes for a visual aesthetic that is passable more so than amazing, the story threatens to be the most convoluted and nonsensical one in the series (and that's saying something), the characterisation is rather lacking and the actors struggle to make it work, while the proud Terminator tradition of making call-backs to earlier films for better or worse (often the latter) is still alive and well. At the very least, it challenges one's expectations enough to generally keep one's interest, though it does struggle to be consistently good about it. Though a scene that plays halfway through the end credits may hint at the possibility of a sequel - at least now that prospect doesn't make me feel that much disdain now.

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I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.



Welcome to the human race...
"Jai Courtney seems especially miscast as Kyle"

i had to laugh at this. I have no idea how jai keeps getting the roles that he does.
Me either. General disdain for Salvation aside, I thought Anton Yelchin made a fairly sensible choice for a young Kyle Reese. Courtney has the same kind of generically muscular brown-haired gruff white Australian guy thing going on as Sam Worthington. It's like they're trying to force another Russell Crowe* on audiences.

*yeah, I know he's not actually Australian, he just fits the type



We've gone on holiday by mistake
Jai Courtney must tick some sort of box like;


(x) females think he's hot.


Or maybe they tried to get loads of good actors and no one wanted to step into Micheal Biehn's shoes. Struggling to think of an actor that could do as good a job as Biehn.
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High Functioning Sociopath
Me either. General disdain for Salvation aside, I thought Anton Yelchin made a fairly sensible choice for a young Kyle Reese. Courtney has the same kind of generically muscular brown-haired gruff white Australian guy thing going on as Sam Worthington. It's like they're trying to force another Russell Crowe* on audiences.

*yeah, I know he's not actually Australian, he just fits the type
Yeah Jai is pretty much Sam Worthington 2.0.

Studios: Here's the next big star! *Throws Jai at us*

Audience: Nope.....



Jai entered into the Die Hard franchise at film #5....now he enters the Terminator franchise at film #5.

I hated A Good Day to Die Hard.

So I must hate this one....that's a fact.



Jai isn't a bad actor but he's never likable. So he does okay in roles like jack reacher where you're not supposed to like him.. but the other stuff.. i wouldn't have cast him



Welcome to the human race...
Jai entered into the Die Hard franchise at film #5....now he enters the Terminator franchise at film #5.

I hated A Good Day to Die Hard.

So I must hate this one....that's a fact.
For reference's sake, I gave A Good Day to Die Hard
because it's generic to an especially glaring fault. At least Genisys tries to do something different and sort of succeeds at it, presence of Jai Courtney notwithstanding.



We've gone on holiday by mistake
^^No way?



It was ok, I wouldn't go much further in any praise than that. I liked Arnie, thought it worked well keeping him in for the duration, but the script was absolutely dire. I wouldn't bother watching it ever again.



i am so disapointed after watching this movie, it has no feel, no sense of urgency nothing close to what the first 2 movies offered and most likely it is because of the digital era, it not analogue camerawork anymore these days, the appeal is just draining, this movie was just a let down for me, i had no interest to continue the movie at 1 h and 15 min mainly because of the lousy plot, no sense of urgency, man, in terminator 2, every time i watch it, the t 1000 played by the great Robert patrick strikes fear into me everytime he s on screen, the jerry goldsmith music was so good are right aswell, i could continue for hours how disappointing this movie is.



I gave it a 4/10 myself. Not the worst movie of the year, and surely an improvement over the awful Terminator Salvation, but it's still bad.



Some people same to don't like it, but i think it was ok 7/10 maybe 8. I didnt saw all the Terminator movies but just by sawing this one i think i now what all the others are about.



Registered User
I would give it a 7 out of 10 , real good popcorn movie, liked the crossing timelines. Reviews of the movie seem bitchy rather than objective.



Welcome to the human race...
Reviews of the movie seem bitchy rather than objective.
It can be two things.



There's too much going on in "Terminator Genisys", but it lacks depth in anything going on. If you are looking for good action and nothing else, then the movie delivers. As far as being a good movie,- it isn't.
- average.



I was hardly blown away by it. Like so many sequals and reboots Hollywood has rolled out over the past decade (to make a compete list would take ages but some that come to mind are Predators, Total Recall, Robocop), im not sure if this film had to be made.

As for the movie, did anyone else find it confusing, especially with all the time travel.
WARNING: "Terminator: Genisys" spoilers below

But what really annoyed me and what i cannot forgive the makers fo doing, was making John Conner a vilian, by having him be sent be back, by the terminators i assume, to take out his mother, Sarah Connor. What a load of crap, did these idiots making the film not see 1 & 2, where John Connor grows up to lead the resistance?? Why make him a villian in this.

Does anyone else feel betrayed and frustrated that they made John Connor the bad guy in this?