Terminator Genisys, 2015.
Directed by Alan Taylor.
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, Matt Smith, J.K. Simmons, Courtney B. Vance, Byung-hun Lee, Dayo Okeniyi, Michael Gladis, Sandrine Holt and Douglas Smith.
In the new installment of The Terminator series, John Connor, leader of the human resistance against Skynet, sends Kyle Reese back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah Conner, from a Terminator assassin, an unexpected turn of events creates an altered timeline. Instead of a scared waitress, Sarah is a skilled fighter and has a Terminator guardian by her side. Faced with unlikely allies and dangerous new enemies, Reese sets out on an unexpected new mission to reset the future.
After having seen Terminator Genisys, I am not sure whether it was crafted by legitimately passionate production members of the franchise, or a group of people that just wanted to burn the lore to the ground, sitting back pounding their desks in a fit of laughter counting their money while hardcore fans of the series (AKA those of us that pretend only the first two films exist) voice their displeasure at how utterly pointless this reboot/sequel feels.
There are amusing little homages such as Arnold Schwarzenegger smuggling a shotgun into a hospital inside of an oversized teddy bear, harkening back to a somewhat familiar scene at the arcade in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Clearly the scene makes no sense and would never work in real life, but it’s one of the more clever bits of comic relief within Terminator Genisys. For every minute piece of goodwill that this movie does offer, it’s quickly ripped away by an overbearing and never-ending attempt to redefine everything Terminator. The writers ask and toss us into so many “what if”scenarios that the movie truly does come across as fan fiction ripped straight from an archived topic on Gamefaqs’ Moves: At The Theater forum. There seems to be a genuine goodwill in the attempts to turn the world of Terminator upside down, but no one involved realizes just how awful the ideas are and how bad they translate from paper to the screen.
Terminator Genisys spends so much time trying to justify its nonsensical time hopping logic that the movie surprisingly goes almost its entire middle act without any action whatsoever, which is absolutely unforgivable for a Terminator film. Even with heaps of exposition the movie makes little sense and raises more questions than answers. The script being full of abysmal dialogue (some of the worst lines in the movie are even repeated multiple times) only makes matters worse. Casting robotic actors that can’t engage in the drama (Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, and even Emilia Clarke basically just sound like they’re reading lines) makes things even more insufferable,
The pacing of the movie is so scattershot and lightspeed that action sequences just come and go leaving no impact whatsoever. The marketing team focused so hard on hyping audiences for a battle between different eras of Schwarzenegger’s, but creating that CGI young Arnold soaked up the budget to the point where the rest of the special effects are ghastly. The kicker is that young Arnold looks horrendous and blurry in slow-motion for a fight that last maybe two minutes; it’s just another example of the fan fiction nature of the experience oozing through the cracks of a film falling apart at the seams. Sure, Schwarzenegger against Schwarzenegger sounds awesome in theory, but keep it in wishful thinking fan art, not as an aggravatingly dumb plot point that helps destroy a franchise that once contained top-notch storytelling alongside its breathtaking action.
Even the new model of Terminator on display here isn’t very exciting; when James Cameron unleashed the T-1000 in 1992, he wasn’t just a mute, brutally violent killing machine, but also a technological achievement for groundbreaking special effects that to this day still look freaking awesome in motion. Similar to the T-800, mission failure was not an option rendering the androids’ determination relentless, leaving audiences constantly wondering how the hell our protagonists could come out on top. There are about three or four moments in Terminator 2: Judgement Day where the T-1000 finally appears defeated but comes back yet again to terrorize the heroes. That sense of danger doesn’t exist here, primarily because it simply feels like standard factory Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking where the stakes are low and the goal is to milk as much money as possible out of anyone interested.
Also, whatever critic that is quoted on television exclaiming “There is more to the twist than you think”is full of ungodly amounts of shit. The studio knew this movie was terrible and tried to salvage its anticipation by spoiling every major reveal in its numerous trailers and promotional TV spots. John Connor is a Terminator, he’s the bad guy, the reason is obvious and stupid, and that’s all there is to that big revelation.
If there were ever a franchise reinvigoration worthless across every single aspect, it’s Terminator Genisys. Nothing to see here, just continue along living in a world where only the original two James Cameron masterpieces exist. Speaking of Cameron, he should feel ashamed to loyal Terminator fans by giving this soulless corporate crap his stamp of approval.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook
Listen to the Flickering Myth Podcast review of Terminator Genisys using the player below:
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