Is it still cool to purposefully misspell words? I’m not so sure, either way Arnie is back. He’s been telling us for years he’s going to be back and thankfully he is as he’s one of the only redeeming things in this movie (doesn’t bode well, I know)
Terminator Genisys starts in the future where John Connor is leading what he thinks will be the final assault to defeat SKYNET once and for all, except for a final counter measure to send a Terminator back to kill mother Sarah Connor (Emila Clarke) nullifying his existence. John’s right hand man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) offers to go back to save her, but when he arrives in 1984 she’s already a badass with her own Terminator. What we then have is basically the same premise of Terminator 2, they are trying to destroy SKYNET before it comes into being, currently in the form of the ultimate world connecting app that is Genisys while time hopping somewhat.
Right off there are a ton of things wrong with the plot. Many were apprehensive with making the previous ones obsolete by changing the timeline and they are proven right with a story that has gaping holes, background info that is teased out but then not spoke of again and continuity errors throughout with parts that just don’t make sense. For example, there’s a moment in the initial assault where the ‘brain’ of SKYNET is taken down and all robots are powered down before they go to the counter measure, this is of course not before we see John Connor attack this installation making the last soldiers of humanity basically cannon fodder where if they had waited 5 minutes all the Terminators would have been deactivated they would have been left with a brisk stroll to the complex unharmed. It just didn’t make sense and was just one of many things that could have been used as an example.
It’s hard not to be critical on Jai Courtney, I mean, he does try. Maybe if he hadn’t been so bland in literally everything else I’ve seen him in I would give him a chance. For some reasons studio’s like giving this un-charismatic guy a chance and thus a lead character is wasted. To begin with I wasn’t on board with Emila Clark’s Sarah Connor but by the end of the movie I was fine with it, I had more of a problem with the inconsistency with the character she was portraying. Given she was meant to have been brought up by a Terminator (one of the plot developments left without an answer as to who sent him back) she was far too socially functional and thus some things that she did late on in the film for me were just didn’t make sense. Oh yeah, these two also had no chemistry with each other what so ever whoever casted these needs to sit on the naughty step for… well… ever.
As you might expect (especially if you’ve seen the trailer) it’s a fairly predictable and ridiculous (at times) action movie… although this is a Terminator film so you do expect that a bit. The first half of the film was not very good but things do improve as time goes on, although this is no thanks to the script which is pretty hapless throughout. The CGI future is a bit too shiny and refined for me, it’s one thing that Terminator Salvation did well was the look of a mechanized apocalypse whereas this rendering is all a bit too clean.
Alas! The film is not complete shit. Easily the highlight was Arnie coming back as the old T-800 who brought up Sarah Connor and I’ll hand it to the film makers they constructed the role in about the only way you could have every ones favourite 67 year old Austrian in this movie. He brought the comic relief (sometimes a little too often but I’ll let that slide) and held up well in the action sequences as well as moving the plot along too. Everything you want to see and hear from a classic T-800 model is in there with a little more personality to boot. Oh, and JK Simmons turns up and does a decent job as a secondary character who ultimately doesn’t matter to the plot.. what a waste. There are some nice ideas here that if remained a secret and not brandished on all the posters and trailers could have added a dimension to the film that was just lacking.
Another slice of my childhood bites the dust in what is clearly the studio’s intention of milking this franchise dry. Ultimately the film was fucked by the marketing department on this one. It would have been an interesting concept if the reveal had been a surprise and it is readily apparent that this film was made to reach as many demographics as possible, constant explanations of the time travel and characters motivations etc as well as certain plot decisions support this. Fans of the Terminator will go and see it and be disappointed, others will go and see it not understanding what a T-800/ T-1000/T-5000 is and forget it 2 days later, it’s that kind of film.