Terminator Genisys – Movie Review

Terminator GenisysTerminator Genisys – PG-13
Release Date: Wed 01 Jul 2015

Terminator Genisys sees the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the series since 2003’s Terminator 3. (He was not acting when 2009’s Terminator Salvation was made.) Genisys is a soft reboot of the series with Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese and Jason Clarke as John Connor.

As in the first Terminator, just as the humans have nearly defeated the machines, the machines send an assassin back in time to kill Sarah Connor, and the humans send Kyle Reese back as well to try and prevent that from happening. However when Kyle Reese appears in 1984, the timeline has been altered and the future he came from no longer exists. Judgement Day is a decade off from the history Kyle Reese (and fans of the series) knows. The “good” version of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator (from Terminator 2) defeated the “bad” version long before 1984 and has essentially raised Sarah Connor.

The confusing thing about all of this (beyond the hard-to-follow rules of time travel and paradoxes) is that the movie seems to want to serve as an entry point for new fans of the series as it erases and starts an alternate timeline that it can do with as it pleases. However, it moves so quickly and develops the concepts and characters minimally (if at all) and seems to count on the audience to be familiar with the events, characters and basic rules of the other movies. If you don’t know the difference between a T-800 and a T-1000, this movie isn’t much help. It relies on you to have seen Terminator 2 and know all about this.

As someone familiar with the series, I had no problem following along with the characters and the alternate history. I did have a hard time connecting to and caring about the new versions of the characters. Both Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese tended to be whiny and complained about small things whenever the movie needed some exposition via conflict. This means lots of the two characters yelling at each other to explain their sides of an argument to tell the audience what they expect to happen next. Jason Clarke’s John Connor doesn’t suffer from this problem and is probably the most likable of these new versions of the characters, but most of the action follows Sarah, Kyle and the “good” Terminator.

I thought the special effects were excellent, but we’re still waiting for a movie that pushes the boundaries the way Terminator 2 did 24 years ago. There’s plenty of room here for a sequel, but it remains to be seen if the movie can be successful enough at the box office to keep it’s cast and the franchise going. It’s the best Terminator since Terminator 2, but it’s not particularly great or necessary.

Amber, Matthew, Cal, Aaron and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car:


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