terminator genisys | my movie review

Posted on July 28, 2015

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Yes, yes I know. It’s been a while… a long while… but I’ve recently seen a slew of interesting movies and felt drawn to rekindle my enjoyment of tapping away on a keyboard to ponder why/what/how and… why I loved or didn’t loved (sic) a movie. 

So for date night this week my lovely wife and I descended on our local multiplex to watch the brand new shiny liquid metal nonobot of a movie Terminator Genisys, starring Arnie the geriatric smiling robot, Jason Clarke, the lamest version of John Connor to date (even worse than Bale in Salvation), a confused Jai Courtney, as Kyle Reese (still recovering from fighting ze Russians with his dad Bruce Willis), a ballsy Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor (who’s probably grateful for a name she can pronounce never mind spell – Daenerys Targaryen indeed!) and not forgetting the master of time – the Timelord himself – Matthew Smith, in a role which has obviously ended up on the floor of an editing suite somewhere. Desperately underused and by all counts the only one in the movie who could have solved the whole timey-wimey thing if only they’d thought of asking him. 

So the movie. How does it fare? Well quite frankly I wasn’t impressed. I quite enjoyed the beginning of the movie with the set up of the original 1984 movie’s opening scenes, and… well that’s it really. Sorry. I’ll explain.

The set up is that the future humans want to send back a soldier to protect Sarah from a Terminator who is sent to kill her and in turn erase John Connor, and prevent the uprising (featuring an unintentionally funny “Oh, pick me, pick me!” scene). The bad robots send back more Terminators to kill John Connor and the humans also want to prevent Cyberdyne from creating the Skynet program that brings about Judgment Day and victory for the bots. Got it?… But hang on there one cotton pickin’ second. Just as Kyle is being whisked off naked to 1984 he witnesses an attack on John and this creates a separate timeline where things aren’t quite as they were expected. The movie then goes on to try and explain by thumbing through the book of Star Trek terminology and giving us such classics as nexuses, causality loops and paradoxical timelines. The only thing missing was a disruption in the space-time continuum! There are signposts throughout that are so glaringly obvious they make redundant any surprises the movie could have had, and don’t even get me started on the ending – a total eye-roller.

Also the movie poster (and trailer) has front and center one of the movie’s major plot reveals. Marketing dept – you’re fired!

I suppose it all depends on what you want to get out of a movie like this. It’s a 12A rated Hollywood sci-fi film, so you know there will be no real danger to the protagonists, no real threat and any kind, and if there is it will be sieved of all reality. It’s a teen summer “blockbuster”, even though there’s no such thing any more, that ticks boxes for thrills, action, chases, running, semi-nudity, and cgi up to the earholes and the mandatory single use of the f-bomb. For a movie to be good it really has to have a character – hopefully the protagonist – who the audience will connect or sumpathise with, is the protagonist Kyle – nope – is it Sarah – not really – is it John – I hope not. It certainly can’t be the smiling robot. So who is there to connect with?

Even by the standards of action movies there’s nothing new. Chopper chase, check… car chase, check… hospital chase, check… robot walking out of flaming vehicle/building, check… *yawn*. This movie brings absolutely nothing new to the table. it’s technically a success – it’s fast and frenetic. Logically it’s a mess and the more they try and explain why things are happening the more confusing they all look. It’s quirky in places and it does a decent job of connecting several aspects of the original James Cameron cannon. I can see why people would enjoy it for what it is, but when so much money and time and effort has been put into something linked to a true classic it’s just such a shame that it’s ended up so empty and echoey. But that’s what we’ve come to expect from reboots and sequels. The only one thing in the movie that clicked was the fact that it’s storyline of all our electronic devices being linked as one and that mankind is being guided unknowingly into its own oblivion rang far too true. Uncomfortably so. 

So with Genisys what you get is another by the numbers Hollywood do-over. In the right hands with the right cast and a more cohesive script and story this could have been a lot better. When a movie you are watching makes you want to watch a better movie that it’s referencing, that can’t be good. It’s the same with Total Recall, Jurassic Poop World, Let Me In, Straw Dogs, RoboCop.

If you want to watch an Arnie movie that doesn’t have him cgi’d for the most part of it and actually doing some acting, I suggest you watch Maggie or Sabotage. 

This still from the movie is pretty much the facial expression that sums up this experience.

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