The next gravedigger of film-related-emotional-attachment comes in the form of Terminator Genisys. Bringing this back from the ashes, or rust, I’m not sure, in the hopes of kick starting a trilogy just in time before James Cameron gets his rights back to the series. Set in the alternative world where robots, known as Skynet, have seen how we treat each other and made the logical conclusion to destroy all of humanity, can you blame them?
Terminator Genisys starts in the future during the conflict between man and machine slightly ignoring the events in the 3rd and 4th Terminator films. *Deep breathe* We have loyal solider Kyle Reese volunteering to be sent back in time for robot-resistance leader John Connor to protect his mother Sarah Connor from robots known as Terminators that are attempting to eliminate John Connor before he was born *exhale*. John Connor warns Kyle Reese that his mother wasn’t the military mastermind she later grows to become in Terminator 2, instead being a damsel in the worst kind of distress, robot kind. We all know the drill from the first film.
Enter plot twist. *Deep voice* Only this time, Sarah Connor is already prepared for what’s to come and is the one who ends up saving Kyle Reese from a T-1000 (ultra-cool-liquid-metal Terminator). Unbeknownst to Kyle Reese and John Connor, a reprogrammed Terminator was sent back before all the events in the films to save and protect her from Skynet’s updated plan of killing Sarah Connor when she is young instead of John Connor. This Arnie-bot has raised Sarah Connor and warned her of the impending doom.
Before we continue, I have a confession. The Terminator series has a special place in my heart. As a lover of all things time-travel, robots and aliens this series ticks two of those boxes. So I had mentally prepared myself to be hugely disappointed when watching and found myself immediately picking holes (IT’S SPELT GENESIS). Calm down, I told myself. Turn off your brain and enjoy, I chanted. Things starting looking up. I had hope again!
Okay, positive thoughts. Arnold Schwarzenegger was perfect. Although the role felt all too easy for him, Arnie was the stand-out actor from this. Byung-hun Lee (G.I. Joe) who plays a T-1000 was near perfect also. Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) however was miscast for her role. She’s too young faced and is better conveying royalty than an emotionally and physically torn-down resistance fighter. Linda Hamilton’s depiction of Sarah Connor was played as a woman gone insane, insane with vengeance of events that hadn’t happened yet. A drive to stop the doom she knows too well. Emilia Clarke’s version was heavy on the mistrust but had an immature view of the role destiny played in her life. Linda Hamilton was fighting her fate, Emilia Clarke was refusing to accept hers. Subtle differences but important to the character. Sarah Connor is this solider fighting the only war that matters and on top of that, doing it all by herself.
The supporting characters from this film were also miscast and additionally underused. Matt Smith and J.K. Simmons are bother terrific actors and were given generic move-the-plot-along two-dimensional roles. Matt Smith was Doctor Who! J.K. Simmons has an Oscar dammit!
Instead the screen time was placed more so on Jai Courtney. Full disclosure, I don’t hate Jai Courtney. He plays a certain role well, a bland-lead-hero type character he can do perfect. What Michael Biehn brought to Kyle Reese was humbleness and a view of himself that he is simply a pawn fulfilling his duty, not knowing he was the most vital part of the story. This is why Sarah Connor falls in love with him in the first film. He doesn’t feel worthy of her love, and sees her as a goddess. Jai Courtney was too bland and too assuming. Side-note: If it’s the end of the world how do you keep in such great shape?
Empty. That is the overall feeling from this film. Yes, the action scenes are awesome to look at. Yes, this has Arnie being back. It’s got the twist that Terminator films have, and just like before it ruined the twist in the trailers. It takes what they think are the best parts of the previous films and throws them into a blender of disappointment. You get entertaining turn-off-your-brain action scenes and the sense of a complete story, before the post-credit scene however, you don’t get much more. If the first Terminator is remembered as a small-budget-robot-horror-classic, the second as a CGI master-class, the third as the bad one and the fourth as the really bad one, Genisys will the be the forgotten sequel.