WARNING: This article contains some minor spoilers for anyone who has been living in a cave and hasn't seen any of the previous Terminator films.
Truer words were never spoken, Mr. Fry. Yesterday, the Internet flipped their proverbial $#!% as it marked the debut of the first official trailer for Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions and [director] Alan Taylor's rebootquel of the Terminator franchise – Terminator: Genisys.
I love the Terminator films. As far as far fetched theories of how time functions go, The Terminator is definitely the most entertaining. James Cameron's first two installments still hold up, in my opinion, as two of the greatest films of all time and actually – all by themselves – tell a compelling and self-contained story. However, despite having stopped Judgement Day and securing that the future remain a mystery, the powers that be saw fit to make two more films and a television series.
Neither attempt at expanding the mythology sans Cameron was particularly that successful. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was, at best, a carbon copy of T2 with worse special effects (despite having been released 11 years after its predecessor). 2009's Terminator: Salvation tried to kick-start a new trilogy based on the Judgement Day war, as opposed to attempts to kill John Connor using time travel. It was a pretty noble effort and, in my opinion, a pretty decent movie. However, inconsistencies with the series' continuity, on-set antics from [star] Christian Bale and the lack of [franchise star] Arnold Schwarzenegger all helped subdue the film with audiences. Ultimately, Salvation couldn't live up to its name and the trilogy never came to be.
So that brings us to yesterday's launch of the trailer for Terminator: Genisys. Like Salvation, the plan is to once again launch a new trilogy, this time returning to the time travel/kill John and Sarah Connor story...but with a twist.
[Insert the alternate timeline]
If you haven't seen the trailer yet, you can watch it here.
I'll now give you a minute to let the goosebumps settle.
That was a pretty kick-ass trailer, right?! I'm not normally one for the whole alternate timeline thing. If you're going to remake something then just be upfront about it and make it a legitimate, self-contained remake. I'm thoroughly entertained by the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies but I can't help but feel like making them an alternate timeline really hurts the concept. All of the changes they made would have been fine and completely acceptable in a straight up remake, but Abrams really wanted to have Leonard Nemoy tell Chris Pine that he "is and has always been" his friend. As a result you get a new storyline that resembles a poorly woven afghan...but with lots of really cool space battles that pretty much makes up for it and has non-Trekkies crapping their pants.
But with Genisys, the alternate timeline story really works. Mainly because the entire franchise is built on the idea of an alternate timeline. Kyle Reece (originally played by Michael Biehn) even said in the first film that Judgement Day was only a "possible" future. So by going this route with Genisys, you can get a quality storyline that pays homage to the original by trying to start it out the same way but quickly spinning you into a new direction where the end result is anyone's guess. Plus, you get the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is a win for everyone!
Oh, what's that? Arnold is 67 years old and can't be the same Terminator that he was 30 years ago? Well in the words of Professor Farnsworth, "good news, everyone!" This T-800 can age! Which, I know, may have sounded dumb to a lot of people when they first announced it. But remember, it's "living tissue over metal endoskeleton." And what does living tissue do? It ages! Problem solved.
So now, let's take a more concentrated look at some of the stuff we're getting glimpses of in this new trailer.
We've always heard tales of the Time Displacement Equipment (TDE) that SkyNet developed to send the Terminators back through time. But we've never actually seen it. Whether it was due to budget and special effects limitations at the time or just being generally unessential, the audience was always sent directly to the time period the film was set in to see the travelers emerge from a bright light or poorly animated orb. Genisys marks the first time that we actually get to see the TDE in use and I'm a little excited about that. I mean, c'mon, it looks pretty damn cool!
Aside from Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles (which isn't really even worth mentioning because it was its own continuity, separate from the films) this is the first time we get a new actress playing the iconic role. And I have to say, the Game of Thrones star looks A LOT like a young Linda Hamilton. And judging by some of the scenes in the trailer she even nailed the mannerisms. Great casting in the film's part. Likenesses like this really helps ease the transition considering it's not completely a remake.
Arguably one of the most fearsome villains in screen history, the T-1000 (or at least another model from that series) makes his return to the franchise...and he still has a thing for taking on the disguise of a police officer apparently. The T-X in Terminator 3 tried to be a stronger, more advanced version of the T-1000 but she/it never really seemed anywhere near as imposing. Now, whether this actually is a T-1000 or a T-2000 (or whatever...you get my point) isn't exactly clear but I'll take it. And he can manipulate his limps into sharp objects and then projectile them like spears this time. That's worth making sure you have good cardio endurance if you ask me.
Remember in Salvation when they weren't able to get Arnold (due to his being governor at the time) so they digitized his face over Roland Kickinger to be the "young" T-800? It looked good at the time and it got fanboys at least a little excited. But five years is a long time in special effects land. So now look at what we get! Arnold may as well have actually time traveled for this scene. It's phenomenal.
It's already established that Arnold's T-800 in this film can age and that at least part of the movie will take place in 1984. But this is 2015 (or at least it will be when the film comes out). Who wants to see an entire movie take place in 1984? Judging by this scene it looks like the film will span some decades. It doesn't look like Sarah ages so maybe she finds a way to time travel to 2015? That's how it worked in the TV series, after all. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. And if I'm wrong and it does all take place in 1984 then I trust it will still blow all kinds of minds.
There you have it. The film looks amazing. Alan Taylor has directed some of the finer episodes of Game of Thrones and I loved Thor: The Dark World. He has a great eye for action and character development. So I have complete confidence in his ability to turn this franchise around. What do you think? Sound off below.
Terminator: Genisys resets the universe on July 1, 2015.