Hollywood's another attempt at "we can't come up with anything original, but we know how to tickle your nostalgia" is here with another unnecessary sequel except I've been wanting this sequel for a while now. If you couldn't notice in my last review for Jurassic World, I'm a fucking fanboy. I hold many films and franchises dearly close to my heart, especially if I grew up with them. So before we get into Terminator Genisys, I'll quickly go through the Terminator series opinion wise.
The Terminator (1984), directed and co-written by now Avatar faggot James Cameron, is an incredible neo-noir sci-fi thriller with an atmosphere that cannot be explained but hasn't and probably will never be duplicated. The animatronics were jaw dropping and gruesome for 1984, the suspense and intensity is paced perfectly, and established some of the most important characters in sci-fi lore. It transported us into a new world with a over-exaggerated but possible future chuck full of social commentary (I'm a sucker for social commentary). It brought the sci-fi genre to the R rating as well. It's the first Terminator. It's a timeless classic from the 80s. What's not to love.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), directed and co-written by awesome Aliens (1986) director James Cameron again, is hands down one of the greatest films ever made. It's an out of this world sci-fi action thriller that helped shaped CGI (Jurassic Park came out 2 years later and perfected it), and took the sci-fi genre into a whole new world of possibilities and proved that stories with time travel and human looking robots can have character development, social commentary on humanity, and have life lessons on how we as a human race have to evolve peacefully. Terminator 2 remains one of my favorite films of all time and continues to be in my top 10 list (coming soon). T2 rapped everything up at the end of the film. Cyberdyne was destroyed and all traces of the Terminators have been eliminated. It rounded up the character's story arches and ended the story started from the first film on a powerful note. The two James Cameron films are perfect on their own.
Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2003), no James Cameron, is the definition of a pointless sequel. Yes the movie sucks my ass through a straw, but with that said, I gotta point out some of the comedic moments are funny, the action is incredible, and Arnold steals the show as always. Arnold is the fucking man! But other than that, the story is terrible. The most laziest way to continue a franchise just to make money, with the blandest acting, and a villain whose only purpose is sex appeal. It dumbs down everything established intellectually in the second film, and it makes you wonder, did they just watch T2 on mute and was like "yea, this was successful let's just do exactly this but half ass it!"
Terminator Salvation (2009), again, no James Cameron, aimed for what fans have always wanted. TO SEE THE FUCKING FUTURE WAR! It did, and boy was it fucking disappointing. The trailer to this fucking movie looked INCREDIBLE! No, seriously, check this.
And they fucked that up with a shitty story, uninteresting characters, typical action, no character development, nothing really moving the story forward and a pointless add-on to why Skynet did this and that, a shitty looking CGI Arnold, with no real focus on John Connor, you know, THE FUCKING LEADER OF THE HUMAN RESISTANCE?! Some concepts of the film are good though. At least it tried to be original (even tho it had a fuck load of war movie cliches), it had a real gritty look to it, the use of the classic 90s grunge song Rooster by Alice In Chains was cool, and John Connor's still listening to that same Guns N' Roses album.
Nothing else in Salvation works. The film is a total disappointment and I continue to be torn about it because there was a real opportunity for a great sci-fi war movie set in the Terminator universe with focus and questions answered about John Connor as a leader, but instead it focuses on a boring character who thinks he's human but isn't and they use this to connect with Skynet using tissue to create the Terminator from the first film and it's just a fucking boring clusterfuck of a mess I never cared to fully understand.
No new Terminator movie will be as good or top the first two films directed and co-written by James Cameron. I have accepted that. But after Salvation a new Terminator was out of the question. It just wasn't gonna happen. My take continued to be, they should've left it alone after 2. T2 ended it all. A bit after Salvation, Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting career came back, and of course nostalgic dickheads like myself got hype so see some new action movies with one of our original action stars. We got a few great action movies that we could turn our brains off and enjoy such as The Expendables movies (2010/2012/2014), The Last Stand (2013), which I consider his comeback movie and I highly recommend if you wanna see a great dumb action movie while smoking a joint, Escape Plan (2013) with his opposite Stallone, another great dumb action movie, Sabotage (2014), an action thriller while not a completely dumb action movie because of some moments where the film takes itself too seriously, has some good action and gives Arnold the chance to actually act, and a few months ago, we got Maggie.
If you haven't seen this new post-apocalyptic drama, you must. It's the brawny man as you never seen him before, actual emotional acting. You would think taking Arnold seriously when he's not a robot would be beyond laughable, but in all honesty, he gives this performance it's all. The film itself has a great creepy atmosphere that builds tension and it's an original and interesting take on zombies I haven't seen before. But this isn't why we are here. This isn't why I'm writing this review. Around Christmas time in 2014 I fucking walk into the movies and I see this...
So naturally, I get a bit hype, but not too much. Then Arnold's confirmed, I get a bit more hype, but I stop myself. Then trailers hit and months pass and here we are. The movie's about to come out and I couldn't help myself but get hype but I still have this feeling I'm going to get disappointed. That the fans are going to be cheated again. That no originality will be brought forth into this once promising franchise with two nearly flawless films under it's belt. Then, I saw this...
My natural response was "I'm fucking hype and ready!" Then I saw this on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic like 5 minutes before I walked into the theater...
I reminded myself Cameron also made Avatar (2009), so obviously he thinks that's a good movie (along with SO MANY OTHERS FUCKING BLUE SMURF CAT BASKETBALL PLAYING UNORIGINAL SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT CLICHED HALF ASS VILLAIN HAVING ASS PIECE OF SHIT MOVIE!) My natural response was "oh fuck me." So I sat down, put on those gimmicky cheat money making 3D glasses, and I prepared myself. Right before the film started I said to myself "this is gonna be a movie either fans are gonna hate or love". The movie began. Two hours later I walked out satisfied as all hell. James Cameron and I saw a completely different movie than the critics did.
Is it as good as T1 or T2?
But it's RIGHT THERE! Worthy enough to be called a sequel. The true T3. SUCCESS! Now toke up like Arnold!
Now on to the story and plot and all that good stuff. It starts with some annoying ass explanation of Judgement Day and the end of the world and who's John Connor like someone who's never seen any Terminator would jump to see this. And then we get to the first thing I love. We get to see future war, IN THE STYLE IT WAS DEPICTED IN THE FIRST FILM!
So it starts off with showing what was established but not fully visually shown in the first film which is a smart way of connecting everything together. In 2029, Human Resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) launches a massive final offensive against Skynet and its time machine weapon. Before the Resistance is able to win the offensive, Skynet activates the time machine and sends back a T-800 Terminator to 1984 to kill John's mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). John's right-hand man, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), volunteers to travel back in time to protect her. As Kyle floats in the machine's magnetic field, he witnesses John being attacked by a new threat from Skynet (played by the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who, Matt Smith) and receives new memories from his childhood about events in 2017. Then we're transported into the first film and it's so respectful to James Cameron's originals. Details are fantastic and certain differences are key toward the whole "alternate past" timeline.
So just when you're thinking they might as well play the first film because it's a better fucking movie, it skews into something completely different, and now you're on a journey.
And yes, they give a simple but satisfying way as to why Arnold's model in this film is aged. The human tissue ages like tissue on any other human as his machinery inside slowly becomes more obsolete. So we enter a completely different 1984 from what Kyle Reese was sent to in T1. Sarah Connor knows everything she knows by the end of T2 already, and has an aged T-100 (Arnold) she named Pops, who was sent back to the past to protect Sarah Connor at the age of 9 from a T-1000 (which I believe might be the first model from T2 but it was never shown). Arnold takes the character to new heights and there's a great level of character development. The acting is phenomenal, all across the board. I'm not gonna get over how much ass Arnold continues to kick. It's so believable that this robot's outside tissue is aging as he becomes obsolete over decades (this movie fucks with a lot of time travel). The film explores so many aspects in the Terminator lore and it's all great to sit through. I'm not going to spoil the rest of the film (LIKE THE FUCKING TRAILER DID) so going into this film naked to the information would boost the plot points more for your viewing.
I didn't like Jason Clarke as John Connor nor did I like Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese. I liked the little bromance they show and they have good character development. BUT THEY ACTED SO BORING AND I DON'T LIKE THEIR FACES! I know I'm weird. Also, while I have to say, the special effects are spectacular and the action is grand and fantastic, CGI doesn't have that depth and weight that the classic effects have. There's nothing really in front of the camera, so there's no density, even if the designs are fantastic looking (which they are). Also while I just praised the fuck out of the storyline, the time traveling leads to some pointless explanations and ends up becoming it's own mess at some points. The pacing, while overall good, may have it's moments of either moving too fast or too slow. Honestly, fuck this unknown actor. James Cameron should've been involved!
Terminator Genisys is the true T3. It explores aspects from the first two films and expands the universe on it's own and introduces a villain to represent Skynet for the next films ahead with sharp writing, good character development, kick ass action, and nostalgia for the true Terminator fans. Now the movie hasn't been making a lot of money, and the critics have been bashing it, and I really fucking hope this film doesn't kill the franchise again because even if you hate this film (and I don't see a reason to fully HATE it), I think you would much rather see writers expand on this rather than the previous fuck ups. I hope James Cameron gets involved and saves this project if the idea dies out from the terrible backlash the film doesn't deserve. Terminator Genisys gets a 7.5 out of 10.
Now time for some kick ass reminiscing! CLASSIC MOVIE MOMENT! NEVER FORGET WHY TERMINATOR RULES!