ByVacub Caquix, writer at
Cinema and Literature, two of my greatest passions

When the first poster of Terminator Genisys saw the light the one thing that everybody could notice was that the image of the metallic endo skull represented as well an hourglass, warning us about the inevitable coming of the Judgment Day, again. What nobody told us was that the hourglass of the poster only meant to be final countdown to the annihilation of the Terminator Franchise. By the time Terminator Genisys finished, many fans would have wanted to use the Time Displacement Equipment to go back into the past and prevent Genisys to exist. Even now, Terminator Salvation does not seem to be such a bad movie, although it never was as many criticized it.

2015 has been the year when some of the most important sagas have relaunched or reinvented their properties. See for example the unanimously praised [Mad Max: Fury Road](tag:41445), or Jurassic World, which is breaking box-office records and nobody thought that that was going to happen. Moreover, critics have not been that bad towards the film. On Fall and Christmas, Spectre will debut and people expect that the new chapter in the Bond franchise would be as good as Skyfall, especially if we consider the cast assembled for it. Needless to say, the eyes of the world will be closely looking at [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158). We will see if the force is indeed strong with filmmaker J.J. Abrams. But where does Terminator fit in this 2015? Unfortunately, the new chapter in the Terminator saga is disappointing.

James Cameron's Terminators are a standout in the film history. Up to date, Judgement Day still posses some of the very most breathtaking and impressive special effects. Proof of that is the T-1000 of Cameron versus the poor imitation of T-1000 of Genisys. However, special effects are the least of the problems of Terminator Genisys. The movie is poorly acted, badly scripted and, worst of all, wrongly developed. It has been argued in support of Genisys that it does a good job in introducing new timelines and alternate universes within the same core of the story. Sadly, it is not enough to hold together the premise and the seemingly innovative ideas behind the film remain undeveloped.

Has the Terminator franchise given up the ghost?
Has the Terminator franchise given up the ghost?

The Terminator and Judgement Day played with the idea of a world controlled by machines and it also teased an unavoidable dystopian future. Indeed, seeing the world of today as a world controlled by big companies that carelessly treat their employes as objects is not far distant from the machine world that Cameron imagined and presented in his movies. Or take for example the "control" we are "victims" by using a cell phone and internet. A world controlled by technology. Of course there are many other aspects in the subtext in the first two Terminator movies, nonetheless the subsequent sequels, including and especially Genisys, were not able to top.

From the very beginning, Terminator Genisys is a mess. Once we have been shown the end of the world we finally get to see the famous last and final battle against the machines. Many fans destroyed Terminator Salvation but it does successfully accomplished one thing: the world presented as the wasteland it is supposed to be after the awakening of Skynet. Genisys on the contrary shows a well uniformed, equipped, shaped Resistance. A Resistance that, according to what we saw in Cameron's films, had nothing but garbage and its will to fight. Plausibility, in that sense, is another problem of Genisys.

Now it is time to analyze the role of Sarah Connor. By now we all must agree that the one true important figure inside the first two Terminator films is no other than Sarah. It is true that John Connor will lead humanity to victory, yet Cameron did not concentrate in dealing with the future, not to the expense of the present. Sarah is pivotal in the story and Linda Hamilton delivered an astounding performance. From The Terminator to Judgement Day we see the evolution of Connor as character. She went from being the fragile, afraid lady that needed protection to the become a warrior that prepares the arrival of the savior of the world. But she does not need to tell us that. We have seen the actions and events that led her from one point to the other. That is why the explanation that Emilia Clarke's Sarah Connor gives to Kyle Reese is unnecessary and pointless. We do not need her to tell us that, we would actually like to see it through the film. Emilia does a satisfactory job in the role but never reaches the level of Hamilton in the character. The Sarah Connor of Genisys feels plain, unappealing and unconvincing.

Terminator Genisys did not do the series justice.
Terminator Genisys did not do the series justice.

Finally, we come to the great really problem of Terminator Genisys. The alternate past and future. James Cameron told us in his movies that humans won the war against the machines. For this reason, The Terminator universe will always be a loop. In one hand we have free will and on the other we have destiny. As long as those operate in the same scenario the result will always be the same: destiny over free will. And you may think 'that is not true, I make my own decisions'. In the case of destiny and free will interacting in the same story, a person may chose A, B or C, but in the end he/she will reach destiny. If the path is shorter or longer it does not matter because destiny will prevail. Free will and destiny cannot coexist in the same room.

And Genisys proved that. It does not matter how many times Skynet sends a Terminator back in past to kill Sarah Connor, she will always survive. And it does not matter how many times Connor tries to stop Judgment Day because it needs to happen for John Connor to have a reason to exist. And John Connor will always win the war against the machines making Skynet to send a Terminator to kill her mother and prevent his existence. If this is not the case, why then director Alan Taylor took the time to tell us that Skynet core was not destroyed and unaffected? Because the whole plot of the Terminator franchise revolves around the countless and infinite times that Skynate may take to kill Sarah Connor or John Connor, but the final victory of the humans, and Judgment Day as well, is as secure as the sunrise.

Terminator Genisys was not much expected and it did not met its own expectations but if this is the first entry in a new trilogy, we may consider the possibility of seeing again a movie that could have been directed by Michael Bay, which at least would have had much better special effects. And, who knows, a better story. Or do Genisys production really wanted us to buy the idea of a Terminator that developed feelings? For real? It is a machine, that has been clear since 1984.


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