Terminator: Genisys is the latest attempt at re-vitalising the magic the first two Terminator movies gave us in the 80's and 90's...emphasis on the attempt.
Director: Alan Taylor
Writer: Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier, James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd
Producer: Bill Carraro, David Ellison, Megan Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier, Paul Shwake
Cinematographer: Kramer Morgenthau
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney
The Terminator of course is one of the worlds biggest and well known icons and landmarks in cinema history, that's lead to many attempts at carrying its magic through with a new modern vision on the franchise. This new vision, brought us the disappointments we know as Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation. So the question is how does this movie hold up when held up against its disappointing predecessors? Surprisingly well.
The movie seems to have dumped the movies previous timelines, and create a semi-new one? John Connor (Jason Clarke) whom we know as leader of the resistance against the machines, sends back Kyle Reece (Jai Courtney) to protect his mother Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and ensure security to John Connor's future efforts against the machines. However, a fractured timeline forces Kyle Reece to overcome a series of twists and obstacles to ultimately reset the future.
Alan Taylor's take on The Terminator is one that tries to wipe out the aforementioned disappointments of the franchise and does so by the skin of its teeth. Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Guardian of Sarah Connor with excellent style. Arnie honestly has never been better on screen, providing you with some hilarious moments that seem to give you a light break from some serious brain ache as a result to find out what point in time the characters are at, and giving as that ultimate Arnie badass moment that appears in the previous Terminator movies as well as his other huge action flicks he has under his belt.
This year has had a decent start in terms of CGI in the huge blockbusters that have been released so far. Avengers: Age of Ultron, Fast & Furious 7, Mad Max and Jurassic World all have had an excellent blend of CGI and this certainly adds to the collection. Alan Taylor didn't get rid of the iconic animatronic of the machines either which I loved that is included in a great opening sequence that really got my hopes up. A great opening battle scene which is fuelled with some great and at sometimes nostalgic CGI that successfully sets the sci-fi action tone very early on in the movie. The CGI which is meant to replicate a younger Arnold Schwarzenegger is also surprisingly well done and incredibly satisfying. I've always been a bit shaky when studios decide to computer generate a younger version of one of their stars as seen in Tron: Legacy, which really wasn't well done at all when trying to recreate a younger Jeff Bridges.
However, after the great opening scene the movie seems to deplete into script-spaghetti. A convoluted character and script mess turn this movie into a non-immersive movie that completely confuses you and relies too heavily on the screen presence of Schwarzenegger.
The acting in this picture really grew stale from start. Jai Courtney really didn't sell the role of Kyle Reece at all, and portrayed yet another bland performance. I am convinced however that he will break out of this bland iceberg he seems to be trapped in, and hopefully his role in Suicide Squad next year will make me look differently upon him. He just seems to be choosing to wrong movies to be in at this point, his role in the derailment that is A Good Day to Die Hard is a perfect example which holds resemblance to his bland and uncharismatic performance in this movie. Emilia Clarke's portrayal of the icon that is Sarah Connor, really got me excited during the first 30 minutes (kind of brought out the inner Game of Thrones fanboy) but her faked American accent began to wear off on me and sometimes fell to a slight East End London accent which seemed to break her character. Arnold Schwarzenegger is however the star of the show, and really nailed it with another classic performance, but forms an unhealthy reliance on his presence, which left me feeling uninterested every time he left the screen.
The timeline of the franchise now seems completely broken. There are times where I gave up on trying to understand what point of time the characters are in and why they are there, not only that buy why the writers chose to take this approach in the first place. A lot of the poor acting comes down to some poor characterisation given to them by the writers in opinion, as there is some great talent in the movie but just aren't developed enough as characters or made likeable.
Now, the elephant in the room is most definitely the colossal mistake in marketing the film on the studios part. The action set pieces of movie are entertaining and some are more well done than others, but almost every action set piece of the movie are all shown in the trailer as well as a huge plot twist which could have taken the franchise in a totally new direction. If they had not been shown in the trailer I believe I would be satisfied as there are some big cinematic action scenes which are great and some other not so great ones which at times feel unnecessary. Anyone intending to see the movie this weekend I strongly advise you avoid the all the trailers at all all costs, as it'll give you a blank image of how the film will carry out.
Terminator Genisys is the better instalment since Terminator 2: Judgement Day although it could be far better. There are glimpses of what the franchise could be with some great effects and designs of new Terminator models and technology, but are brought down by bad acting, writing and characterisation. There are rumours that there have been two confirmed and written Terminator scripts for upcoming films, and so I hope they really evaluate what they did right and wrong and listen to our feedback to re-install that magic and originality the first two had. Terminator Genisys is an attractive mess which will leave some fans of the franchise satisfied and some not. Lets just hope James Cameron decides to take the next few under his arm.