Upgrade for Skynet
The Terminator franchise launched its fifth film in the series this week in the UK, Terminator Genisys.
Arnie returns to the role of the T-800 that sparked his action film career back in 1984, but this time Skynet is so intent to exterminate mankind, that it creates a whole new timeline and alternate future.
The original two Terminator films of the 80’s and early 90’s proved to be a massive hit and a great boost for professional body builder Arnold Schwarzengger’s movie career. Terminator 1 and 2 were a great blend of fast paced action, science fiction and terrifying storyline of a bleak future that depended on one person being born, to lead the human race’s fight for survival. After the first two Terminator films, a fan base had been established and the hunger for more tales of Sarah Connor’s fight against the machines and the impending judgement day, were anticipated by every fan of the original two movies. But it wasn’t until 2003 that this fan base got its next taste of the Terminators in Jonathan Mostow’s flop of a film entitled Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
James Cameron then went on to write the Terminator TV series; ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles,’ that only lived a short 31 episodes over two series, after being cancelled by the Fox network. So what had gone wrong with the franchise? Had they left it too long? Or was it the fact that all three Terminator movies circled around the same storyline of Terminator sent back in time to kill said Connor family member? Going with the latter in 2009, the franchise was given new life again, but this time set after Judgement day in the future, following the adventures of the human resistance, led by Christian Bale’s John Connor. Again, for some reason, this movie didn’t have the intended wow factor that the first two movies had, was Terminator now obsolete?
Back to present day 2015 and the release of Terminator Genisys. This time no James Cameron as the writer, Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island, Avatar) takes the story reins with Alan Taylor (Thor2: The Dark World) as director to hopefully give Skynet the much needed upgrade we have all been waiting for.
Terminator Genisys starts in the future of 2029 as we join John Connor leading the human residence on its last push to take down Skynet and win the machine wars once and for all. Skynet’s last defence is to send the T-800 back in time to kill Sarah Connor, mother of John Connor, and change the future (the first Terminator film). John knows what he needs to do, after secretly training his right hand man (and dad to be), Kyle Reese, for this all his life; he sends him back in time following the T-800 to protect Sarah Connor and also become his father. Just as Kyle Reese is sent back in time, John is attacked by a new breed of Terminator; hence changing the Terminator franchise time line forever!
In this new alternate past, an older T-800 (played by Arnie) had already been sent back to stop the events of the first Terminator movie, so the watcher gets to relive some of the original Terminator movie scenes with this new time line twist. Personally I really enjoyed watching 2015 Arnie fight it out with his younger 1984 self, which made for some incredible cinematic footage.
Emilla Clarke (Game of Thrones) takes the role of Sarah Connor, as she struggles to become the battle hardened mother of the human race’s saviour that we saw in Terminator 2: Judgement day. Emilla’s acting is spot on as always, bringing an emotional and hard hitting performance to the role, but not as raw and cold as Linda Hamilton’s performance as the same character in Terminator 2: Judgement day.
This film is littered with old and new acting talent from Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Plant of the Apes), Jai Courtney (Insurgent) and Matt Smith (Dr Who) to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who work so well together on screen and draw the audience into their world, for a thrill ride of action and science fiction.
This movie is a great blend of everything that people loved about the Terminator franchise, with a new twist that leads the story in a new direction. Some may say it’s too similar to the storyline of Judgement day, but I would say it’s a good update to the franchise and bringing it into modern day life of social media and online life.
This IS the injection that the Terminator franchise so sorely needed.