The Mother of Dragons forgets her turquoise dress! An elderly terminator that needs to be in bed by 4 pm!
Bookshelf Q. Battler here with a review of Terminator Genisys
OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING
At the outset, let me give this film a compliment (of sorts):
1) It’s the best Terminator film since T2: Judgement Day…
2) …but that’s not saying much because Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation were a couple of hot steamy turd sandwiches served up on a pair of silver platters.
That’s not intended as an insult to this film. I just think it might be impossible to beat the moments of sheer terror and exhilarating action provided by the first two films in the franchise.
For a moment, that’s what I thought this film was trying to do. Hell, for a moment in the beginning, I thought it might even achieve that miraculous feat.
The film starts in 1984. Without letting the cat out of the bag, let’s just say that the original evil Arnold terminator from the first movie (i.e. a totally buff CGI version of Arnold in his prime) squares off against a nice Arnold terminator akin to John Connor’s protector in the second film. Meanwhile, a T1000, the shapeshifting liquid metal baddie from the second film jumps into the mix.
Sarah Connor (played by the Khaleesi..er I mean Emilia Clarke) and Kyle Reese (Sarah Connor’s human protector from the original film, played in this installment by Jai Courtney) round out the action.
In other words, it seemed like a great idea. Take the best parts of the best two films in the franchise and throw them together in one big mashup.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t last long as the story jumps to 2017, where Genisys, a new form of Skynet that takes advantage of our love/lust relationship with cell phones, social media, and non-stop connectivity, needs to be stopped.
Arnold plays “Pops,” another “good terminator,” this one having been sent back in time to be Sarah’s protector. We’re told that synthetic terminator skin ages over time, thus explaining why a man/machine looks like he’s ready to play a rousing game of bingo at the senior center. We (or at least I) go along with it to give the Governator another bite at the apple.
Why not? The guy did give us so many awesome action flicks when he was in his prime and oddly enough, the “old terminator” concept is touching at times.
I don’t want to give away who the ultimate baddie is in this film but suffice to say, I thought that part was dumb. Alas, I can’t tell you why without spilling the beans. Maybe after a week or two after folks have had the chance to see it I’ll talk about it.
Clarke provides a great performance in her first major role that doesn’t involve dragons. (Still, if there could be a Terminators vs. Dragons crossover that’d be epic).
That being said, she’s a far cry from actress Linda Hamilton, who as Sarah Connor in the first film, convinced me that she was a damsel in distress and in the second film, convinced me that she’d turned herself into a gung-ho no holds barred ready to rock robot killing machine.
Throughout the film, there’s a whole lot of “timeline stuff.” This happened in this timeline so that happened in that timeline. If that happens now will it happen later? Can people have two sets of memories, one from one timeline and one from another?
I don’t know. That part’s confusing. If you can figure it out, be my guest. I have a life, folks, so I don’t have time to sit down with a flowchart and a slide rule and figure out the various outcomes of what happens when fictional manbots do various things at different times.
Here’s a Pop Culture Mystery Question I need to ask Hatcher to track down:
1) If John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to save his mother, Sarah Connor (in the original 1984 version and in this one)
2) And John Connor is conceived as a byproduct of Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese boinking in the first film (I’m sorry, as a result of their love)
3) Then how is there a damn John Connor to send Kyle Reese back in time in the first place?
Thank God there’s a super sleuth in my employ to answer questions like these. This one’s been rattling around in my head for ages.
If you know the answer, help Hatcher out.
Overall, it is a solid summer blockbuster and it’s great to see aspects we loved from the first two films on the big screen again. It doesn’t rise up to the level of the first two, but it does surpass the third and fourth installments.
(The fourth installment being that one where Christian Bale played John Connor and famously shouted all kinds of abuse at a lightning guy for breaking his concentration.)
SIDENOTE – The CGI version of Arnold in his 1984 prime was pretty convincing. Will there ever be a time when movies could be made entirely using CGI characters? Do actors/actresses have something new to worry about?