It starts with a narration. Like Sarah and John Conner before him, Kyle Reese paints us familiar scenario. The end of the world, Judgement day. With a slow down version of the The Terminator Theme, gently playing over the images of bombs exploding, I suddenly came to the realization of just how far removed the previous two films were. Working as a sequel and a reboot, Genisys sees the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger in what is the fifth film in the Terminator franchise, revisiting the events of James Cameron’s original 2 movies. But is the inclusion of Schwarzenegger enough to bring the series back from the dead? Or put another way..can Schwarzenegger save the future?
Finally, after 30 years, we arrive where it all begun. Since the very first film, we learned of how Skynet, the self aware AI computer, had sent back in time a Cyborg to kill Sarah Conner. The mother of resistance leader John Conner, was protected by a lone soldier from the future Kyle Reese. Both the Terminator and Reese were sent into the past through a time machine that Skynet had created. As a young boy, I often wondered what the time machine might look like or how the resistance came to discover the machine. When Terminator salvation came out, I thought the film would explore this obvious story line, consider the film was set in the post Judgement Day world. Unfortunately, it did not, and the lack luster story line and poor production left us with only one legacy , just how angry Christian Bale can get on set! After three decades, finally, a Terminator film deals with the machine that is the progenitor of the series. Finally , we get to see the time machine!
Nearing the end of the War, John Conner leads a final assault against Skynet and its time machine weapon . Arriving too late, Skynet has already sent a Terminator back to kill his mother in 1984. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) volunteers to go back in time in order to protect her. Entering the machine, Reese finds himself in 1984 Los Angeles. But something is terribly wrong. The naive, waitress he had come to protect is now a strong, stubbon warrior. Knowing Reese to be the father of her future child, she saves him from a T1000, with the help of her new protector a reprogrammed T800 (Model 101), programmed to save Sarah at all costs. With the time lines skewed, Genisys becomes a reboot of sorts, but one very faithful to its source material. The easiest way of getting your head around the new time line is to simply forget about Terminator 2. Those events have been altered and the T1000 and the reprogrammed T800 did not get sent to John as a child, they were sent to Sarah in 1973, when she was a young girl. These events have now altered everything and once again the future of man kind is in jeopardy.
Any fans of the first Terminator are in for a real treat, with the inclusion of shot for shot recreations of some of the earlier scenes, and some of the classic lines played out in completely different, and sometimes shocking, ways. The script is very careful to create something new, but never strays too far from the first two films, and at times , you’ll often find yourself gladly reminded of a scenes from the previous movies. It’s these constant homages to its predecessors that makes this film so much more enjoyable. I was hoping that they would use more of the original Terminator score, but the subtle experts played through out are enough to accent the film. When the score does kick in, it raises hairs on your arms.
The film is the fourth Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator film, with a CG double standing in for him in salvavtion. The films VFX artists have done some remarkable work in creating a younger CG Arnold, and some digital age reduction that is hard to spot, until you see the true aged Arnold later in the film. Whilst Schwarzenegger does not have the same impact emotionally as he did in Terminator 2, little reminisces break through and there is one scene in particular that really tugged at my heart. Schwarzenegger has still got it, and it’s great to see him return to the series that made him an icon.
Emilia Clarke has a great turn as a Sarah Conner, the second Game of thrones star to take on the character, as Lena Headey did in the Terminator tv series The Sarah Conner Chronicles. Clarke’s first few moments on screen are shouty impersonations of Linda Hamilton, untill she settles in to the role and starts to have fun with it. My only criticism is that her characters dialogue and some of her mannerisms are not that of someone that grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, making her feel a little too modern. Jai Courtney’s Reese is a little jarring, being a little whiny and mindless . Reese should not be muscular eye-candy. He is a soldier sent to protect the most important woman in history. With this in mind, Jason Clarke’s John Conner is a little to jovial. From what we have seen of John in the Future, he is hard man, a man with a great weight on his shoulders. In Genisys, he tells a lot of jokes and is silly at times. I personally did not find his performance very believable.
Terminator Genisys is a courageous first step, in a new series of films. It’s clever, action packed and quite funny at times. It manages to find a good mix of action, comedy and emotion to make it a highly entertaining film and worthy sequel to the first two. It might be a tad confusing to anyone that has not seen the first couple of films, but it still would be an action packed and enjoyable movie. It has an oddball cast with little chemistry and the script can be a little too goofy at times. Terminator 2 is one of my favorite films , and I believe Genisys is a fantastic sequel and companion to it! Yes, it’s cheesy and full of plot holes, but I honestly did not care, as it was just pure fun!
Genisys opened this week to a poor reception in the US and so it’s fate lies in the balance. Will we see the any further films? Who knows..as the future is not set!
- Overall Score 39% 39%