TERMINATOR: GENISYS – “Old, But Not Obselete”

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The latest TERMINATOR is worth watching. Forget the disappointments of the last two sequels and give this “Reset” a chance. Fans of the original film will get extra enjoyment, as several sequences are recreated within an entirely different context.

GENISYS delivers on the sci-f elements of time travel and artificial intelligence, fully exploring the ramifications of manipulating timelines.

click, listen, scroll – with the original TERMINATOR theme music

Arnold Schwarzengger is the real highlight here. He’s back, with his best role in a long time. Schwarzenegger’s character (lovingly referred to as “Pops“) has quite an arc, spanning across several films. Arnold started out as the villain, then became the hero. Now, he’s both.

This time out with GENISYS, his Terminator has been babysitting Sarah Connor for years, waiting the arrival of the original Terminator assassin in the 80s.

Sarah Connor – played by Emilia Clarke (Daenerys, GAME OF THRONES)

While this sort of jumbled timeline stuff may seem confusing, GENISYS was just complicated enough. It was the perfect balance of entertainment and intellectual engagement.

If you want to, you can figure out the timelines. The filmmakers have thought this out. I bet they assumed the Internet would pick apart any plotholes, so they addressed them during the scripting stage.

I won’t get into any Spoilers here, as there a lot of surprises – ranging from what Genisys is, to what Skynet is, to who the real antagonist is.

TERMINATOR: GENISYS has an engaging plot, keeping us entertained while there are breaks in the action. Time travel and killer robots is just about as nerdy a concept as you can get. Sci-fi movie fans will get a kick out of this new story.

Action fans won’t be disappointed either. TERMINATOR films are basically chase pictures. The whole story is driven by pursuit. Our heroes are always in danger. GENISYS continues this exciting tradition.

The first act  actually has two great antagonists hot on the trail of our heroes: the original young Arnold T-800 and a new T-1000.

With GENISYS, Sarah Connor leads the way. This time out, Emilia Clarke (Daenerys from GAME OF THRONES) portrays one of cinema’s ultimate bad-asses. Clarke delivers.

Connor’s personality is much different than the Sarah we met in the original TERMINATOR movie decades ago. Clarke is more like Edward Furlong’s John Connor from T2. She’s more rebellious, with some quick wit and a mischievous attitude.

“Say it one more time, Internet… One more.”

Jai Courtney (DIVERGENT, SUICIDE SQUAD) plays Kyle Reese this time around. He’s no Michael Biehn (the original Reese), but he’s more than adequate in this role. There was an emotional moment where his subtle delivery worked well.

Courtney’s got a lot of flack for his acting thus far. I think this is just some bad luck with some bad scripts. Let’s just say, the latest DIE HARD wasn’t a compliment to the franchise. Look to the SPARTACUS series to see Courtney in a better role.

The film opens in the future, where we learn Reese’s backstory. It isn’t long before John Connor (Jason Clarke; ZERO DARK THIRTY, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES) sends him out on the time travel mission to protect Sarah (his mother).

Much of the first act focuses on setting up the story. I really appreciate this. By the time Reese goes back to the 80s, we are more invested in his mission. We also are forced to consider his point of view even more. Surprisingly, there are a few moments of emotion with this character. Despite the naysayers, I feel like Courtney handles these scenes pretty well.

Let’s face it. We don’t really watch TERMINATOR movies for the acting. We watch it for the action and the sci-fi elements. And GENISYS delivers.

Alan Taylor directed several episodes for GAME OF THRONES and the latest THOR movie. He knows how to handle action. This film isn’t overtly stylish, but it has several impressive visual sequences.

There are some negatives getting a lot of attention, like the trailer ruining the true antagonist and the CG young Arnold. Worry not, fence sitters. The antagonist twist works and young Arnold works.

This sequence where the two Arnolds square off is brief. And the CG effects look a lot better in the cinema. The reason for the two Arnolds, story-wise is the most impressive part. This doesn’t feel like a gimmick, it feels natural with the story they’re telling.

That’s CGI?!

Actually, the CGI used to make Schwarzenegger seem younger in the 90s set parts is even more subtle. It’s way more effective then the same method used in X-MEN with James Stewart and Ian McKellan. While I’m assuming most nit-pickers will be quick to point out the CG nude buff 80s Arnold, I bet they miss the CG de-aging effect on 90s Arnold. Just sayin’ 😉

Fans of the first two TERMINATORS finally get the sequel they deserve. The story has enough twists, the characters are interesting, the jokes work well, and the action is exciting. There are also several enjoyable throwback homages referencing the James Cameron films, as well as some Reset timeline do-overs.

I enjoyed GENISYS more than JURASSIC WORLD. I never expected that either. 

If you were dubious about GENISYS because of its dumb sounding title and your mild-insufferable-case of sequel-itis, fear not. This summer action flick is worth the price of admission. 

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What do you think?

Check out my earlier analysis (1 of 2 articles) based on the trailer.

Young Sarah with the T-800… a.k.a. Best Babysitter Ever

I also deconstruct the confusing time travel stuff, like the Law of the Observer.

Should Edward Furlong be playing future John Connor by now?

What was your favourite Reset sequence?

Leave a comment below.

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8 thoughts on “TERMINATOR: GENISYS – “Old, But Not Obselete”

  1. I dig your reviewing style Dan. I’m new around here but I’m really enjoying the in-depth work you put in here. And yes, I thought Genisys didn’t deserve the bashing it has received (and will continue to receive). Those moments where Arnie smiled all cheesy, man I cracked up. So good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for checking out the site and your compliment, Tom. I enjoy longer reviews myself. After i watch a movie, i love hearing what my fellow nerds think in their reviews. It’s part of the experience. I hope you enjoy the view around here.

      I thought this movie was better than most reviews too. And I laughed at that goofy smile, just like you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you. If you’re a Terminator fan you definitely gotta watch it no matter what anyone says. Thanks for commenting, Mel.

      I really do think Genisys is worth watching. I thought this sequel delivered. The timeline stuff kept me on top of my toes, there were some good laughs, and the action was exciting.

      Liked by 1 person

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