Written by Christian James Haight
The “Terminator” franchise has a long list of productions. From the first two masterpieces that were written and directed by James Cameron, to a third and fourth film that were each directed by a different director. After “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” didn’t do so well from the viewpoint of the fans and critics, a television show, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” tried to make a breakthrough and bring the fans back to the franchise. Unfortunately, those fans didn’t buy into the show and it was cancelled after only two seasons. Once more, with a fourth installment and the casting of Christian Bale, Warner Brothers hoped to spark interest throughout audiences, and once again, it failed miserably.
Six years is long enough to give audiences a fresh view of a “Terminator” movie, and for that reason “Terminator Genisys” seemed like it may have some hope. With a storyline portrayed within the trailers that could potentially bring fans back to the big screen and bring the franchise back to life, it appeared that director Alan Taylor was on his way to make movie history. The only problem is, the movie is not at all what it could be. The first two movies were perfect due to Cameron’s eye for detail, and without his spectacular gift the other movies, including “Genisys” have fallen flat.
While it may be hard to do, it’s time to come to face the truth and realize there will never be another movie that depicts the world Cameron created in the first two movies. His depiction of a dark yet cinematically beautiful post-apocalyptic world was one of the best brought to the big screen, and that’s actually something that “Genisys” did well with interpreting. The quick shots of piles of skulls, the dark skies, and the hovercrafts scanning for humans all seemed to come straight out of the future that Cameron crafted. Due to that, the movie had a strong beginning. A scarred up John Connor, played by Jason Clarke, to show the damage the war has put on humans, as well as the hope that humanity had because of the strength and power that John had over the machines. It was truly a scene that could have been straight out of the first two movies.
As the movie began to progress, it seemed that Taylor was attempting to rewrite everything placed down within the first four movies. Not that he was ignoring the events within the movies, because it’s clear that he wasn’t, but instead he was attempting to create a storyline that would rewrite the first film and therefore dismiss anything that happened in the movies afterwards. Allowing for future installments to possibly completely forget about the previous films.
“Genisys” begins with the plot from the original movie, “The Terminator.” Just as the humans begin to celebrate defeating the machines in the war, they find out that the machines took one last measure by sending a T-800 terminator back in time to kill John’s mother before he was born. If she was killed then he could never be born, and if he was never born then a rebellion would have never been built and the machines would rule the world forever. In order to keep the machines from changing the future, John sends back his right-hand-man, Kyle Reese, played by Jai Courtney, through a time machine into the past. In the original movie, when Kyle was sent back, Sarah didn’t believe a word he said about being a soldier from the future who was sent back to save her life. In “Genisys,” Sarah was very aware of her dangerous situation, due to a terminator, played by Schwarzenegger, that saved her life when she was nine, and has been protecting her ever since.
Sarah and her protective terminator, which is listed as Guardian in the credits, have created a bond similar to a father and daughter, in fact so similar that Sarah even calls him Pops. While this is a cute and thoughtful gesture within the movie that a human and a machine can get along, it creates too much of a humanized sense towards the terminator, which completely takes away from the character. In the first movies, Swarzeneggar was very stiff, and any sort of humor given by his character was accidental. In “Genisys,” he’s a robot that loves “his Sarah,” tends to be hunched over a lot and responds with witty remarks. Even though he is on the good side, it needed to be clearer that he’s a terminator, and terminators are programmed to do two things, protect and kill. “Genisys” did not stick to this method, and even though Schwarzenegger practically created the T-800 terminator alongside Cameron, it almost seemed that he forgot how to play the role. Maybe it’s due to the fact that he hasn’t worked with Cameron on the role for fourteen years.
Even with the plot-holes that only became worse as the movie progressed, what truly ruined the film were the trailers. They revealed the big twist within the middle of the movie, and while allowing audience members to maybe become interested in the movie from the trailer, it ultimately kills the movie-going experience. So it may bring in the cash, but the audience will not leave satisfied about the plot. What they will be satisfied with is the action and the special effects. With Taylor’s past directing experience with “Thor: The Dark World,” he knows how to put an action scene into motion, and that really showed with “Genisys.” Even better was the special effects. In the beginning there was a great action scene between two different terminators, one was the Schwarzenegger we know today, and the other was thirty years younger. Taylor gathered a team of designers who brought Australian bodybuilder Brett Azar to set to double as Schwarzenegger’s younger body. They then transformed his face in the post-production to look like Schwarzenegger’s. Almost the exact same thing was done for a scene in “Salvation,” the only difference was that here it actually looked real.
“Terminator Genisys” had a lot of problems, and because of that as a standalone movie or as a fifth installment, the movie deserves to go nowhere. Even with the satisfying action scenes and special effects, it isn’t enough to get over the large hump of plot-holes and overall bad writing. That being said, the end-mid-credits scene left the movie completely open for another sequel, and another movie could possibly fix the terrible plot holes found within “Genisys.” It didn’t come close to matching Cameron’s first two “Terminator” movies, but if a few sequels are handled well, Taylor could have the opportunity to turn an okay-at-its-best movie into a good reboot.
- Director: Alan Taylor
- Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, Matt Smith, Byung-Hun Lee, JK Simmons
- Genre: Action and Adventure
- Run Time: 2 hours 2 minute
Pros: The scenes that take place in the future are well crafted and stay true to James Cameron’s vision; some great computer effects; lots of fun action.
Cons: As the movie progresses the plot holes thicken; ineffective attempts of humor; poorly written.
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