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Movie Review: Terminator Genisys

By Edited Feb 13, 2016 0 0

Certificate 12A, 126 minutes

Director: Alan Taylor

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke

Terminator: Genisys opens on Judgement Day, August 29th 1997, when Skynet launches missiles at its human enemies, starting a war that wipes out three billion people. Following the war, a young Kyle Reese (Bryant Prince) is saved from a Terminator by John Connor (Jason Clarke, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and joins him fighting the war against the machines. In Los Angeles in 2029, Skynet is on the verge of defeat and John Connor is leading an attack on a Los Angeles facility. In it is Skynet's time machine, and the assault was too late to stop a T-101 being sent back to kill Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke).

John asks for volunteers, knowing full well that the now-adult Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) is going to volunteer and will be sent back. This proceeds as expected, but as Kyle is being transported in the machine, he sees a Terminator attack John.

Terminator Genisys
And this is where everything changes. The T-101 gets a surprise when it arrives in Los Angeles in 1984; there's an older version - "old, but not obsolete" - of the same design of Terminator, a T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), waiting there for it. The T-101 fares badly, and is destroyed. Kyle himself also gets a surprise. He's been told by John that Sarah is a simple waitress, is scared and weak and  will not know who he is or believe him, and is not at all prepared for what is about to happen. Instead, Kyle is ambushed by a T-1000 liquid metal Terminator (Byung-hun Lee, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, RED 2) that is waiting for him, and instead of him rescuing Sarah, she turns up and rescues him. She also has a pet Terminator that she calls "Pops." This Sarah Connor resembles more the one from Terminator 2 not The Terminator.

Sarah has been planning for years to stop Skynet, and this involves travelling through time again, to stop Skynet before it launches the attack, but events have already changed and Kyle convinces her to go to a later time in San Francisco. There, they discover that John Connor is no longer the last hope of humanity. Thanks to Skynet's attack on him as Kyle was being sent back to the past, John is now a Terminator, and is humanity's biggest threat rather than its saviour.

The film has fairly obvious, for those that have seen them, references to the first two films, The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation look to have been ignored; there doesn't seem to be any reference to them at all. There are elements of humour, such as Pops's attempts to blend in by acting human, and not least having an appearance by Matt Smith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) - probably best known for his role as the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who - appearing in a film with a plot related to time travel.

This is a reboot of the series more than it is the next in line, and there is a mid-credits scene that makes this clear, so watch out for it. The film is available in 2D and 3D, with the 2D version seen, although various scenes were quite obviously shot to take advantage of 3D. Terminator Genisys is an action-filled extravaganza of explosions, vehicle chases and indestructible robot killers. The effects are certainly spectacular and there are some nice pieces. There are problems with the film; for one thing, it can get very confusing - as Kyle says at one point "Time travel makes my head hurt." Because time travel plays a larger role in this film than it has in any of the others, it has a larger potential to make the plot confusing, which it unfortunately does. Time travel can be hard to handle at the best of times, even when you aren't changing timelines as well.

Another possible problem, depending on your point of view, is that there are quite a lot of, deliberate, references to the first two films, and there are scenes in Genisys that are clearly derived from scenes in both of those, which may or may not appeal. For example, in the original film, Kyle says to Sarah "Come with me if you want to live" as he turns up in a car after rescuing her from a Terminator; in this film it's the other way around, as Sarah turns up in a vehicle, does the rescuing, and says the same line. This is not the only time when a scene resembles that from the first two films, only shot differently or from a different point of view, and some may well not like it. Various lines and people also essentially refer to lines and people in the other two films, and Arnie, of course, says "I'll be back." Terminator Genisys is quite a fun film to watch, even if the plot is at times rather confusing, and whilst not as good as the first two films is better than the latter two.
Terminator Genisys egdcltd 2015-07-24 4.0 0 5
Terminator: Genisys
Amazon Price: $14.99 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 13, 2016)


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