Posted July 2, 2015 by editor in Film Reviews
 
 

Terminator Genisys Review


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Kyle Reese is sent back from the future to protect the mother (Sarah Connor played by Emilia Clarke) of the leader of the resistance (Jason Clarke) only to discover himself trapped in an alternate timeline to what we know from the past. Instead of rescuing Sarah Connor, she saves him from an attacking T-1000 Terminator (a model made popular in the second film).

Reese then finds out that Sarah has been raised by another model of Terminator (Schwarzenegger) and have been living in preparation to alter the future/past in order to avert the rise of the machines, once again.

This gets further complicated when they travel into the future and run into a familiar face who isn’t all they appear to be.

Quite simply this is a role/reversal tale.  Taking what we love about the first film and flipping the roles of all involved into something else, with a smattering of elements from other films along the way. But it isn’t too long into the film before it really does come undone and makes itself clear that it is about to make absolutely no sense to what has come before. And everything that then comes after it is quite messy – destroying a lot of time and effort and respect fans have put into the franchise. A love letter to the original then? NO

The new cast members are all fairly forgettable. Emilia Clarke may be riding strong from her leader role in game of Thrones, and here she plays another leader, but they have given Sarah Connor such basic characteristics that whenever you see her letting her own personality cause drama that it causes sighs of deflation as opposed to any kind of interest.

They may have changed the characters this time round, but really it isn’t for any better. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) as observer simply doesn’t work and is a mockery of the work Michael Biehn did back in 1984.

Which leads us to the big man himself:  Arnold cemented a terrifying figure in cinema history on the original film. This was turned on its head to make him the heroic figure he became in the second film – which to some degree many audience members out there still enjoy. Since then it’s been a deflated run of in jokes, line repetition and Arnold mugging at the camera for cheap laughs. Rise of the Machines all but destroyed the persona with some of the jokes played – and here it is taken further with his constant expression pulling (usually when he is trying to smile).

But the strange thing is that he steps in and out of the film so much that he begins to feel like a bit player in his own movie. This film is clearly more based on the Sarah Conner characters, as seen through the eyes of Kyle Reese. The Terminator is there mainly to help out when they begin to get chased.

 

The Terminator franchise as it stands has become so convoluted and nonsensical that it isn’t likely that any future films will get taken seriously. The pivotal element that the film relies on is reversing expectations of the first film. All characters are pretty much turned on their heads (Which worked fine for Terminator 2) but we end up stuck in yet another CGI heavy showdown with the need to destroy Skynet.

Characters are reworked, upgraded, and yet (like many modern day technological next generation platforms aimed at the modern audience) they often come with serious design flaws and lack any personification that makes it hard to love or care for any of them. And older audiences will already have that inbuilt love and appreciation for the original film.

As an action film it’s all sound and fury with little for us to get actually excited about. Often we are given signposts of what is to come which makes the action predictable.

Previous films begged the audience to deconstruct time itself to work out how it would or would not work. Half the fun was the conversations you had after the film about theories of time travel. This time round you’ll just not care. But then that may be the idea – that the 12A target audience doesn’t think too hard, any of their time.

Steven Hurst


editor