FilmMunch was fortunate enough to get tickets for an advance screening of Terminator Genisys. I’m going to keep this review as spoiler free as I can, but having said that, if you’ve seen the trailers, you’ll know that a lot has already been revealed. Terminator Genisys works to reinvigorate our Terminator lust, but fails to match the cinematic purity of T1 and T2.
I’d like this review to serve as, almost a preparatory review, in hopes that by reading it, you may be ready for what’s to come with Terminator Genisys. The first thing, that proves a little difficult to do, is get our head around the idea that this film isn’t a remake or even a sequel, but rather, a reboot. I think the definition of a reboot in this instance is broad, to say the least, because it does feel like a re-telling of the story we know, and it also feels like a follow-up of the story we know. The point is, Terminator Genisys is meant to be a new beginning, whether we like it or not. Even before this film was released, it was prepared as a trilogy, so there is every intention for this film to be a first film, and that’s why I don’t think this can be called T5, although for simplicities sake, we will…
Arnold Schwarzenegger is back! I think he’ll always be welcomed back as The Terminator, I mean, he IS The Terminator, so seeing him back as a T-800 with an ageing organic compound for flesh, is kind of awesome. He delivers some great lines and also provides some great humorous relief. Because of his age, I mean, he is 67, a lot of the hand to hand combat scenes do not look great, and the editing deliberately distracts us from actually enjoying the action. This was such a bummer for me, since we have been accustomed to elite action sequences, especially in T2. Still, I wouldn’t want anybody else to play the role of the beloved Terminator. Some of the jokes are repeated, even up to three times, which I thought was a little lame. Where is the creativity people!?
Sarah Conner, played by Emilia Clarke is also back, and she does feel like the Sarah Conner that we know, but in a more intermediate phase of her evolution. Emilia Clarke’s performance does justice, but it does prove difficult to get used to the idea of a new face for Sarah Conner. Again, be prepared to expect a new beginning for our beloved characters. It’s because of the fact that T5 is a new beginning that will tear audiences in two, I honestly believe people will either enjoy this film, or not. Some fan’s who grew up with T1 and T2 may enjoy this film. I know I found myself smiling for the first 30 minutes or so, because as Cameron did say, this film does pay it’s respect to the originals, which was great to see. Whilst other fans, perhaps the more ‘hardcore’ ones, will probably strongly dislike this film. New generation of viewers will find it entertaining and fun, and fingers crossed will ignite their curiosity to examine what came before.
T5 is a film more about Kyle Reese than any of the other Terminator films. Jai Courtney is Kyle Reese. I’ve actually always wanted to see more of the Kyle Reese persona, considering he was mostly always being chased by an evil T-800 in the first film. T5 does take the time to develop it’s characters and establish new found relationships, which is very important if we are going to draw out our emotions and actually care about these new faces that portray legendary characters. There is an interesting dynamic that we’ve never seen before, between Kyle Reese and John Conner, plus there is a re-imagining of the relationship between Sarah Conner and Kyle Reese, which I am inclined to accept. What I struggle with accepting is John Conner.
John Conner has been portrayed by 5 different actors so far, and I honestly think that the mythical character of John Conner is forever doomed! This part of T5 is what I struggle with most, and I think fans will be left scratching their heads on this point, what is John Conner’s fate!? Once you’ve all seen it you’ll know what I’m talking about, and we can discuss it at length.
And then there’s the time travel. I strongly suggest that it’s best not to think about this too much, because part of me reckons that not even the writers know what’s going on here. Some ‘new’ elements of time travel are thrown into the mix here, which will most likely seem confusing. I am sure there are going to be many plot-holes exposed regarding this, but hey, this is no where near a serious film as the first 2, but rather it narrowly misses being classified as a T3-like film. Be warned, this is a much lighter Terminator film that perhaps we wanted.
I was hoping for great and memorable action sequences. Once again there is heavy reliance on CGI and therefore the action seems blurry and messy. Credit must be given to the school bus scene, which they actually did flip in the air, under a controlled environment of course, although this stunt is not new, done before by Christopher Nolan in The Dark Knight, it’s always cool to see it done again. The sound effects are stand out. The score failed me, as much as Hans Zimmer, music producer and composer Lorn Balfe tried on this one, we don’t really get to hear the string motif that we really want to hear, you know, the one that made us cry in T2…
Terminator Genisys will entertain most, will have very few lovers, and I am sure will have more than a few haters.
TRIVIA COOKIE: There are several nods to T1 and T2. One that I found to be great was when Kyle Reese picks out his Nike Vandal shoes. Customer designer Susan Matheson was unable to buy any of the original shoes portrayed in T1 and because of her determination to stay as true as possible to the first film, and especially that scene, she got Nike to shutdown production to get 25 specially made Nike Vandals for the film. I do love this attention to detail.