TERMINATOR GENISYS (2015): Movie Review 😱👤👤👤👤
— by Darren Marlar
Terminator Genisys… meh. I should’ve known something was amiss when they couldn’t figure out how to spell the second word in the film’s title correctly.
Honestly, this movie would’ve been a whole heckuva lot more entertaining had the marketing guys not inserted the one gigantically massive plot twist right into the trailer.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a “fun” film – but is that all you’re looking for in a film with the word “Terminator” in the title? It’s not scary like the original The Terminator, and it’s not nearly as thrilling as Terminator 2: Judgement Day (affectionately known by fans as T2), but it can’t even overtake Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines or Terminator Salvation – both of which were also awful, and both of which were ignored and not considered canon for this sequel.
Arnold Schwarzenegger might’ve had top billing, but this was Emilia Clarke’s film. I am not familiar with any of Emilia’s other works (I’ve not seen “Game of Thrones”, please don’t bug me about it – I really don’t care), and despite being too short and only having a passing resemblance to Linda Hamilton, she was okay as Sarah Connor. It’s hard to believe Clarke is almost thirty years old here; she really looks closer to the 19-year-old Sarah Connor she is portraying. Spot-on casting if age matters, but otherwise… no.
Jai Courtney, cast to play fan favorite Kyle Reese (originally played by Michael Biehn) likely did not make any new fans of his own with this film. I can only assume that Jai was not paid enough to actually show up to the set and just sent in a flesh suit. If I knew nothing previously of this movie’s plot, I’d have to wonder if Jai was cast as a new Terminator. His performance was stilted and emotionless. I did not feel any chemistry between him and Emilia… or him and Arnold for that matter.
Arnold was… well… Arnold. I will say that the explanation of the T800’s aging was a nice (and obviously necessary) touch, and the scenes of the younger T800 (Arnold, circa 1984) look really good to me (despite the bashing it gets from others). Unfortunately, the attempted humanizing of the T800 makes Arnold more of comedy sidekick than a star in this film.
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
Jason Clarke (cast as John Connor) was hit and miss. I do believe he would’ve done a much better job in the role had he been given a better script to work with. I considered not saying more about this character in order to avoid potential spoilers, but as they placed the plot twist directly into the film trailers, I can’t imagine I’ll be ruining the movie for anyone by saying… John Connor is, well… Cyber-John. That being said, Jason Clarke had to share a lot of screen time with CGI masking his every move and facial expression, so you just don’t end up caring about him one way or another. Had I not known beforehand what would happen, I’d say he was great… in the first half of the film. After that he just became “generic villain guy”.
The original Terminator film had to rely on mostly practical effects and stop-motion animation, which gave it a creepy feel – perfectly in line with its intention as a “horror film”. Terminator 2: Judgement Day moved away from horror, by adding a touch of humor in just the right places and incorporating cutting-edge special effects that blew audiences away while also following a well-crafted script. It was almost the perfect sequel even if it did move away from the original horror genre.
Terminator Genysis has neither of these things.
The special effects are no longer unique, so they are not special or attention-grabbing. The script is full of time-travel plot holes (which is standard fare for the franchise), and the film tries to inject humor, and finds slapstick instead.
As for horror – there is none. (Was there supposed to be scary elements in this? Honestly, I didn’t jump once – and I was even wearing 3D glasses.) The overuse of CGI, combined with the spoilers in the trailer, pull you completely out of the story. You never really have a chance to “buy in”. I found myself more concerned with whether or not the popcorn butter was going to stain my shirt than what happened to the characters on the screen.
One thing Terminator Genysis does have going for it, however, is nostalgia. The first half hour of the film is practically a curtsy and bow to the first film, even re-creating some key scenes with great attention to detail. Had the entire film been that way, I’m sure audiences would be clamoring for more. Or perhaps not, since we got all of that in the first Terminator. Either way, once we move off that nostalgia railroad track, the true railroad wreck begins.
I think the Terminator franchise is salvageable – but only if it’s brought back to its roots. Remember when a giant metal skeleton with a limp coming after you to terminate your existence was a scary thing? That should be a scary thing, shouldn’t it? Heck, the franchise began as an actual, legitimate nightmare that James Cameron had in his sleep.
We need to return to the scares; return to the horror genre that launched it all. Lose all but only the absolutely necessary CGI, use practical effects as much as possible, and bring in someone to write and direct who knows horror. The film wouldn’t need to be R rated necessarily (although I believe it could benefit from it) – but it needs to be terrifying.
And that means finally letting Schwarzenegger go. You’ve had a good run, buddy, but not only are you getting too old for the role, let’s face it – your smiling, cheesy-one-liners-dropping-T800 is not and will not ever be scary again.
Only 1 out of 5 screams for this one. And that’s being generous. 😱👤👤👤👤