Terminator Genisys – Movie Review
Director: Alan Taylor
Writers: Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke
Arnie is back in the fifth instalment of the Terminator franchise, which started with the 1984 James Cameron classic. This time out, we start in the future where John Connor is just about to win the battle against the machines. It is a story we already know but have never seen, as Kyle Reese offers to travel to 1984 to help save the life of Sarah Connor. Something goes wrong as we get to see John Connor attacked as Kyle disappears into another time and space. It becomes obvious that something has altered in the time line, as in this 1984 Sarah Connor is no longer the quiet waitress we originally encountered, but a hardened warrior with a previous incarnation of the Arnold terminator in tow.
The film starts at a blistering pace as Arnold battles Arnold at different ages and incarnations. There is a brief stay in 1984 before the story moves to 2017 and the real battle to stop Skynet from ever existing begins in earnest.
The plot is difficult to summarize as in truth, it has a lot going on. The original film had a wonderful simplicity to it. The time travel was dealt with in the opening moments before it settled into a simple chase film, with the unstoppable monster pursuing the innocent. The stream has long since been polluted though, as has the time line, with much unnecessary complication to confuse and divert attention away from character.
The sequence set in 1984 is by far the most involving and it would have been a better film if it had stayed in that time line, if slightly derivative. The move to 2017 and the battle with a new incarnation of the terminator, along with various car, bus and helicopter chases never quite hold the attention in the manner of the original, having long since jumped the shark. The pace of the film is unrelenting as if there is a constant fear of the audience being bored by lack of explosions and chases.
If there is a single reason to watch this film it is certainly Schwarzenegger who emerges as the only likeable character and delivers his many one liners with droll efficiency. Arnold has moved from whipping boy of the critics to screen legend, and it is hard not to respect what this body builder from Austria has achieved. While his external human tissue ages his internal robot remains ageless, and he kicks much ass over the course of this film, if at a slightly slower pace than before.
This is a film that proves that more is less and the lack of character development and a cohesive story line is all too obvious. The plot doesn’t take itself seriously and goes for obvious gags on a number of occasions, which makes the endless battles and chases that follow harder to accept. The re-casting of the Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor is a major failing, as they move away from hardened warriors to clean cut, pretty young things. There is no attempt to finish the franchise, and there’s little doubt that it will be back, with or without Arnold, but this film does little to add to the existing tales of the machines from the future hell bent on human destruction!
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