Spencer’s 90 Second Movie Review of ‘Terminator Genisys’
With a disappointing third place opening weekend, does 'Terminator Genisys' have what it takes to recover in week two? WARNING: This review will have SPOILERS.
Directed by Alan Taylor. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Matt Smith, Courtney B. Vance, Byung-hun Lee
Let's be honest, I was only cautiously optimistic about throwing down some hard-earned dollars after the last 'Terminator' movie. Even though 'Terminator Genisys' was to mark the return of star Arnold Schwarzenegger to the franchise and featured some over-the-top marketing including James Cameron (The Terminator's original writer/director) who filmed a public endorsement of the movie, I just couldn't make myself get excited.
I was a huge fan of the first two movies, the rest seemed contrived. What bothered me the most about 'Genisys' was that the trailers seemed to give too much away. I purposely made myself switch the channel as to not catch any spoilers.
The opening 30 minutes of the movie work very well as a prequel/remake of Cameron’s 1984 'The Terminator', with familiar, down the the exact same shots and angles as a reintroduction of the audience to the original plot. The Resistance is fighting back against Skynet and winning, we even see how the machines send the T-800 back to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor. We also see Kyle Reese volunteering to go back and protect her. Let me stop here and say that I much preferred Michael Biehn's Reece to Jai Courtney's first because of Biehn's skill as an actor and that Biehn looked like he could have come out of the mechanical apocalypse, where as Jai looks like he just walked out of a 24 Hour Gym.
Maybe it was just me, but I immediately recognized a previous 'Doctor' (Matt Smith) from 'Doctor Who' which clued me into what the 'surprise' was going to be a few minutes later. This might have been the start of some cool things about to happen in the movie, unfortunately it wasn't meant to be.
That's where the familiarity ends and the convolution begins.
Ok, so Reece is back in 1984 and there to meet him is a T-1000, (with no explanation as to why it is there, ever given), now in an alternate time line. It is revealed that another Terminator was sent back even further in time to when Sarah was a child, to raise her to become a warrior, thus changing the timeline.
The 'old' Terminator has been named 'Pops' by Sarah. I guess calling him 'Daddy' would have invited too many issues. After doing battle with the T-1000, Sarah and Reece travel to 2017 using a time machine they built in a basement in order to stop this new timeline version of 'Skynet' which is now named 'Genisys'. Again let me stop here and say that our own Government has a computer network called, you guessed it, 'Skynet'. Will they never learn from movie history?
The plot holes in this movie call for a leap even a T-1000 couldn't accomplish. For example: How can Kyle Reese remember past memories of a life he never led in this new alternate timeline? Some techno-jargon is thrown at it and it's painted over. Move along, move along... How can Kyle and Sarah interact with a John Connor who has not been conceived but still managed to be sent back in time? I was half expecting for Reece or Sarah to shoot themselves and be done with it, but we couldn't be that lucky. Another thing that doesn’t make sense was, if the timeline was reset by the Terminator protecting Sarah from a young age, then why were the scenes in the future still from the timeline where Sarah Connor defeated the Terminator in the original 1984 movie?
'Terminator Genisys' feels like someone took the best moments of T1 and 2, did a poor rewrite by adding smart phones then got lazy and said, '..to hell with it.'
I walked out of the theater wishing I hadn't been fooled again by the hope that they would get this previously great franchise back on track again. But as is alluded to in the after credits tease, it appears that it will be inevitable that they are determined to terminate any chance of that happening.