Terminator Genisys Movie Review (by the Movie Slackers)
Much has been said about Alan Taylor’s latest installment of the Terminator franchise. Convoluted timelines, making Ahhnold too warm and fuzzy and casting Jai Courtney as Kyle Reece. Actually, that last one is my own question, but I digress. Terminator: Genisys seemed doomed from the start, so it was no surprise this film bombed domestically but did stand out business over seas. At the end of the day the studio won’t care where the money comes from. As long as it comes from somewhere. This thing cost about 170 million dollars to make. Wow.
It is refreshing to see AHHnold back in a role we love him for. The first two Terminators were classics; ARE classics. Groundbreaking, each in their own right. The third and fourth films, I liked. The fourth film has a director’s cut which is the version I prefer. Terminator Genisys seems to have scrapped a lot of the elements from the first films and also a lot of the energy and charm that made this franchise so darned entertaining.
This installment has Kyle Reece (Jai Courtney) being sent back in time to, once again, save Sarah Conner (Emelia Clarke). This time she is expecting him. She has her own protector in the form of Arnold with her as well. She refers to him as ‘Pops’. Meanwhile John Connor of the future (Jason Clarke), also jumps back in time as both a Terminator and himself. This is no surprise because the trailers revealed this spoiler, which is inexplicable to me. That is the one element this film had going for it and they could not even do that right.
Director Alan Taylor has directed mostly TV but has a few feature films under his belt, most notably 2013’s Thor The Dark World. He is a fine director but Terminator Genisys has had all of its life sucked from it. The action is competently staged and even has some nice touches like shot for shot recreations of some scenes from the first two films. Emelia Clarke is a good Sarah Conner; tough, resilient, smart and very attractive. There is nothing I can say about Arnold that we don’t already know. He is solid fun to watch. Jason Clarke (no relation to Emelia) is always exciting to watch. He is a fine actor and is always enigmatic to watch. With his crazy eyes and frizzy hair there is something delightfully off putting about the characters he plays. He is the glue that keeps ‘Genisys’ together…kind of. Which brings me to Jai Courtney. This man has movie star good looks and is capable of doing good work, I am sure. However, thus far, Jack Reacher is the only film I have seen of his that was any good. I have not seen him in Russell Crowe’s film The Water Diviner, but I understand that, although it is a small role, he does quite well. In ‘Genisys’, he is wooden, dull and unconvincing. This seems to be the case with the rest of his films. He seems to be missing charisma, sheer magnetism and comes across as more of a wet blanket.
Taylor’s direction is all over the map with no less than SEVEN time line jumps. The script, written by Wes Craven alum, Patrick Lussier and Laeta Kalogridis is all over the map and never settles down to a specific point. I would even have settled for a couple of points decided upon, but ‘Genisys’ is all dressed up with nowhere to go. Characters, important characters, from previous Teminator films come and go with little backstory to the plot. There is a T-1000 (Byung-hun Lee) that is included to this story, lasts a while and then is dispatched with little fanfare. Taylor has included some shot-for-shot homages from the first two films and these are pleasant reminders of the Terminator remembering its roots. Taylor does this very effectively. Lorne Balfe, finally, gets a Brad Fiedel-ish score worth remembering. Balfe has stayed true to the industrial and machine-like roots of Mr. Fiedel’s original scores from the first two films, but has also composed his own genuine score fusing past and present.
Terminator Genisys is not awful and there are some nice touches and some elements that do work. But for a film that has taken six years to get back to the big screen, you would think they could have fleshed out some of the details and made a more coherent film. It’s not like they don’t have something to go on. The first two films give us all the elements of great filmmaking. In three years when the Terminator franchise reverts back to Cameron, maybe we will get greatness once again. But considering how long Cameron takes to make a film, I won’t be holding my breath.
This movie review is written by JohnnyTwoToes of the Movie Slackers.
Terminator: Genisys- Rated PG13- for violence, language, and brief nudity
Terminator: Genisys- Run Time is 125 minutes
Watch the video review at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai9fSLmflMw