Friday, July 3, 2015

Movie Review #276: "Terminator Genisys" (2015)

Movie"Terminator Genisys"
Director: Alan Taylor
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes
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In the year 2029 and on the verge of defeat, Skynet sends a Terminator back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), mother of John Connor (Jason Clarke, no relation), the leader of the human resistance. In response, John sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to the past to protect his mother. When Kyle Reese arrives in 1984, he is attacked by a T-1000 (Byung-hun Lee), and to his surprise, is saved by Sarah and her T-800 she calls Pops (Arnold Schwarzenegger), which has raised her since she was nine years old. Pops and Sarah have been hatching a plan in order to prevent judgment day from happening.  


"Terminator Genisys" is a full on reboot of the Terminator franchise and anyone who says otherwise is insane. It runs on the same timeline of the original Terminator film, but ignores all the occurrences of "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," and "Terminator Salvation." The movie, surprisingly enough, starts out promising. For the first 20 minutes, we thought maybe most critics and hardcore fans had sticks up their asses because we thought it was actually pretty awesome. John, played by Jason Clarke, and Kyle, played by Jai Courtney, begin by leading an all-out assault on Skynet, whose high-tech weaponry, including laser guns and big giant robot lookin' things, and overall look and feel are what we had hoped we would see in "Terminator Salvation," but didn't. 20 minutes of goodness is not very fulfilling, though, and everything starts to fall apart as soon as Kyle is sent back to an alternate timeline. During his time in Skynet's time machine, Kyle is suddenly flooded with new memories of judgment day due to the changes in the timeline. Once back in 1984, the story at its core has a similar, really almost identical plot to that of T2, with a few minor differences. There is a lot more time travel involved here as Kyle and Sarah, played this time by Game of Throne's star Emilia Clarke, go to the year 2017 to prevent this new judgment day. Also, as you may know from the trailer, John Connor is now a new type of Terminator, who has a mission to ensure the success of judgment day, which will be unleashed by Cyberdyne's new technology integration app. As if this wasn't a mouthful already, Arnold Schwarzenegger is inexplicably back as the T-800, who now functions as Sarah's "Pops," as well as the technological, time-travely mumbo-jumbo he spews about all of these time jumps and occurrences.

There are a lot of problems with this film, most of which have to do with the plot. Time travel films are always hard pressed to pull off accurate, non-problematic timelines, and  it's easy to create paradoxes and plot holes if used too much. "Terminator Genisys" manages to create a lot of them, far more than any other Terminator film in the series, and some of these are completely unnecessary. Alan Taylor and company really tried hard to fit 20 pounds of plot into a 5 pound plot bag, so much so that this felt like multiple movies at certain points. The second problem is the trailer. What on god's green earth would make anyone at any studio or company ever want to spoil the biggest plot point of a movie in the trailer?! Said trailer spills that once Kyle and Sarah get to 2017, they arrive to find that John Connor has been transformed into a Terminator, working on similar principles as the T-1000 and the T-Marcus from "Terminator Salvation." When we say similar principles, we mean he is a transformed human and retains those memories, yet has all the abilities of the T-1000. These abilities are achieved through a different technology. We know, we know, the other Terminator trailers spoiled major plot points, too, but if this information had been withheld, it would have been a shock, and we think the movie may have been much more well received by viewers. The major plot point filmmakers wanted to keep a mysterious secret is who Matt Smith plays, as they claim it will ruin the plot if you even know his name. We won't say who he plays, obviously, but we will say the reveal happens very early on in the film and it's absolutely underwhelming to say the least. It would have been a bigger shocker to pull the John Connor reveal in the actual movie and the Matt Smith reveal in the trailer. Like we mentioned above, the rest of the film rehashes the outline from T2 as Sarah, Kyle, and T-Pops try to blow up Cyberdyne, all while the T-John Connor makes sure he does everything in his power to make judgment day happen.

While there are some good actions scenes in this film, not all of the CGI is perfect. There are some good special effects, but there are also some bad special effects, too. There are some really entertaining moments early on, but the story is so convoluted that we have trouble caring about the plight of the characters. Jai Courtney is literally the worst actor in Hollywood right now, and we have no damn clue how he keeps getting cast in these big, huge blockbuster movies every year. His delivery is so dry, he could have played a terminator and would have been the perfect casting choice. Emilia Clarke is good as Sarah Connor, but Linda Hamilton she is not. While Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor as characters in the past Terminator films have been stoic hardasses with missions of their own, we felt like Courtney and Clarke were much too emotional for their characters. Arnold Schwarzenegger just does what Arnold Schwarzenegger does best: hams it up for the camera with his tired one-liners, but this time, he does so as an almost 70-year old man. We're almost betting against this movie in the hopes that there won't be another 2 mediocre sequels and the franchise rights will default back to James Cameron, who we would love to see take this series in his ever-capable hands once again and give us the true finale we all deserve and know is in his heart. "Terminator Genisys," though, is a true mixed bag of meh.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 27%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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