Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Terminator Genisys


I guess the way I would sum up Genisys is a sort of admirable mess. Its hard to explain what I mean by that though. Its sort of like someone took all the previous 4 terminator movies, threw them into a blender and poured it into an amplifier? Okay, I’m mixing similes now, but I guess that’s basically it. Terminator 5 feels like a very enthusiastically made fan film when if comes right down to it.

When the movie started, it managed to grab me. Now the dialogue in this film is awful, right from the get go. Its cheesy, ham-fisted, and lacks subtlety. But I was intrigued with being able to see how the whole saga is kicked off with the time machine at the end of the war. But again, this ties back into the fan film idea. Nonetheless, it was interesting, though it would have been nice if we also saw how the T2 origins happened as well. Oh well.

So after that, we get Kyle Reese returning to 1984. What follows is a retread of the original film with many scenes and shots recreated. This is actually inherently interesting, sort of in the same vein as returning to 1955 in Back to the Future 2. but then everything changes as we find out that Sarah Conner has had a Terminator protector since childhood. Now all the timelines are messed up, and they’ve gotta figure out what to do to stop Skynet this time.

The more the movie continues, the more muddled the story becomes, the more generic the sets look, the more uninteresting the action sequences. The dialogue is bad throughout, but especially when they are arguing after Kyle finds out he’s John’s father. But the real kicker here is that the big mystery which sets off this whole plot, the fact that a Terminator was sent back to Sarah’s childhood, the who reason this movie is different from the others, is never resolved. Its never revealed who sent him back or why. I mean, c’mon!!

Perhaps the biggest draw of this movie is Schwarzenegger. It was really nice having Arnold back in the mix. Things felt grounded when he was on screen. Deanerys had the look down as Sarah Conner and was engaging, but was missing something. Jai Courtney was also missing something; personality. And the whole John Conner plot device was a huge misstep.

The idea of the operating system Genisys becoming Skynet and the media blitz around that was interesting. But there’s too much junk around it to completely pull you in. Some really award moments like these are the Ramones song going while they are loading clips. Wha?? Or that awkward conversation with John and Milee Dyson’s son about Time Travel.”Boom1″ Who are these people?? I also thought that the decision to actually personify Skynet was big mistake. Skynet is much more terrifying as a faceless, shapeless force that is everywhere.

There’s something bold about the balls-to-the-wall approach taken here to bring everything about the franchise thusfar together. At times we get cool homages to the films we love. But at other times the movie seems to be stepping all over it with muddy shoes, such as when John Conner recites the “he cannot be reasoned with…” speech that was one of the best moments of the first film and turns it into something cheesy and awful. But I dont know… ultimately the movie was terrible, but it almost worked there for a while.

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