Review: Terminator Genisys
Arnie is back! Terminator Genisys is here and it’s the biggest fan service movie in a long time. Is that a bad thing? No, but it doesn’t make it a good film either. When Universal released Jurassic World to an unexpected box office success , the hope was that Terminator Genisys would also be another fun and good soft reboot of an old franchise. Did it deliver? Not what we expected, but also, not a totally bad/ boring movie.
When John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance against Skynet, sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), from a Terminator assassin, an unexpected turn of events creates an altered timeline. Instead of a scared waitress, Sarah is a skilled fighter and has a Terminator guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger) by her side. Faced with unlikely allies and dangerous new enemies, Reese sets out on an unexpected new mission: reset the future and stop Skynet. Fundamentally, it takes elements from all the previous entries in the franchise, but also retcons the last to movies. Time travel has a more significant role in this movie, being more than just a way for terminators to get to Sarah Connor. Despite directing episodes for many great tv series like The Sopranos, Mad Men, Lost or Game of Thrones, director Alan Taylor, on his second big budget movie (the first being Thor: The Dark World, also criticized), delivers a fun and action-packed, but lost in its own mythology movie. Also, the first movies were rated R, had a much more dark and violent setting and more profound themes hidden within the simple premise. The newest installment in the franchise leaves the violence and horror elements aside and goes directly for the action-packed scenes and a softer atmosphere overall, trying to bring new viewers to the franchise and also please the older fans, but failing to do great on both these sides, unlike Jurassic World.
When it comes to the actors, of course, a soft reboot brings new faces and old faces together. Schwarzenegger is back and he is probably the best element of this movie. “Old, but not obsolete”, T-800 is fun, badass and creates some of the best scenes of Terminator Genisys, most of them funny, but also emotional. Sarah Connor is also changed in this movie, having been trained by Pops (the T-800) and being badass from the first moment. I like Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones and I’m not saying she is a very good actress, but a decent one. Here, she sometimes delivers, sometimes not, her best scenes being those emotional ones with Arnold‘s character. I’m glad she got to do something big outside GoT, like some other actors, but maybe this wasn’t the best way to go. Also, she had some big shoes to fill, Linda Hamilton‘s Sarah Connor being an iconic role. Since being on Spartacus, Jai Courtney has been in many action movies, most of them flops (both critically and at the box office), from Jack Reacher to I, Frankenstein and the Insurgent series. I’m not saying it’s his fault, because he plays his role as he should and in Terminator Genisys he does a good job, not an awesome performance, but he doesn’t dissapoint. Jason Clarke makes a decent classsic villain, nothing out of the ordinary and J.K. Simmons‘ appearance is fun, albeit a bit useless. Also, there is Matt Smith, but I’m not gonna spoil his role in this movie (no great performance of him either).
So, with Arnie being the best the cast has to offer and an ambiguous story, what else does this movie bring? Well, as I said, it’s not a bad movie, it’s full of fun and action-packed scenes, with great CGI effects and some famous quotes from the old movies. Terminator Genisys recreates some of the more memorable scenes of the first movies, like the arrival of the T-800 and his view of Los Angeles or his first meeting with the humans of 1984. When I saw Lorne Balfe as the composer and Hans Zimmer as the music supervisor I tought at least the music would be awesome. Lorne is a composer for the Assassin’s Creed games series and I like the music in those games, but here, he doesn’t deliver anything worth mentioning, just a normal action movie soundtrack with no great theme to remember. I was surprised that the Terminator theme wasn’t used in this movie (it appears in the credits, but that doesn’t count) and I understand that they wanted to have a new approach on this franchise, but even Jurassic World used John Williams‘ iconic theme.
In the end, I will give Terminator Genisys a 7. It’s a good modern sci-fi action movie and has lots of fan service for the fans of the franchise, but it doesn’t bring anything new worth remembering, though it is better than Terminator 3 or Terminator Salvation.