Directed by Alan Taylor. Starring Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Arnold Scharzenegger, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Matthew Smith.
THE PLOT: As the fight against Skynet draws to a violent end, the machines send the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back in time to stop John Connor (Jason Clarke) from ever being born. The humans send Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), but when he arrives there, Sarah is all too aware of her role in the battle against the machines, and nothing is as Reese expected it to be.
THE VERDICT: Another week, another blockbuster; this week it’s the turn of TERMINATOR GENISYS to take over our movie screens. The good news is that it is a helluva lot better than TERMINATOR SALVATION, but the bad news is that that’s not saying much.
The cast do their jobs well enough here; Emilia Clarke makes Sarah Connor tough and no-nonsense, Jai Courtney is loyal and only slightly misogynistic as Kyle Reese, Jason Clarke takes John Connor in a new direction entirely, but the show is stolen by Arnold Schwarzenegger as a kindly Terminator, sworn to protect Sarah Connor. Schwarzenegger provides much of the levity and comedy in the film, while keeping the Terminator monosyllabic and strong. Matthew Smith and JK Simmons turn up briefly, and both are completely underused.
Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier’s screenplay starts off well enough, with call backs to the original 1984 film, and a fleeting shot for shot remake of the opening sequence, but once it starts trying to be the BACK TO THE FUTURE II of TERMINATOR movies, and goes even further with the crossing timelines and to-ing and fro-ing through time, the pacing of the film suffers and the audience begins to pull holes in the film. As well as this, this film completely resets the canon of the TERMINATOR franchise; something that definitely did not need to happen.
Director Alan Taylor, who most recently brought us THOR 2: THE DARK WORLD, starts the film well enough, but once the timelines get tangled and everyone is jumping around through time, clarity is lost and the pacing of the film suffers as a result. As well as this, there are times when the CGI in the film looks so shaky that it at first seems to be a reference to the 1984 level of special effects, but it later becomes clear that most of the budget was used on just one character. That said, there are some brilliant comedic moments thanks to Schwarzenegger, and the action is explosive, silly and fun.
In all, TERMINATOR GENISYS gets caught up in its own timelines and myth, and tangled up the original franchise while trying to create a new one. Most of the cast are fine, but Schwarzenegger stands out and brings some much-needed levity to proceedings. A new, unnecessary franchise is surely on the cards, but there needs to be some clarity brought to the events of this film for that to work properly. Oh, and it seems Matt Smith wants to be called Matthew Smith now…
Review by Brogen Hayes

Terminator Genisys
Review by Brogen Hayes
3.0Tangled timelines
  • filmbuff2011

    With the rights to the Terminator franchise due to revert back to James Cameron in 2019, time is running out for Hollywood to squeeze this cybernetic cash cow by itself. And so we have Terminator: Genisys, which is clearly the product of a panicked Hollywood. Ignoring the events of both 2003’s Rise Of The Machines and 2009’s Salvation, Genisys instead cleaves to James Cameron’s landmark first two films. Over the opening credits set in 2029, we join the final battle between the Resistance and Skynet. John Connor (Jason Clarke) breaks into Skynet with his fighters and finds the Time Displacement Unit. Knowing what he must do, he sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to prevent a T-800 from terminating Sarah Connor before her son John is even born. But when Kyle arrives in 1984, he finds it much changed. Sarah (Emilia Clarke) is not the meek waitress we once knew, but is actually ready for war. With her is an aging T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who was sent back in her childhood to protect her. A new T-1000 (Byung-hun Lee) is in pursuit of the three of them, so they have to jump timelines to the future to stop Judgment Day from happening. Again. But could mankind’s saviour also be its greatest threat? Make no mistake, Terminator: Genisys is head-melting stuff. It re-writes franchise history to its own whim, gleefully throwing out previous instalments and even re-making the first two films to some degree, with very mixed results (just look at the re-shot sequence in Griffith Park). Re-watching the 1984 original on the big screen for the first time last week, this reviewer realised how simple, streamlined and effective it is. Genisys is the complete opposite: it gets so convoluted with all the various timelines that even the filmmakers forget to explain certain events (just who sent the T-800 back to Sarah’s childhood in 1973?). Perhaps they just didn’t care to explain all the plot holes, of which there are legion. Director Alan Taylor of Thor 2: The Dark World fame is way out of his depth here. He tries to ape Cameron with some set-pieces, but fails miserably. A sequence on the Golden Gate Bridge just feels overcooked and overdone at this stage, given the amount of times the bridge has been destroyed onscreen in the last few years. Arnie at least has some fun with his most iconic role, delivering some choice one liners that shows that he’s still got it and is not afraid of playing old either. The petite Emilia Clarke struggles to find Sarah and some of that tough Linda Hamilton vibe. Presumably she was cast on the strength of her fine performance as Daenerys in Game Of Thrones, but she feels miscast here. The other Clarke, Jason (no relation), is good though. Ultimately, Genisys is a shockingly bad failure of a film. It’s lame, uninspired and tired, as if the new production team were desperately in search of an idea to anchor another Terminator film on. It runs out of steam in the first act and limps on regardless. In more serious terms though, this is a franchise killer on the level of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace and Batman And Robin. It’s a very sad demise for a once great franchise. Hasta la vista, Terminator. Only Cameron can save it now. If you care enough to stay, there’s a mid-credits teaser. One star for Arnie alone – the only reason to watch this truly atrocious film. Genisys is horrible. Just horrible. *

  • emerb

    “Terminator Genisys” is the fifth installment of the franchise that began with James Cameron‘s “The Terminator” in 1984. Together with screenwriters Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier, Director Alan Taylor takes a brave move by altering the events established from the earlier films from a new perspective, adding new robots, new iterations of the T-800 and exploring the possibilities of time travel on a more elaborate scale. One would have to question if it has paid off? I would recommend watching the first 2 films beforehand, it will certainly pay off in understanding the numerous twists and altered character narratives. In a way, this movie isn’t so much a sequel as it takes James Cameron’s iconic first two instalments and amends the timeline. For me, this meant that it didn’t feel like an original movie in its own right.

    A prologue tells us that 3 billion people died in the nuclear conflagration of Judgement Day in October, 1997. Thirty years later, 2029, Skynet are losing the war with the human resistance, led by John Connor (Jason Clarke). We are once again introduced to Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), the brave soldier in the human resistance who was sent back in time by his leader John to stop a ruthless robot assassin from killing his mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) before she gives birth to
    him. However, we get an unexpected twist on the first movie, in that, just as Reese is sent back from 2029 to 1984, Connor is attacked by a Terminator
    (Matthew Smith) which messes up the familiar timeline. While Reese lands in the 1984 of the first Terminator, much has changed, the machines are waiting for him in the form of a lethal T-1000 who possesses blades for arms and is played by Korean star Byung-hun Lee. Sarah is already a fearsome warrior who has spent a good portion of her life fighting Terminators, and her loyal robot protector, known as the Guardian or “Pops” (Arnold Schwarzenegger), looks like the T-800 of the 1984 film but has been protecting her since she was 9 years old. She knows that Kyle has come back to save her life and inadvertently father her child. In the new timeline, Judgement Day has been postponed from 1997 to 2017, the year that Skynet plans to seize control via a new worldwide operating system called “Genisys”. So Kyle and Sarah travel to San Francisco 2017, where her Guardian is now a much older and greyer robot, and run into John Connor himself. At first this is great but then events take a turn, confusion, murder and mayhem ensue.

    The biggest draw for this film will be the return of the top-billed action hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Aided by stuntmen and CGI, he is certainly back in the game as the massive, stiff metal man but one would question if this will be enough to drive this film to success. While his presence adds an element of continuity to the franchise, many will likely question if the grey hair and wrinkles emphasize the fact that he is just past it now. While the characters are one-dimensional, the performances are competent. Emilia Clarke channels wit and energy into Sarah Connor but, for me, she wasn’t as good as Linda Hamilton was in the same role. Jason Clark and Jai Courtney are adequate and I liked Lee’s villainous performance too.

    “Termintor Genisys” is a well-executed and reasonably entertaining action thriller that is likely to appeal to action fans and nostalgic fans of the original. It never lacks momentum, events press forward at a good pace and the action scenes are superbly orchestrated, such as one involving a school bus dangling over the edge of the Golden Gate bridge. You have to give credit to the impressive special effects team which work wonders with the robots and the production designer does a praiseworthy job moving through the different time periods. Having said that, it is highly unlikely that the film will reach the heights of other summer blockbuster reboots this year such as “Jurassic World” or “Mad Max: Fury Road”, which did a better job at putting a sharp, fresh edge on a familiar franchise. For me, the plot was just too convoluted and I felt that it didn’t expand or improve on the original.

  • Deirdre Durran

    I love time travel, so this film is right up my street. Arnold still has it. I enjoyed it a lot.