Possible spoilers ahead!!
If you’re one of the twelve regular readers to this here blog, then you know I was not a happy camper when a Terminator reboot was announced a couple of years ago.
Things got a little worse when some of the filmmakers casting choices were announced. And none of the trailers did much to calm my fears, so it should come as no surprise I went to see “Terminator Genisys” with very low expectations.
Perhaps it was due to those low expectations, or maybe it was because Emilia Clarke is just so damn adorable, I don’t know. Either way, I really liked “Terminator Genisys.”
Feel free to shriek in terror now.
Thew new saga begins in the year 2029, where after decades of war with Skynet, John Connor (Jason Clarke) leads a human resistance against the machines in one final offensive.
The successful destruction of Skynet’s defense grid allows Connor and his merry band of rebels a fleeting moment of victory – until they realize Skynet deployed a failsafe weapon: a time machine through which a T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) will travel back to 1984 and kill John’s mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), before she can give birth to the resistance leader.
John’s closest friend, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), volunteers to follow the T-800 back in time to protect Sarah – who, according to John, will be a young, naive, helpless, waitress who will be unprepared for what’s to come.
However, when Reese lands in 1984, the past is very different from the one John Connor described, and if the past has changed so drastically, what does that mean for the future?
After “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” and “Terminator: Salvation” both failed to reignite interest in the Terminator franchise, Paramount Pictures turned to screenwriters Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier to pen a new entry, and signed Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) to direct.
Regardless of how disappointed I was with the Thor sequel, I will say that Alan Taylor delivered a solid entry point for new fans, while also planting the seeds for future installments.
Even if you’ve never watched a Terminator movie, you will able to enjoy “Terminator Genisys.” And if you have watched a Terminator film before, the new movie has plenty of nods to the James Cameron classics.
Arnold chwarzenegger’s aging T-800 known as“Pops,” is a highlight of the film, and the aging actor delivers his best performance in years. There’s plenty of “I’m too old for this crap” jokes, but I enjoyed the explanation of why the Terminator is aging. Meanwhile, Emilia Clarke’s battle-hardened Sarah Connor was a pleasant surprise.
I only known Clarke from “Game of Thrones,” but I felt she nailed her role in Genisys. Clarke’s best scenes come when she’s interacting with Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the actress also brought a fresh layer to the heroine. As a nineteen-year-old Sarah, Clarke is able to portray her as a skilled warrior, but also as someone who is bitter toward her fated role as mother to mankind’s only hope against the evil of Skynet.
The cast also includes Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese. This is a solid version of the hero, but he was overshadowed by Clarke and Ahhhnold. And recent Oscar winner, J. K. Simmons, brought in plenty of laughs. Meanwhile, Matt Smith was great, but he’s not in the movie nearly enough. Hopefully we get to see more of him in the sequel, assuming there is one of course.
The only cast member I didn’t care for was Jason Clarke. He had a lot of good material to work with, but I felt like he wasted key moments. A better actor could have done excellent stuff in this movie.
I know that liking this movie puts me in a minority, and that’s okay. But as I sat in the theatre something finally clicked: Nothing will ever top the James Cameron movies, and I need to stop expecting that the new Terminators will match Cameron in any way. I simply need to move on and enjoy the ride.
As fans, we always accept the new Doctor Who, and the new James Bond. But why do we find it so difficult to accept a new take on the Terminator?
“Terminator Genisys” final score: 8