Terminator Genisys Review: Hasta la Vista

Photo Credit:http://screenrant.com/terminator-genisys-arnold-schwarzenegger-interview-2015/

Did anyone really want to make this movie? After an extra long feeling full two hours, the only person who seemed to be having any fun is Arnold Schwarzeneggar. Since retiring as the Governator, Arnie’s film career hasn’t come close to recapturing the magic of that weird period in cinema history where we all loved him even though he couldn’t really act (we’ve got about five years left before Dwayne Johnson halts the Fast and Furious franchise to run for president, wins, and eventually crawls back to Hollywood to make Fast and Furiosa, the film that brings us the inevitable joint universe of Fast and Furious and Mad Max because Hollywood).

Well, Terminator Genisys comes the closest, not because it’s any good (it isn’t), but because it’s trying so damn hard to get you to remember how much you loved the other Terminator movies. Hell, the first half hour is largely spent recreating scenes from the 1984 original just to show how different the story is this time around. But this fifth outing for the franchise ends up being pretty much the same. A couple of humans are being protected by a robot that they sort of come to love, only for the robot to try and replicate human emotion through disturbingly forced smiles. Terminator 2, a bonafide classic, is the best case scenario for this premise. Terminator Genisys is the worst, at least until the cook up another sequel.

This movie puts us in an alternate timeline, where Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) was saved by a Terminator (Schwarzeneggar) when she was young and then raised by him. So when Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) arrives in 1984, everybody already knows what’s going on and they have to travel to 2017 to Skynet, now known as Genisys, from infecting all our iPads and military computers. The twist comes when John Connor (Jason Clarke) shows up in 2017 as a new breed of Terminator to take out his parents if they don’t join him.

The biggest disappointment is Emilia Clarke’s Sarah Connor. She’s roughly 20 here, and Clarke admirably tries to play her as somewhere between Linda Hamilton’s cheery demeanor in the original and the warrior we get in the sequel. But Clarke doesn’t give us any context to latch onto. Occasionally she’s a lovestruck teenager, but at other times she’s a no-nonsense warrior. It’s a confusing characterization that plays against itself. Clearly Clarke didn’t quite find the route to justify Sarah’s actions throughout the film. Considering the presence she carries on Game of Thrones, this is disappointing.

The film’s ridiculous stretches just to create something new don’t help either. Characters ask, but no one really seems to have any answers for how these alternate timelines exist. At least any answers that make sense. You would hope that the action would at least make up for some lost ground, but these have to be the least inventive set pieces of the year.

So Terminator Genisys turns out to be one of the biggest failures of the summer. In a season where Mad Max and Jurassic Park got big, rewarding resurrections, it’s clear the Terminator franchise should stay where it came from, the past. Grade: D

By Matt Dougherty

 

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