Terminator Genisys Review
Terminator Genisys Review
Minor spoilers for Terminator Genisys…
Director Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, Thor: The Dark World) faced, with this film, the unenviable task of rebooting a stagnant franchise that has already seen one effort in Terminator Salvation fail to reignite the sci-fi action franchise. Unlike Terminator Salvation, Genisys sees the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator with his task once again to protect Sarah Connor at all costs. The film begins with John Connor (Jason Clarke) sending Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother from a Terminator however events quickly take an unexpected turn and an alternate timeline is created, one which sees Kyle and Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) trying to take down Skynet in 2017 with the help of Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator.
On the positive side, Arnold Schwarzenegger clearly has fun returning to this role and relishes his time on-screen. He has some funny one liners and several quips about being obsolete. In addition, some of the action sequences are well done and are entertaining to watch. There are also some nice nods to the previous films such as reincarnations of previous on-screen Terminators. Unfortunately, this is where the positives end because Terminator Genisys is lacking in any real creativity or spark. Its biggest problem is that the plot is downright confusing. The film suffers from an identity crisis trying to walk the fine line between reboot and sequel to the first trilogy. Overall, the film just fails to make any lasting impact and comes across as a generic action film rather than a revitalizing refresh.
Terminator Genisys tries to pay homage to past films but also move the franchise in a new direction. Nevertheless, the film muddles this somewhat with its different direction explained away as an alternate timeline. Why this occurs is a little unclear though and fans, particularly of the first two Terminator films, may be left scratching their heads as to why events are occurring in this manner. The point that this film really tells us is that the Terminator series has a lot of baggage and a reboot that ignores the previous films (Salvation) didn’t resonate with fans while Genisys doesn’t feel original enough, begging the question: is there a place for Terminator anymore?
Part of its generic feel lies with the cast such as Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney who both feel miscast. While Emilia Clarke does her best as Sarah Connor she isn’t given any meaningful material and she lacks the hard edge of previous incarnations of the character. Granted, this film is trying to take that character to different places but she lacks something to make her stand out. Meanwhile, Jai Courtney doesn’t feel entirely needed in this film, his role is to protect Sarah Connor, who doesn’t really need protecting at all as she has her own Terminator and her own mission. The supporting cast also lacks charm and personality and I found Matt Smith’s American accent particularly took me out of the film.
Overall, I left the screening feeling somewhat apathetic. I had low expectations upon entering and leaving I recognized I didn’t really care about what was unfolding on-screen. While some action sequences were entertaining and Arnold Schwarzenegger has a few funny moments, the film lacks originality and spark while Emilia Clarke and particularly Jai Courtney feel out-of-place. Perhaps worst of all, the plot is confusing for fans both new and old of the series. Unfortunately, Terminator Genisys fails to capture the imagination of new fans or the loyalty of the franchise’s old fans.