Review of 'Terminator Genisys'

terminator_genisys.jpg Another year, another Terminator movie. Since the success of Terminator 2 we seem to get more and more of the same…or is it? This is a bit of a twist in the tale. Hang onto your hats this is going to get confusing…

In 2029 Skynet has gone live and the population is fighting to survive against the machines that have taken over the planet with the resistance headed up by John Connor (Jason Clarke). Connor learns of an offensive by the machines where they will attack both in the present but also in the past. He sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) to head up a group to destroy the main weapon of the machines: A time machine. Before they get to the machine a T-800 is sent back in time to kill John's mother, Sarah Connor. Kyle offers to return in time to protect Sarah. In 1984 events occur largely as they did in the first Terminator movie but quickly diverge. When the T-800 demands clothes from some punks he is attacked and destroyed by a much older, and more sarcastic, T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Meanwhile Kyle arrives in 1984 only to find himself hunted by a T-1000 (Lee Byung-hun) who has been sent back in time to kill him. He is rescued by Sarah and the older T-800 who Kyle learns was sent back to 1974 to protect her and has been doing so ever since. The T-800 has also been building a time machine which Kyle and Sarah use to jump to 2017 as they believe that is when Skynet will begin it's attack in that year. In 2017 Kyle and Sarah with help of the T-800 (who took the long way to 2017) quickly discover “Genisys” is a soon-to-be-released operating system that is the precursor to Skynet. So, obviously, it needs to be destroyed but they have a surprise visitor from the future that has returned to stop them…

Yeah, mind bending the story certainly is. I would suggest that the only ones that will fully appreciate the story are those that are familiar with the original movie (and, perhaps Terminator 2). All others will be confused. Heck, I think I am reasonably familiar with the movies and I found this confusing anyway!

It is nice to see the return of Schwarzenegger to the franchise and here he is given a much larger role that in recent films. In this film he injects yet more personality into the ageing T-800 and this is largely successful though some of it we have seen before (for example his ill-fated attempt to smile in order to make people feel more comfortable but instead sends everyone into either hysterics or causes them to run away in fear). It is nice the way they explain away his obvious ageing as due to the fact that the flesh around the robotic exoskeleton ages just like a person.

The effects here are amazing here but I could not help think that they were largely re-hashing what we had seen in the previous films: The morphing robot (T-1000), and the robot that looks like a person (T-800). True, they are a lot more advanced and convincing than the first time around but there are no real surprises here. The plot seems to be largely a re-hash as well with Skynet continuing to seek to become sentient and enslave humanity, Sarah being protected by the T-800, etc. though obviously here we have the added complications of multiple time travellers and time-frames as well as, let us not forget, the surprise bad guy. It is quite a ride with lots of shooting and running and stuff like that.

Enjoyable? Sure, it is fun but confusing as all get out…

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2015-11-28

Directed by: Taylor Alan

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Year: 2015

Length: 126 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction