July 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
Well given that Terminator: Genisys has been released last week, I was having little expectations since after I wrote the early thoughts article. And what made me have that before I went to see it? I don’t know, maybe the marketing team is complete douchebags for one thing. I only seen the first trailer and a couple of clips but when I heard the second trailer spoiled the twist, I avoid it and have to wait patiently for the movie to come out. However, Arnold Schwarzenegger himself released the movie poster on Facebook that include said twist and dammit, I felt sad when that happened.
It didn’t help when other than promotional material, the movie is having weird tie-ins like the Genisys Burger (which I can’t try since I live in Australia), the mobile game which you can play while the movie is showing (in a cinema where there’s supposed to be a PSA involving turning your phone off) and a YouTube short involving T-800 hunting down YouTube celebrities. Yeah, I got no comment on that one. So the week came and I went to see it, it was a quiet session with no mobiles on and I saw the whole movie with the exception of post-credit scene which I forgot was in there. So what do I think of this movie? I think this is the second-best sequel in The Terminator Franchise.
Yeah, I am not kidding about that statement. Well okay, this movie is better than Rise of the Machines and Salvation but that doesn’t equal to me saying it’s one of the best movies of the year but it is close enough to be one enjoyable and watchable popcorn flick. There is plotholes, cheesy acting, noticeable CGI works and other flaws to note but before I get to those, I should explain that there’s gonna be spoilers involved and that I could explain stuff like the purpose of few characters, time travel and so on. So with that, let me start the spoiler twist itself that is “John Connor is the Terminator” and what do I say about this?
To be honest, the twist is kind of a untwist since it’s still technically John Connor because he got killed and resurrected while being heavily controlled by nanotechnology that’s set off by The T-5000 (Matt Smith) who is the embodiment of SkyNet and assumes the identity of “Alex” in 2029. I said what I said too much but when resurrected, John became known as The T-3000 and travels to sometime before 2017 to help CyberDyne be successful at Genisys (this new timeline’s answer to SkyNet) which would set off a nuclear war. Other than that, John still has his consciousness and memories but his humanity is long gone thanks to nanotechs so he is now a villain in this piece.
Moving from John and to The T-5000 one himself and this one might resolve your headbanging a bit, while he did kill John Connor and “reprogrammed” himself into one of his machines, he also exists in new timeline back in 2017 which is confusing but don’t worry, writers Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier revealed that the T-5000 is actually from a different timeline whose mission is to find one timeline to kill John Connor and have SkyNet win victorious so what better timeline is the first timeline where Judgment Day occurred in 1997. And that alternate timeline that they brought up might either be the one depicted in the movie given he appeared in 2017 or from someplace else that might be answered in the upcoming two sequels so hope there’s no confusion to what I’m writing here.
And this brings me to the new timeline mumbo-jumbo. The movie opens up with the original T-800 and Kyle Reese traveled to this new timeline that’s already altered by how is a good question. Well, Sarah explained that back in the 1970s, her parents got killed and the new T-800 decides to be a guardian to her. Now who killed her parents and how did he get to Sarah’s childhood period is not yet answered and again, it might be saved for the two sequels but damn, this is one plot point that I have to wonder for the rest of my life. I may be fine if the T-5000’s point of origin won’t be discussed but I do want to know – who send the T-800 to this point of history and become Sarah’s new father figure?
I already explained my take on John, Matt’s purpose of the movie and the new timeline confusion so the last thing I should talk about is the “Genisys” part of the movie. We all know that Genisys used to be Skynet but how it’s developed is a funny one – Genisys is now meant to be the perfect app to the public population. Yeah, if you want to activate SkyNet and see some mushroom clouds, there’s an app for that but you have to wait for the countdown for when they’ll do that for you. It also brings me back to the T-5000’s existence in this new timeline since he’s the embodiment of SkyNet/Genisys itself and was a holographic protected child at first but with countdown resets quicker to Armageddon, he went from being a kid to being Matt Smith in minutes.
Yeah, I think that’s enough of those but that’s my take on why this movie confuses and divides audience enough to have a massive negative reception and box office sales. Now let’s go on to the acting. Staring with Arnie and yeah, he is still playing his signature character as good as possible and he may not deliver well-memorable one-liners in this but hey, his character traits is him getting old but not obsolete (which he brought up a few times). Emilia also did good as Sarah and some say she’s miscast in this but I don’t really see it, I think she’s the best Sarah Connor since Linda Hamilton in my opinion. I do have issues involving her love interest Kyle however.
Jai tried and he really tried his best to play the character previously played by Michael Biehn and Anton Yelchin but good god, he is so very miscast and wooden in this. I don’t see him playing Kyle Reese at all and his mannerism and looks is absent in this movie. At times, he whine a bit about why he’s in an alternate timeline, why he and Sarah should go to 2017 and why he discovered that he’s John’s father. If I could say one worst thing about this movie, I’m sorry but it’s Jai Courtney and it pains me to say that given that he might be a talented actor other than me seeing him in this and A Good Day to Die Hard (by the way, I still haven’t seen his other stuff)… that and I met him on the movie’s red carpet premiere in my area recently.
Now on to his character’s son and oh boy, Jason is really having the time of his life since he is chewing scenery as John Connor and he chewed it very well. He is possibly one of the funniest villains I’ve seen since Aro in the Twilight franchise. Before his character’s death, he did act well as John but when he became the T-3000, he went from being sweet to laughable. It might be that Jason doesn’t like the script but wants to do his all so dammit, he decides to act as hammy as possible and it shows. And hey, it’s not better than Edward Furlong, Nick Stahl, Christian Bale and Thomas Dekker but he is gonna be remembered for this role.
There’s also J.K. Simmons as Detective O’Brien who is a believer in this since back in 1984, his character (that was played by Wayne Bastrup) witnessed John and Sarah encountering the T-1000 and it took him few decades before he plays both an ally and uh, a comedy sidekick to the heroes. He’s good in this as well and do act serious here so he’s like the fourth actor in this movie that I liked. Now it comes to Matt and his role is just an extended cameo here. He did pull off playing the villain but him playing SkyNet himself makes me think he’s playing Helena Bonham Carter’s counterpart in Salvation and that is not a easy sign.
The other roles are also handled okay in small parts from Lee Byung-Hun to Courtney B. Vance to even Asylum alum Griff Furst. Yeah, I don’t know how he went from Transmorphers and Universal Soldiers to this movie but his role is small so that is not really saying much. Even Gregory Alan Williams of Baywatch fame didn’t do much and he played freaking Garner. Sure, he shared screen time with Arnie in the police station but hey, let’s cast him, Thresh from The Hunger Games and Ron Carver of Criminal Intent… and have them do nothing at all!
Ah, back to the movie at hand. So really, the story is a bit convoluted and has issues which I expected from the start and the action is good with few glaring CGI scenery. The comedy ranges from okay to ridiculous like The T-800, Sarah and Kyle being arrested and got police mug shots (with Bad Boys by Inner Circle playing for some strange reason) and there is not much else but I honestly don’t hate this movie, I actually do like it despite its issues, its massive negative reception and even its box office earnings. I don’t get why it didn’t do successfully at all but I do expect this to happen and I can deal with it being the least favorite by the public even though I felt saddened about it.
The concept is good and should have handled well but its potential is hardly there. It did meant to aim for the old audience while aiming for the new ones like previous reboots, remakes and reimaginings did and I don’t find this movie insulting to the franchise. It did went to the continuity reboot route like Star Trek did and would it make me miss the old continuity? No because the predecessors are still there and is never ignored (which by the way, James Cameron point that this is the true sequel to the first two movies… even though the second movie is not canonical to this despite Miles and Danny Dyson appearing in this) and if you prefer to watch those ones and don’t want to bother with this, that’s fine but don’t slam it like it’s becoming a franchise zombie.
Now I have to wait and see if this part of the franchise will continue with those two sequels since Arnie did sign up for it before this movie’s release and I hope it will because I don’t want the “Who sends The T-800 back in 1970s?” issue to be stuck in my mind forever so come on, bring on the sequels. Okay, I’m tapped out on this so time to go and watch The Neighbors again.