Okay, so... Terminator: Genisys. I want to watch this movie again but I'm scared I'm destined to despise it. Hate was not my original reaction to this movie and the whole theme of 2015 is me trying to be more positive. You can tell it's working, right? Either my standards for movies have flushed themselves down the toilet or a collective mind shift has completely passed me by. I enjoyed how this movie played itself out. Arnie isn't too old and bloated to do, at least, a bit of physical acting. Though, being how old he is and wearing the sunglasses/leather jacket combo can be bit distracting sometimes. That scene with him slowly stepping out of a drifting police car, anyone?
|This is a permanent memory now, thanks.|
There's plenty of corniness like this that makes this movie seem more of a comedic parody (or maybe tribute) to the original trilogy than it is an actual sequel. I am aware they shot James Cameron talking about how he saw it as a "renaissance" to the franchise but either he was paid to say that or he's a robot himself. This movie is none of that. I wouldn't exactly say Cameron is a person that really cares about movies anymore, either. Internet, don't eat me for this but if Avatar did anything, it was expose exactly how visual-concentric he is now. I claim the original Terminator was a fluke. It was probably a result of him having a forward-thinking visual mind and co-writers who had enough B-movie talent to make this movie something of a classic. Let's face it, the Terminator series are just B-movies. The focus is really on the action and the sci-fi ideas related to them aren't fleshed out enough to be taken seriously. That's why any attempt by any sequel or spin-off has usually resulted in catastrophic failure.
Contrast this to Ghost In The Shell (No, I'll never stop mentioning that franchise). Here I'm referencing the 1995 animated movie that took its ideas so seriously and gave the lore so much thought-out depth that it wasn't just able to balance an even heavier sequel but a whole series. Yes, Ghost In The Shell borrows a lot of its tones from classics like Terminator but it does a lot more with the world it builds. Once you put those two together you begin to understand where Cameron's movie really fits into the Science Fiction realm. When you look at it from this B-Movie perspective you, also, see why I had a quite bit of fun with this movie. However, there were still some glaring problems.
Emilia Clarke. Okay. Why? What exactly was the thinking process behind this move? Hiring Kevin James to replace Arnold would've made more sense than hiring a slightly chubbier Khaleesi to portray the original ass-kicking milf played by Linda Hamilton. Was there no one else that they could have thought of? Did anyone even care? Emilia Clarke is considerably shorter, chubbier and just too adorable to be taken seriously as an action hero. Sarah Connor, in this film, lacks any sort of intimidation. You cannot just put a bit of weight and some military gear on someone that looks like a thirteen-year-old then position her next to two bulging men without someone noticing how crazy it looks. Do people on sets not comment on stupid ideas any more? Or maybe I'm supposed to believe that 'Guardian' (yes, that's what Arnie's listed as in this movie) went back to 1974 in order to keep Sarah malnutritioned while training her to fend off dangerous robots from the future? Not that I have a problem with her looking like this- she actually looks hotter with a bit of weight on her. It just looks weird when you put her next to an Austrian Grandfather going through an end-life crisis and a muscular man holding her hand as if he were taking her to school. Incidentally, there is a scene where they do get on a yellow school bus and there's not enough cyberspace to convey how intense of a reaction I had to this.
Speaking of Jai Courtney. I picture they must have had a list of the least Kyle-Reese-looking people to be in this movie. 1984 Terminator Reese is all scrawny, hairy and beat-up. Jai Courtney is Tall, short-haired and muscular. Where does anyone get the time to be this optimally-shaped in a future where everyone lives underground and have to do, too much, cardio outrunning robots to preserve their gains. It is just mind-baffling. Why not hire the kid that played Reese in Terminator: Salvation. There, at least, you had a talented someone that looked and sounded like him. Or are we trying to forget that movie happened? Because...that movie did happen.
You would think this casting mishap would extend to putting a sixty-something Arnold Schwarzenegger in an action film but it doesn't. It, at least, makes this movie a Terminator movie. His one-liners still incite laughter. When 'Motorist' tells Arnie to not stall traffic, he replies with 'Bite me'. It is funny. Maybe too funny for a movie being serious by replacing 'Skynet' with 'Genisys'- an app developed by, drum roll, John Connor. Yeah, John Connor is the bad guy in this movie. They hired Australian actor Jason Clarke (No relation to Emilia Clarke) to play a surprisingly cheerful John Connor that, get this, gets turned into a terminator/human hybrid by way of Dr.Who (no joke) making him swallow some grey liquid nano-shit. This makes John Connor still who he is except he has become a grey chocolate-biscuit-bot that, now, hates everything and goes back in time to be an O.S. developer. Do you see what I'm talking about?
Shoe-horned takes of a young Kyle Reese trying to remind himself that 'Genisys is Skynet' seem more of a way to beat the point over our heads that little has changed. They obviously didn't want us to get the idea that Skynet is gone but more so that it underwent a Google-to-Alphabet style 'restructuring'. Why though? The whole timeline of the movie has been royally fucked so hard that it doesn't matter any more. They could have changed the antagonist of this movie to a cyborg Bee and it would have changed, very little,the tone this film had. Yes, 'Genisys' is the bad guy to this film and not John Connor, despite having our main characters spend most of the time battling him (it?). This is because it would be pretty hard for human characters +1 robot to fight a hologram A.I. that is more bent on killing our protagonists through cliche monologues than actually fast-tracking the destruction of the world.
Here's a question to the writers: If Robot John Connor and this A.I./O.S. were so desperate to launch, why not just do that already? Why would a self-aware and limitless program AND the designer behind it not be able to just jump through the countdown knowing they're soon to be out-manned and outgunned? Here's another question: If Kyle and Sarah never hooked up when they were supposed to, doesn't that mean that there is no John Connor from the future to come back and do all this shit? Doesn't that, possibly, mean John Connor isn't there to meet Kyle and send him back?
Okay, let's all be positive now. Despite what is being said, there is decent-to-good action in this movie. Many people continue to point at how the second broke ground with its action sequences but we've come so far since then that it is almost impossible to do anything remotely inventive in this genre any more. Seeing how this movie is supposed to orbit the realm of actual physics, pushing the boundaries beyond this would have driven it towards Jupiter Ascending-level ham (Which I need to write about sometime soon). If anything, this movie needed less suspension-of-disbelief-type kinetic action and a return to the suspenseful body-horror the first film had. It obviously seemed like this movie was trying to do this with the first 45 minutes of the film but then decided against it. I don't understand why they decided to tonally jump from being Terminator to being Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. Just be an imitation of one of those, please.