Last week I decided to take a trip to the local movie theater. I went with a close friend of mine as we were hoping to finally see the new Disney/Pixar film Inside Out. We were both very excited to finally be able to watch the film EVERYONE has been raving about. As we approached the ticket booth we were both stricken with disbelief that the 8:15pm showing of Inside Out on a Tuesday night mind you, was in fact SOLD OUT. Of course we were both deeply disappointed not expecting a complete sell out for a film that had already been out for almost 2 weeks! We had a few options however: A) Find something else to do or B) Watch a different movie.
As we skimmed over the times of other movies, one film in particular caught my eye. It was the new Arnold Schwarzenegger film titled Terminator Genesis er I mean Genisys. I had heard and watched multiple videos of people giving ratings on this film ranging from absolutely terrible to a no more than decent follow up to James Cameron’s originals. Understanding that my hopes were not going to be high on this movie and seeing as how me and my friend are both die-hard Terminator fans, we decided to check out the latest incarnation of this franchise directed by Alan Taylor.
After watching this film, me and my friend walked out of the theater with a big smile on our faces. I can’t remember a time where I had ZERO expectations for a film and came out feeling a sense of appreciation. This film absolutely blew me away and was not what I had expected at all. There are plenty of reasons fans will appreciate the ways Alan Taylor was able to incorporate the greatness from the original two Terminator films. For this list, I’d like to give you “5 Reasons Terminator Genisys is Old NOT Obsolete.” WARNING: There are a few spoilers ahead but I tried my best to keep it at a bare minimum.
#5. The Score
If you’ve read most of my articles you should notice how much I stress the importance of the score in any given movie. The importance of the score is not to overshadow the film but rather to drive it, to bring excitement to the viewers by listening to the pulsating drums and stringed instruments that can make a film ‘epic.’ For me, a movies’ soundtrack has the potential to make or break a film. In this case, one of the strongest aspects of this film is the soundtrack and is written by Lorne Balfe with Hans Zimmer as the executive producer.
Even though this score is not the most memorable, it doesn’t have to be. As I said earlier, the soundtrack should be able to drive the film home to the audiences without hardly noticing. A good example of this is like the stage crew of a play. You know the sets have to be moved around somehow and you may even notice them doing it, but the idea is for them to hardly be noticeable and not prevent the flow and timing of the actual play. This is exactly what Balfe does with this score. It’s not extremely recognizable or memorable for that matter, but it gets the job done and if you ask me that’s all that is needed. If you’d like to listen to a good portion of the films score check out the video posted below!
#4. Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor
I don’t believe that anyone will disagree and say that Linda Hamilton’s portrayal as Sarah Connor from the original Terminator films is one of the greatest female acting performances of all time. The same actor went from a young waitress in Cameron’s first Terminator film to a character that resembles today’s Imperator Furiosa in the sequel. Hamilton clearly worked her a** off to get extremely fit for the role. She was no longer playing a damsel in distress but instead became a ruthless warrior willing to do whatever it took to stop the machines from killing her child.
However Terminator Genisys’s version of Sarah was performed beautifully by Emilia Clarke. Without spoiling to much of the film, based on the trailers she is already being raised up to become a soldier by none other than “Pops” her protector. Clarke both looks and acts the part of what Sarah Connor was brought up to be. Hamilton was clearly the better Sarah Connor character, but Clarke did everything she needed to do to prove to audiences that her take was a worthy addition to this long running franchise.
#3. Jason Clarkes as John Connor
Michael Edwards, Edward Furlong, Nick Stahl, Christian Bale, Thomas Dekker, and of course Dalton Abbott all played some form of John Connor with Abbott being the youngest. Now it’s Jason Clarkes’ turn to take a crack at yet another character who has constantly been recast over and over again. I have to say Clarkes’ take on this character may be one of the best especially at the beginning of the film when you see him rally the troops up to give one last speech to go after Cyberdyne and destroy the system once and for all.
I won’t spoil the twist this character has here, but I’m sure whether people have seen the movie or not, they at least know part of that storyline thanks to the films shameful marketing of the third official trailer. I wished I had not seen the newest trailer because going into the film not knowing the twist would have made for a good surprise. However, since I already knew going in about this new John Connor, that did not stop me from enjoying this character. I thought the change here was unique and fit the time travel story well in my opinion. Like Emila Clarke as Sarah Connor, Jason Clarke gives a good performance here and creates another memorable John Connor character to the franchise.
#2. The Action
If you’ve come looking for a fun summer blockbuster with tons of action then look no further than Terminator Genisys. The entire film is filled with non-stop action from start to finish. Like T2, the opening starts out with nuclear weapons playing a key role once again along with the battle between the humans and Cyberdyne. John Connor as expected is forced to take out the main computer system to prevent humans from becoming extinct. The opening scenes pay homage to the original films in rather subtle ways. The intro almost makes you feel like you are viewing T2 all over again and cannot wait to see the adventure that lies ahead for our lead characters.
The only concern I had with the action in this film is that most of it looks all too familiar. In other words, we’ve seen most of these action scenes. There were a few scenes that felt a bit over the top including a helicopter chase scene that fails mightily in comparison to T2’s helicopter scene. Also Byung Hun Lee’s T-1000 had some scenes that seemed like a carbon copy of Robert Patrick’s performance of the titular villain. However, that does not mean all is lost. The short but sweet scene of Schwarzenegger fighting his “old” self is awesome along with a very memorable fight towards the end of movie.
There may not have been one particular scene that stands out among the rest of them like the police department assassination scene in The Terminator or the dirt bike and tractor trailer chase scene from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but Terminator Genisys had more memorable action scenes than Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation combined. The action is not perfect by any means but Taylor gives us enough action with plenty of dialogue throughout to please the fans. Terminator Genisys most assuredly fits the category of a fun summer blockbuster film.
#1. Arnold’s Back!
What did Terminator Salvation lack that none of the other films did? That’s right Schwarzenegger’s character. Of course there were plenty of reasons to hate on Salvation and it is arguably the absolute worst of the franchise however not having the actor who was in all of the previous films was a mistake (and I’m not referring to his poorly constructed CGI version of himself in the film). If you’ve seen Terminator Genisys or at least have read or watched reviews online you will notice that one of the positives critics or fans will say agree on is that Schwarzenegger is the best part of this film.
As he states constantly in the film, Arnold is “Old NOT obsolete.” This quote could not have been regurgitated better as he is at his best and once again steals the show as the Guardian who is nicknamed “Pops” by Sarah. The Guardian is characterized as a father figure to Sarah much like he was to a younger John Connor in the first Terminator sequel. It’s great how the writers were able to explain Arnold’s actual body aging in a way that makes sense. It’s not to far fetched to believe that since the Terminators are encased with real human skin that it only makes sense to realize that skin ages over time. That’s exactly how it is explained in the movie and most importantly it works.
Another reason why I loved the return of Schwarzenegger is the humor he brought with his character. Arnold has always been a bada** but it’s his humor in this film that brought us a more “human” side to a terminator if that makes sense. Even though he has stated that terminators cannot have any feelings, you can tell that this one was different. In fact there’s a scene towards the end when you notice this. Listen closely to what he says in the scene below, then watch the newest film and you’ll see what I mean.
There has been so much hate over this film that I cannot understand why. This film is certainly better than Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and much more improved than the highly disappointing Terminator Salvation, so why all the flack? I really don’t have an answer to this other than that people are expecting it to be as good as the originals. James Cameron has set the bar extremely high for his two original films so it should come as no surprise that this film is not better than the originals. However just because it’s not better doesn’t mean its garbage.
Terminator Genisys is far from terrible but at least in my opinion, it’s the best sequel since Terminator 2: Judgment Day. There is enough to enjoy in this film other than it being a Terminator movie. But that’s the point, it certainly feels like a Terminator movie and is a worthy sequel. By the end of the film you will see that Taylor has left the door open for yet another film and perhaps a third and hopefully final film. If Terminator Genisys is the start of a new trilogy, then they have started off on the right foot. I hope this film does well at the box office because I’m curious to see where the story will go from here. If it doesn’t perform well and this is the last Terminator film for at least a while, then I can at least say the studio went out strong after the atrocious Terminator Salvation.
Now that you heard me ramble on how great this movie was, I’d like to hear YOUR thoughts on it? Did you think this film was as bad as critics or other reviews have said it was? Please share your thoughts and comment below!