365 Movies By Day Reviews of Movies I Watch that I Feel Like Writing About


Terminator Genisys (2015)

I wanted to like Terminator Genisys. I really, really did. I know it got slammed by the critics (26% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), but I am a fan of the franchise. I even watched Terminator Salvation (a movie that Christian Bale should never have wasted his time with) a few days prior in anticipation of this movie. I knew all about the movie's problems. I knew that fans of the franchise would be, at the very least disappointed. I knew that many of the die-hards were upset with this movie. I had heard that it was confusing and difficult to follow. I knew that that the trailer gave away the movie's major twist. Yet I was willing to forget all of these things and held out hope that this movie could be more. I mean this was The Terminator franchise. It couldn't be worse than PredatorsLive Free or Die Hard, or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull could it? Those three movies were packed full of junk (especially Indiana Jones) and should have never been made. Well I am happy to report that Terminator Genisys was better than the three movies I just mentioned combined...but it still was disappointing. It was action-packed. It is very, very reminiscent of Terminator 2: Judgment Day (a movie that, in 1991, was so far ahead of its time in terms of CGI that it was absolutely ridiculous). It told a story that would have been good...had it completely disowned the previous movies in the franchise (especially the original and Terminator 2: Judgment Day). Terminator Genisys made it appear as if the first four movies in the franchise never happened. Really? That's the story? What would have happened if what happened didn't happen? This is a Terminator film. Most of us don't want to turn on our minds too much for a summer action flick like this.

The year is 2029 and John Connor (this time portrayed by the underrated Jason Clarke - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Lawless) has his a plan to infiltrate Skynet's last base and destroy its secret weapon, which is the time machine that sent the Terminator to kill John's mother, Sarah Connor. They are successful in the machine and all of the Terminators go offline. John tells the story of his mother and asks for a volunteer to enter the time machine and go back to 1984 Los Angeles to prevent a Terminators from killing his mother before she can give birth to John, the leader of the resistance. The original Terminator, the T-800 (aka Arnold Schwarzenegger - The Running Man, Total Recall) has already been sent to kill his mother and if he is successful, all of their victories in the future will have been for not (already confused? I know. Wasn't this the original Terminator movie?). Kyle (Jai Courtney - Divergent, Unbroken), a young man once saved by John Connor from a Terminator that was seconds away from killing him and one who has constantly been inspired by John ever since volunteers. John agrees and just before Kyle is whisked back into time and eliminate the need for this movie entirely, we see one of the Resistance fighters grabs John with a glowing arm and says, "You didn't think it was going to be that easy, did you?" Hence, we are led to believe that what the mission of the original Terminator movie failed and opens up the need to retell a story that has already successfully been told (i.e. its 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes).

Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World, Kill the Poor) was in a little over his head. This movie needed a more accomplished director considering that this tried to be more than just an action-packed sci-fi flick. Perhaps it's not all his fault. Writers Patrick Lussier and Laeta Kalogridis felt like they couldn't come up with anything moving forward from 2009's Terminator Salvation and had to tell a What If story instead. Now I totally understand wanting to get Schwarzenegger in this film and trying to come up with an acceptable story line for him (since, spoiler alert, he terminated himself at the end of Terminator 2: Judgment Day), but this? Retelling a story that has already successfully been told? There is no place for this and this film does nothing more to hurt the franchise. But, yet again, this is the story. Protect Sarah Connor. Maybe they can take my money again in a few years and tell the Protect Sarah Connor story a third way.

I am a huge fan of Emilia Clarke (television's Game of Thrones). There is almost nothing better than seeing an angry Khaleesi hellbent on extracting revenge on those who wronged her on HBO's biggest show of all-time. But, let's be honest, it's no fault of Clarke's, but it is hard for any of us to see Sarah Connor as anybody other than Linda Hamilton. The same ferocity that Clarke brings as Daenerys Targaryen just doesn't translate no matter how hard she tries to be Sarah. I am also a fan of Jason Clarke's (no relation in real life to Emilia). There was the chance here to make his character awesome and have us experience some kind of emotion as John turns evil, but THEY GAVE THIS AWAY IN THE TRAILER! Come on, man. Who does that? And Kyle was totally miscast as Kyle. He might be a fine actor with more experience, but I felt no emotional ties to him. I honestly didn't really care if he succeed or failed. A lot of that doesn't have to do with his performance in this movie, but everything else that I felt was wrong with this movie. However, his poor performance certainly didn't help. Likewise, Schwarzenegger was fine as "Pops", the name affectionately given to him by Sarah. Pops? Really? After all we've been through with the four previous movies over the past 30 years? He certainly didn't steal the show (which is a good thing). This movie could have gone overboard and made it as an homage to Schwarzenegger instead of just making him part of the story. Thank goodness it didn't, but even had it, could it have made the movie any worse? As below average as the acting, character development, and character chemistry was, that wasn't the problem with the movie. It was the script. The outstanding visuals and sound couldn't make up for us sitting in a theater watching a movie that none of us needed to see. If we wanted a movie with outstanding visuals and sound, we could have watched Twister, The Day After Tomorrow, Volcano, The Core, or any of the other terrible disaster movies that have been made in the last 20 years. As fans of The Terminator franchise, we deserved something better than what we got.

Plot 5/10
Character Development 5/10
Character Chemistry 5/10
Acting 6/10
Screenplay 5/10
Directing  6/10
Cinematography 10/10
Sound 10/10
Hook and Reel 7/10
Universal Relevance 5/10

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