The first thing I want to bring up about Genisys is the publicity. There is a MASSIVE SPOILER added to the story that brings the whole of the saga in a complete 180 and makes you question everything you know about this timeline and its characters. And it is right there in the trailers and the its even on the front of the DVD box. Brilliant. It is like they put out Empire Strikes Back, with a poster saying ‘I Am Your Father’. And no I did not use the aforementioned publicity at the top of this review, rather the much better T-1000 model. Wait, there is a T-1000? Man, this film is a spoiler nightmare as soon as you press Play, obviously because you know these characters and you know how time plays out. An aged Arnie keeps asking whether Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese have mated yet and whilst the first time it sounds ridiculous, you star going down the old plot lines and realise that nothing makes sense if these two don’t fuck. Pardon my French, vicar.
There is a lot of fun to be had here, it is a popcorn Terminator movie, hell I never thought I would live in a world where a T movie has a 12 certificate. Thus it is less savage than the original, but with the time travelling alternate timeline tomfoolery, you could say it is MORE savage just because it shakes up events that we have spent our lives being told were inevitable. This presents scenes like in Days Of Future Past, where there just does not seem to be any danger, because you know these characters exist, you’ve seen them on a different clock – there is more imagination used in the way Genisys messes with your mind though so let’s shine a light the good things shall we?
The T-1000 is still awesome, still as deadly and seemingly unstoppable as he was in T2. Of course I say ‘seemingly’ as we have already seen him destroyed. In the future/past/future. Mom, my head hurts! Arnie is decent when he is in protect mode, the idea of an aged Terminator seemed to make little sense when you saw the posters but, unlike most of the mind boggling things going on here, it is explained in a couple of lines and makes perfect sense. Time means nothing to these machines, there is a beautiful moment where there is a time travel mission to 2017 and unable to get in the machine, ‘Pops’ (Too much humanisation, there!) merely stands up and waits. For years. This sort of subtlety might be at odds with the rest of the ‘chuck it all at the screen’ ideas, but it is a beautiful scene many may not even notice.
J.K. Simmons can pretty much improve any film just by injecting himself into it and here he is again bringing a smile to your face and finding himself over his head, but proved right about what he saw back there in the past. He’s a joy. Anyone would have a hard time trying to bring back Sarah Connor, Linda Hamilton’s performance in T2 is pretty much perfect, up there with Ripley in the action heroes stakes. I think Emilia Clarke works for me as I have never seen her in anything else. Forgive me, GoT peeps, but it actually makes her Sarah Connor better as I have no predetermined image of her going in, she is Sarah Connor, she is everything you loved in T2, no longer needing protecting, now she is an aggressor, a beautiful bomb ready to explode at Skynet.
So, that terrible title. It all makes sense now. Watching Skynet get ready for Judgement Day with the introduction of Genisys, an app that brings all of your entertainment/communication devices together is very similar to seeing a new Apple ad, or the game reveals at E3, the same kind of drip feed desire that ensures that everybody wants the product that somehow they have managed to ive without all these years. Hell, in the original Terminator we never even had mobile phones or the Internet and now Genisys is showing us a future, ONLY ONE YEAR AWAY, in which the machines can rise merely by taking over all of our free time, a trojan horse charging up there in the corner ready to strike when you look away from the tiny expensive screen. Suddenly we are in modern day social commentary instead of the sci-fi bonkersness of the usual business. I guarantee the first thing you will do after Genisys is pick up your phone and turn it off. Although perhaps that was just me and you will still check to see if you have any messages from your favourite apps. These Genisys scenes bring to mind A.I. and I, Robot, adding some serious questions about the place and influence of technology in our world. Is it just the modern equivalent of drawing your history on the walls, or are you being led down a path that eventually will see the technology owning you? Very interesting ideas, especially for something I already called a popcorn movie.
It’s great to revisit these iconic characters, I mean there are scenes recreated here that are over 30 years old and you will smile as if you just saw them yesterday. I can’t say that about Salvation, which I remember absolutely nothing about.
So what you have here is a welcome addition to the saga, a third best film and you didn’t really expect it to top the first two without James Cameron behind the camera did you?
Oh and yeah, he says ‘I’ll Be Back’ (followed by Sarah looking at him questioningly and going ‘What?’, perhaps the funniest moment in an otherwise dark tale) if that is what you came for.
One final thing, do NOT watch the end credits as there is an end scene, isnt there always these days, which essentially gives you a kick in the knackers and unravels everything you have just seen. IDIOCY. Without this retarded moment, Terminator Genisys is another welcome two hours in a truly iconic universe. Despite how many times the goddamn rules keep changing! 🙂
Terminator – Old. But not obsolete.