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'Terminator Genisys' Movie Review

Saturday, July 4, 2015 • Hollywood Comments

Plot

The year is 2029 and the war between the humans and the machines has reached a pinnacle point. The Resistance are doing what they do best - resisting the massive onslaught by Skynet. As situation grows, Skynet comes up with a new weapon - a time machine they have created to send back in time a cyborg to kill Resistance leader John Connor's (Jason Clarke) mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). To stop this, John sends his most trustworthy soldier and Sergeant Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time to the year 1984 to save his mother. However, once Kyle travels back in time, he realizes things have changed completely and not as he had told so would be.

NOTE: MILD SPOILERS AHEAD

The movie opens with a monologue sequence that's pretty much become a standard now in Hollywood - showing us the rise of Skynet leading up to Judgement Day and the war that ensues between man and machine. Within no time are we taken right into the action where the human resistance are at full go with Skynet's army in a battle montage. The humans emerge victorious. However, it is short-lived as they learn Skynet has sent a Terminator (T-800) back in time to kill Sarah Connor before she can give birth to the resistance leader. This is when the resistance sends in Kyle Reese back in time to 1984 to protect her. And, that's when a known Terminator has arrived.

Although the plot so far sounds familiar to James Cameron’s original 'The Terminator' (1984), we learn that things turn different when Reese faces a T-1000 (Lee Byung-hun) disguised as a police officer. Right when Kyle almost gets terminated, Sarah Connor arrived with her own Terminator (Arnold Schwarzennegger) whom she calls "Pops".

After getting saved, Kyle tells Sarah that while traveling back in time, he had a vision of a fractured timeline where he sees himself grow up with his parents and that Judgment Day never took place and he wants to find out if this future has already come to pass. This is when things take an interesting turn as the story breaks away from what's happened in the earlier movies. Sarah and Kyle time time travel ahead to the year 2017 where they get a shot at taking down Skynet once and for all since it is set to gain access into technology through a software upgrade called "Genisys."

At this juncture, we get the hint that the filmmaker are trying something different and relevant to our times. As humans have become more dependent on technology, it makes sense that Skynet would use that against us. In addition, we are introduced to J. K. Simmons (Detective O'Brien), the police officer first on the scene when Reese arrives in 1984. Reese and Sarah showing up in the future convinces O'Brien his theory on time travel.

'Terminator Genisys' despite its promising start in the story loses direction on some levels mid-way into the second act. There's a limit on what to do and what not to do and the film is a prime example of pushing cheesy dialogues over the top. It just gets beyond too much at times. Schwarzenegger is perhaps the best consolation of the movie as he does what we know of the Terminator to do best - kick ass and deliver his trademark one-liners while fighting other Terminators. However, the problem seeps into his character too when he tries to give long scientific explanations to the time travel which on some levels confuses the viewer. Perhaps the biggest drawback for Arnold and the film is when the makers craft the plot to try and explain Arnie/Terminator/Pops looks so much older. There is one consolation here though when we get to see top-notch CGI work in the younger version of Schwarzenegger early on in the film.

We all have come to love over the years Emilia Clarke’s Daenarys Targaryen on 'Game of Thrones'. But, if there's one thing she falls short of, it's the fact that she's no Linda Hamilton whom we loved for her strength she brought to the role in the earlier Terminator films. Jai Courtney has enough talent and the physique to turn into an action star. Sadly, his biggest obstacle to turning one is himself since he seems a little artificial in delivering his dialogues and falls short on his emotions. What could have been perhaps the biggest plus for the film, Aussie actor Jason Clarke seems wasted, but not as wasted as 'Doctor Who' star Matt Smith (T-5000/Skynet)

Sometimes some things just don't make sense. The scenario where Cyberdine has a fully-functional time machine to go into the future in 1984, but fast-forward to 33 years in that same timeline is still trying to learning to master time travel. This is perhaps the biggest and obvious and definitely one of the most confusing flaws in the movie.

Bottom-line:

Director Alan Taylor's reboot of the 'Terminator' franchise with 'Terminator Genisys' although visually appealing has some obvious flaws in story-telling. What could have been something promising just reminds us of what we have seen for most part before. In short, the target is sharp, but falls short at the landing point.

VERDICT: Arnie is back, sorta

Rating: 3/5

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