Terminator: Genisys (2015)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB

USA, 2015Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media.  Screenplay by Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier, based on characters created by James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd.  Cinematography by Kramer Morgenthau.  Produced by David Ellison, Dana Goldberg.  Music by Lorne Balfe.  Production Design by Neil Spisak.  Costume Design by Susan Matheson.  Film Editing by Roger Barton.

That there are producers who keep bringing this lucrative franchise back to big screens is not surprising or regrettable, though even the most forgiving of moviegoers doesn’t expect anything to match up to the quality of James Cameron’s breakthrough masterpiece or his stunning 1991 sequel.  With that caveat in mind, there’s still no denying that this fifth entry in the series is the weakest of the bunch.   John Connor (now played by a fully unappealing Jason Clarke) is fighting the good fight against Skynet in 2029 and sends his most devoted soldier (Jai Courtney filling in for Michael Biehn) back to 1984 to save Sarah Connor (now played by Emilia Clarke) after he finds out that his enemies have sent a Terminator robot to the same time and place.  This mirrors the events in the original film, but a new timeline is created when it turns out that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bad-bot-gone-good character went back further in time after the events of the previous movies, recruited Sarah as a doomsday fighter from childhood and, in doing so, created a new future that does not place Judgment Day in the late nineties as previously seen.  Now Courtney and Clarke have to travel to 2017 and prevent a Google-like company from enslaving human kind through our tablets, and while the updating of this universe to suit our current technological lifestyle is more than a little bit appropriate, the bending and reaching that the writers have to do for everything to make sense results in a lot of nonsense jargon being spewed throughout a series of uninspired action sequences.  The performers seem like they want to have a good time but are too busy having to explain time travel to each other, making the few moments that director Alan Taylor tries to spend on some kind of emotional indulgence seem that much more laughable and trite (it doesn’t help that Courtney has zero chemistry with his slightly less confused co-star, and that we have the hot combination of Biehn and Linda Hamilton to cruelly compare them to).  The studio hoped to kickstart a series of films that they could profit from before Cameron would regain ownership of the franchise in 2019, but this film’s failure at the box office canceled any planned sequels and the series would not come back until Dark Fate in 2019.

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