Check out Josh and Violet’s male vs. female perspective reviews of Terminator Genisys, directed by Alan Taylor, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emila Clarke, Jason Clarke, and Jai Courtney! Guest writers David and Tamara provide their male vs. female perspective reviews as well!
Josh’s Movie Review of Terminator Genisys:
This holiday weekend marked the opening of the fifth installment of the Terminator movie franchise, Terminator: Genisys. Unfortunately, the film has tanked critically (27% on Rotten Tomatoes), and financially as well, coming in 3rd place behind movies that have been out for weeks now (Inside Out and Jurassic World). The fifth movie is directed by Alan Taylor (probably best known for Thor: The Dark World), and revolves around Kyle Reese ( Jai Courtney) going back in time to save Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) from a threat from the Machines. John Connor (Jason Clarke) is the man responsible for sending Kyle Reese back in time, which we all have known from the previous films. And of course, the lovable T-800 himself returns, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Typically my views on films, for the most part, line up with how the film does critically. However, this is one of those times where I am a bit at odds with what the critics are saying. I am really not sure why Terminator Genisys is getting such scathing reviews. There are plenty of problems with the movie sure, but it turned out to be about what I thought it would be–a fun action movie, with time travel and robots. Let’s talk about the nitty-gritty. I will try to avoid spoilers, even though the film’s trailer did a pretty good job of that itself; more on that later.
Let’s talk about the positives: The special effects in the film were great, which is expected from a Terminator film. The liquid metal T-1000 looked great, the effects of the T-800 looked great, and the various other effects all seemed top-notch. The scenes from the “future” were great as well, actually seeing some of the war against the machines. The movie was spectacularly eye-pleasing. We had some of the great Terminator music make its appearance, although it didn’t seem to have quite the presence as previous films.
Acting-wise, I thought the film was pretty good in that regard as well. Schwarzenegger nailed it as the T-800 again. I think that his role as the Terminator in the past 3 films (Salvation doesn’t really count) and this one is probably Arnold at his best. Mainly because his accent is not so distracting as a robot, I guess. This movie did a good job with humor and the T-800 character, and had some great emotional moments for what is essentially a hunk of metal. I also thought that Jai Courtney did a great job as Kyle Reese. John Connor was executed well, and I think J.K. Simmons is great in all that he shows up in.
Now it is time to dip into a little bit of the bad stuff. Acting-wise, I did not enjoy Emilia Clarke’s performance as Sarah Connor. It didn’t feel like Sarah Connor to me. It could be that her British accent came through, and was distracting, but it was hard to put my finger on it. While not acting related, I thought Kyle Reese’s constant ragging on “Papa” (the nickname given to the T-800) was a bit overdone. I would think that Kyle would have been told about the Terminator helping Sarah. But maybe not, which leads into a bit more bad stuff–the confusing storyline.
If you watch this movie, with only a tertiary concern about how this story fits in with the rest of the franchise, there won’t be any issues. But when you really dig in, things start to get muddled really quickly. I think I will have to jump into some spoiler territory now, so you have been warned!
So let’s look at the previous movies (excluding Salvation, as I don’t remember it well enough), so we see where we are at. In the future, where John Connor is the leader of the resistance, he sends Kyle Reese back to the past, who eventually becomes John’s father, because he falls in love with Sarah Connor, who he is supposed to protect so that John Connor can be born. That’s already a paradox there, but we have all excepted that. In T-2, basically the story is the same, except a new Terminator is sent back, the T-1000, and John Connor sends back a T-800, now reprogrammed to help Sarah and John survive. Time-wise in the future, things have more or less stayed the same, just somehow John was able to get a T-800, and the Machines came up with another robot to send back.
In Rise of the Machines John winds up inevitably at Judgement Day, and the war has begun by the end of the film, putting John in his leadership role.
That was long winded, but I want to illustrate how confusing the fifth movie is. In the future, we see what I assume is the first time that a Terminator is sent back in time, and when Kyle Reese is sent back in time. What is bothersome right away, is that if this Terminator was sent back in time right at that moment, why did the present time not change? I guess the argument could be made that it did change, this was what was always to happen (which seems to be the approach the Terminator series tends to take), but things get more muddled. (This is a big spoiler coming up, so you have been warned, yet again!) At the moment Kyle goes back in time, John Connor is attacked. Kyle seems to experience another set of memories while he is being sent back, but more importantly, when John does go back (to 1984), the past has now been rewritten, with a good T-800 destroying the original bad T-800, right when it makes its appearance. Additionally, now the liquid metal T-1000 has come back to 1984. It almost seems like the movie has contradicted its own “rules” for time travel.
There are a couple other problems as well–Like where is the liquid metal T-1000 and the T-800 that were sent back in T-2? or the T-X from Rise of the Machines? Did this new timeline erase all of that? Again, it feels like they are breaking the series’ own rules for time travel.
Now the final story point I want to discuss is probably one that ticked off a lot of people for a couple reasons. One, it was ruined in the trailers for the film. Why would you do that? People figured it wouldn’t be a big deal for the film, but it was one of the biggest reveals in the film. But two, it fundamentally changes the lore of the series. For those unaware of what I am referring to, I won’t spoil it, but what is revealed is a very dark day for the future of mankind after Judgment Day, and really quite depressing in a way.
So, after that rant about the story and logistical problems of the movie, I have to say it was still a lot of fun. The nostalgia of seeing the older scenes used in the film was exciting, and time travel a couple of times was a lot of fun. I am a sucker for a decently done time travel movie, and I think this one fit the bill quite well. I would give Terminator: Genisys a 7 out of 10. Worthwhile to see, despite the critical and financial trouble it is having.
David’s Movie Review of Terminator Genisys:
Terminator Genisys is the 5th film in the Terminator franchise, and it’s very similar to the new Jurassic World in that if you haven’t seen the 2 most recent films in the series, you can still see this one without missing out on anything. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Strangely, the setup of this actually has more in common with X-Men: Days of Future Past; we’re in a dystopian future in which mankind is at war with the machines, so in order to save the future, we have to send someone back in time to prevent the beginning of the end from occurring. And that’s basically where the similarities end. While Days of Future Past used the time travel element to effectively erase what happened in the two bad films in the series (The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine), Genisys used it to effectively change things that happened in the two BEST films in the series (Terminator 1 and 2)!
So let’s start with what didn’t work in the movie. Plotwise, Genisys is kind of a mess. I get it, time travel is hard. It’s almost impossible to not get mixed up in inconsistencies, alternate timelines, and universe ending paradoxes. Usually, the easiest way to resolve this (or minimize it) is having the plot be as simple as possible. The more complicated the plot is, the smarter the script has to be in order to manage all the ins and outs. Genisys fails in this regard, so it all just comes across as muddled, messy and convoluted.
Jai Courtney was completely miscast as Kyle Reese. I’m sorry, but he was just so dull and plain, he had no emotion, no personality, and no comedic delivery on the occasion he tried to say something funny. And that might be fine if this was the first cinematic iteration of Kyle Reese, but this character is completely different from the way Michael Biehn portrayed Kyle Reese in the original 1984 Terminator, and when I say different, I mean that in the worst way possible. It’s sad when the actual dry, stern, emotionless robot in the movie has more personality and more humor than the human in the movie.
He also had no chemistry with Emilia Clarke, who I also wasn’t sure about going into the movie. I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan, and from all the marketing, and images, and trailers, I just didn’t see her as Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor. But I really did end up liking her character and her portrayal of a young Sarah Connor, who’s kind of a mix between the naive waitress Sarah from the first movie and the kicking ass and taking names Sarah from the second movie.
Speaking of stuff that did work in the movie, the movie started out great! We got a look at the world before the war against the machine, pretty much our world, then we saw what Skynet did to cause Judgment Day, and we got to see the world during the war, which is the dystopian, post-apocalyptic future we’re accustomed to in Terminator films. I liked the contrast between the before and after.
It was also great seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger back as the Terminator. Like I said, he was one of my favorite parts of the whole movie.
Overall, the plot was mostly muddled and convoluted, the action was good, but there wasn’t really anything really memorable about it, the casting was a hit with Emilia Clarke and a miss with Jai Courtney. It was a mostly fun action movie, if you don’t mind turning your brain off while watching and not really thinking too hard about it afterwards. Nowhere near good enough to be a worthy follow up to the amazing first 2 Terminator films, and not quite bad enough to deserve the 27% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’d give Terminator Genisys a 5.5/10.
Violet’s Movie Review of Terminator Genisys:
Terminator Genisys, the fifth installment in the Terminator franchise, was released this week. The film is directed by Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World), and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard), Matt Smith (Doctor Who – although he seems to be going by “Matthew Smith” now?), and J.K. Simmons (Whiplash).
Growing up, I was a huge fan of the Terminator franchise. Terminator 2 came out the summer before I was in second grade, and I remember having T2 trading cards, and getting together with a group of boys during recess and, well, trading the cards. I felt cool because I was the only girl among this group. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I insisted that a Terminator 3 was possible. So when Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was announced, I was very excited, because it felt like I had been waiting all my life for it. I remember liking it, but of course, it would never live up to the first two. Then when I heard about Terminator Salvation a few years later, I was really looking forward to it. Judgment Day had come, and we were finally going to meet the legendary John Connor, the great soldier from the future – and he would be played by Christian Bale, one of my favorite actors. But then when I saw the movie, I was greatly disappointed. It felt like John Connor was merely a secondary character. So then with this newest addition, I was hopeful that it could redeem the Terminator franchise.
I assume that if you’re interested in seeing Terminator Genisys, that you’re a fan of the first two, or at least are familiar with the premise. If not, then I don’t know why you would want to see this movie, and frankly, I think you would be a little lost trying to follow what’s going on. But let’s review anyway. In the first Terminator, John Connor sends fellow soldier Kyle Reese back in time to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah Connor from the T-800 Terminator cyborg that the machines have sent back in time to kill her. Kyle Reese ends up impregnating Sarah, and John Connor is their son. In Terminator 2, an identical T-800 is sent back to protect 10-year old John Connor from a more advanced cyborg, the T-1000. The third and fourth movies are pretty much irrelevant in Terminator Genisys.
In Terminator Genisys, we get to see things from John Connor and Kyle Reese’s perspective in the future, as they bring down Skynet, but are too late to stop the original T-800 from being sent back, so John Connor sends Kyle Reese back to protect Sarah Connor, echoing the events of the first movie. But when Kyle Reese gets to 1984, although some things seem familiar from the first film, things are actually completely different, as he has entered into an alternate timeline. He then finds himself on an entirely different mission than expected, though with the same ultimate goal: to prevent Judgment Day and save the world from the machines.
As a fan of the Terminator franchise, especially the first two movies, it was fun to hear old lines pop up that came from those movies, sometimes used in different contexts, and sometimes exact dialogue mirroring the original scene. There were also several instances when certain scenes or aspects were specifically taken from the originals. But then things take an unexpected turn and you’re left wondering, just what is going on? There’s a lot of “timey wimey” stuff going on, and I found myself trying to figure out how things ended up this way, and what sort of repercussions these changes would have on the overall storyline. Although it was a bit distracting, that’s part of the fun of time travel movies.
As many of you may know, there was a spoiler in the most recent Terminator Genisys trailer, which was also perpetuated in a more recent promotional poster. I had heard that there was a pretty big spoiler floating around, so I made every effort to avoid it, and successfully made it into the movie without finding out what it was. In the off chance that you also somehow managed to avoid said spoiler, I will refrain from saying what it is here. What I will say though, is that I think it was a big mistake to reveal this bit of information, as I think it was a huge spoiler. I would have been quite upset had I heard about this before I saw the movie, as it is a major plot point.
Overall, I enjoyed Terminator Genisys. I’m not sure why it has such a low score on Rotten Tomatoes (27% at the time of writing this. Ouch.). I mean, it wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t nearly that terrible. It was pretty good, but didn’t live up to Terminator 2, though I don’t know if anything ever could. I think I’d actually rank it 3 out of the 5. It had a lot of great action scenes, an interesting storyline, and the graphics were good as well. There was even some humor thrown in, which I appreciated and enjoyed. Sure, there were some times that you might question how realistic certain things were, but with Terminator, you just kind of accept it and move on. Probably the weakest part about the movie was the some of the acting, which I sort of expected going into it, so it didn’t bother me too much. I did miss the iconic Terminator music, which we did get a slight taste of in the beginning, but then it evolved into something different.
Although I didn’t like the ultimate fate of a certain character, I did like that the door was left open for another sequel. There were hints dropped throughout the movie that there’s a lot more going on with this new story arc than we learned about in this movie. I just hope that Terminator Genisys does well enough to support another sequel so that we can get those answers.
My rating: 7.5/10
Tamara’s Movie Review of Terminator Genisys:
The Terminator is back in action in Terminator Genisys! Directed by Alan Taylor, we see the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of his most iconic roles. Added to the mix are Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, Jason Clarke as John Connor, and Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese. Much like Jurassic World, I went into this movie with a lot of nostalgia and love for the original two movies, and according to James Cameron himself, this can be counted as the “official third film in the franchise” and claimed he thought it was respectful to the first two.
If you’ve seen the trailers, posters, or just been on the internet in the last few months, you’ve probably been spoiled on one huge point in the movie and many other little points. I’m going to try to avoid adding to that if you have been working hard to hold out. Sadly, I do have to mention that this burst a big bubble for me during the movie. I went into it hoping that it wasn’t actually a spoiler and that it was just out of context, but as soon as the scene starts you know exactly what is going to happen and it loses the fun that could be had during that scene.
When the movie starts, we see the future post-apocalyptic world as we know it from T1 and T2, and get a little insight into how John Connor led the final assault against Skynet, and we see the events unfold as they prepare to send Kyle Reese back to protect Sarah Connor in the 80’s like we see in the first Terminator. This time, while Reese is getting ready to leap back, something goes wrong and things get a little twisted. The past is not exactly how we know it (or how Reese expects it) and Sarah is not the weak, naive girl she was in the beginning of the franchise. She’s more like John Connor was in T2 as a kid who grew up with too much information about the end of the world. The timeline has shifted and they must find a way to stop Skynet from launching a new operating system named Genisys that will lead to what will now be Judgment Day.
The beginning of this movie is fun and different enough that it feels like a fresh story but a great homage to the originals. You start to think they are going to improve upon the story of the first two movies and it brings up a few new fun questions. Arnold is back as the T-800 and even has a great scene fighting another T-800 that is much younger. It worked a lot better than I expected and was honestly the only action scene I really remember. Everything else fell flat. For an action/sci-fi movie, it was just too forgettable. When they get into the new timeline, it gets really messy and confusing. Everyone I talked to seems to take something different away and no one can really agree on what the story was trying to say. Time travel is always a hard line to follow but this just got too wobbly.
The actors in this fell short even though it has many actors I quite like. Arnold was easily my favorite in this, and I never expected that outcome with this cast. Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney had no chemistry. Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese was stiff and bland, but I felt he was just what a soldier from a post-apocalyptic life like his would be, but then that doesn’t really flow with how Kyle Reese was portrayed in the first film. He also seemed way too buff. I’m assuming they didn’t have a lot of great food to survive off after Judgment Day and they have been on the run from the machines for a long time, so when and how did he get so buff? I was excited to see Matt Smith and I felt his part was underused. He had only a short scene and a few flashes and it seems like they are saving him for the next movie and I hate feeling like we have to wait for the next movie for anything. The same goes for J.K. Simmons. A great actor on all counts and his role was underused and could have been a really fun plot tool, but they let that go too soon and it fizzed without the pop I was waiting for.
For a time travel movie to be done well it needs to be smart and well written. This did not get accomplished. When I look back at Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and try to connect the threads to this story, it just opens up so many plot holes and makes it too messy. This movie tries to undo the damage done by the 3rd and 4th movie by going back again to the parts that we love most, but it ends up sucking all the magic out. In the end you just want them to get in a time machine and try again to do this movie the right way.
I rate this movie a 5 out of 10.