Terminator Genisys (2015)


Was finally able to see this. What took me so long? Well, one, there’s the generally mixed to negative reviews. And two, life gets in the way. Work, too. Well, I don’t really care about Rotten Tomatoes. So, it’s really just the last two. And probably the endless and countless streams of choices we have now.

So, I’ve finally been able to watch Terminator Genisys. And surprisingly, it isn’t really bad. Yes, it’s supposed to be a franchise re-starter. And since it fared poorly at the box office, Arnie and James Cameron is left with no other choice but to restart. Again. Next time it would be with the original Sarah Connor: Linda Hamilton. And Deadpool director Tim Miller.

Obligatory plot summary? It goes like this: John Connor sent Kyle Reese back to 1984, to protect Sarah Connor, John’s mother. But Sarah Connor doesn’t need saving, she’s already got Pops to protect her. Pops is an aged T-800, played by an unde-aged Arnold Schwarzenegger. And just as Kyle Reese was leaving for the past, something happened to John. And Kyle arrived in an alternate 1984, where an older T-800 is there waiting for the original T-800, which is the villain in the first movie.

And yet, having an older and re-programmed T-800 in 1984 doesn’t eliminate the enemy’s threat. Instead, it brings T-1000 earlier in the timeline. At one point, they even have to deal with T-800 and T-1000 at the same time. So, Kyle Reese’s mission is still to protect Sarah, from, this time, more than just one Terminator—with the help of Pops, whom he doesn’t trust.

Sound confusing? Well, not really. And though the movie tries to complicate this “alternate/multiple timeline(s) thing” even further, it actually makes Genisys quite compelling, or at least, unpredictable. And time travel here is actually pretty straightforward when you compare it with the disappointingly flawed time-travel shenanigans in Avengers: Endgame.

The thing is, what Sarah already knew long before, Kyle doesn’t. And he’s a bit upset to learn about these things minutes before their little family reunion. And the little drama this movie has between Kyle and Sarah is, maybe not as much as what is there in the The Terminator, but the movie puts a new spin to it. In the original, Kyle had to protect Sarah, that’s his mission. And they fell in love. They made love. And Sarah became pregnant. But NOT this time. Sarah says they can’t, because John, in the future where Kyle came from, he goes haywire and then SkyNet wins. So they didn’t “mate,” which also makes old Arnie a bit disappointed. Who sent him anyway to way before 1984 anyway? My guess is it’s Sarah herself. But it doesn’t really matter. There won’t be a sequel for us to find out.

I like this new spin on Kyle’s and Sarah’s story. Here, Sarah doesn’t want Kyle to fall for her. Because she knew he’s going to die if he does. I know, maybe, only fans and those who saw The Terminator would understand that. But it still makes me a little sad when I think about how Kyle Reese died in the first movie.

I also like Emilia Clarke’s Daddy’s little girl Sarah Connor. Sure, you can’t replace the original Sarah; you can’t find someone who look, act, sound, and feel like the original. But Emilia Clarke does fine as a slightly younger looking version of Sarah (“soft and supple” according to one review) and she is just as sexy tough vulnerable as the Sarah Connor of 1984. Although she doesn’t look like she’s from the ’80s. Maybe Pops taught her a thing or two. Not just about guns and killing Terminators, but good fashion sense too.

DG terminator 2

Plot-wise, Genisys is more or less the same as Judgment Day, which is about trying to stop Judgment Day, or Genisys, or whatever they want to call it next time (i.e., Dark Fate). But it works because despite obviously leaning towards another Judgment Day ending, the movie has a few serviceable set-pieces (not great, but not bad either), playful call-backs to previous movies (“Come with me if you wanna live,” “I’ll be back”), and a few nice additions (“Rule this!” “John Connor talks too much” “Did you mate?”), granddad Arnie’s smiling face, and probably the best part of the movie, is when T-800 asks Kyle Reese to “protect MY Sarah” like a real granddad, all while he’s stuck in a blender. Man, that felt like that scene with the young John Connor near the end of Terminator 2. 👍

So, haven’t seen Genisys yet? It isn’t bad. Maybe not or just as good as T3: Rise of the Machines, but it’s worth the trouble. And as far as I’m concerned, there’s only one Terminator movie that’s really underwhelming. And that would be the one starring Christian Bale.

Originally posted on 02 Sep 2019.

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