Terminator Genisys Review

Please, don’t be back

Sarah Connor has never been this weak. Doughy eyed, smitten like a teen, and uncharacteristically attached to her “Pop.” She’s sexualized. She’s endlessly protected. She’s repetitively saved. This is not Sarah Connor and this cannot be Terminator.

Were Connor (Emilia Clarke) Genisys’ tipping point, it may have landed face down with the goofy Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and generally useless/harmless Terminator Salvation. Fun, bloated; summing up expectations for where this series has gone. This is more like a syndicated TV show. A bad one, to be clear, not Sarah Connor Chronicles. Genisys is the worst thing to happen to a sci-fi action franchise since Godzilla miserably respawned on American shores in 1998. It’s that embarrassing.

terminatorgenisys2

It is unfathomable the level of work this film took to create, more so that no one in the production line seemed to catch the insufferable redundancy of its existence, its action, and its events. Genisys pings nostalgia trails, expensively recreating 1984’s Terminator scenes wholesale with a computerized Arnold now replacing the real life graying one. It inserts convoluted plot only as an extreme necessity, rummages through cliches, and dumps the entire series into a waste bin of impossible computer generated sequences so desperate to excite, helicopters fly sideways. Side. Ways.

Genisys is a happy film, funny too – the funniest/happiest of the bunch in a series concerning an inevitable fate of misery, hardship, and war. We’re all sentenced to a life of calamity, but Arnold Schwarzenegger smiles a lot. There are rolling green hills and a sunset. It’s remarkable a rainbow does not sneak into the imagery for more levity. At the dawn of this Judgment Day, it wouldn’t be out of place.

… the guns interrupt, protrude from, and bore the film until it drowns itself under a pile of discarded shells.

How frustratingly senseless this movie is. Michael Bay’s metal clashing, wanton Transformers films are biblical in comparison. When those robots shoot one another, there is (sometimes) a point, even palpable story impact. A new nano-bot Terminator – created purely for the studio specification of giving an audience something new – continuously takes clips of shotgun and machine gun fire throughout Genisys. The guns are ceaseless, emblematic of America’s continued gun problem, certainly. Here the guns interrupt, protrude from, and bore the film until it drowns itself under a pile of discarded shells. And why all of the shooting? It’s unclear. Genisys rapidly invokes a clause of invincibility for its newest member of the SkyNet line, and yet expects tension as Jai Courtney’s Kyle Reese holds this new machine at pistol point.

terminatorgenisys3

We are a problem, says Genisys. We’re too attached to our cell phones and social media. Yawn. To Genisys, we are so obsessed, a nurse could carry on a personal conversation while stapling a patient’s wound. That happens, and that is apparently our cause for Judgment Day. What a way to go out, but better to be staring into a void of status updates than this film when the time comes.

There are nukes though. Instantly, actually. Paramount’s logo fades and the retelling of a fateful day when machines take control spreads across screens in a titanic display of impersonal nuclear fury – for the fourth time in the series. The introductory chunk of Genisys is fanatical about repeating the past in this way. Scenes recall key incidents and nostalgic moments in a blur of expository storytelling. Time-crossing Terminators find themselves, identical Terminators fight as if Genisys were invaded by fan fiction, and shape shifting Terminators melt. When it’s over, Genisys hits a full stall, but there is no wish for the guns to come back. Please, no more guns in this Terminator movie. To think those words would ever be uttered.

This is the studio sequel where the board room speaks over sense. “We can do one more.” A legacy is then twisted and bent to fill quarterlies, nothing more. Quality control is abolished. The days of slaughtering namesakes in the vein of Highlander II or Jaws 3 should be passed. Lord of the Rings. Harry Potter. Hunger Games. Marvel/Disney’s 20 film comic odyssey. Do it right and audiences spend. Do it wrong, they run. They need to be sprinting away from this patchwork Terminator.

Schwarzenegger’s science-y gobbldy babble about conductions and magnetism and displacement and quantum theory would have children shaking their heads were it placed in an ’80s cartoon. Here, it’s science because time travel is treated merely as an advantageous, profitable reset or at another point, a means of formality disruption. Following the mystery necessitates a flow chart with multi-colored bubbles with criss-crossing lines, intersecting circles, with an ending point which asks if someone from the past should see this film in the future. It ends on, “NO.” That’s all caps for a reason.

Movie ★☆☆☆☆ 

[display_rating_form]
[display_rating_result]