Saturday, July 11, 2015

Terminator Genisys: Old Not Obsolete

Terminator Genisys is the 5th Terminator film.  The first two, Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) both directed by James Cameron, are classics.  THC prefers the original but that's probably because he saw it first so it had the most impact since everything was unexpected.  Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) was not very good and THC did not bother to see Terminator Salvation (2009) which by most accounts was pretty bad but thought he'd give Genisys a try particularly since Arnold Schwarzenegger was returning after missing the last film.

THC's expectations were dampened a bit by seeing a couple of lukewarm reviews but he was pleasantly surprised.  While not achieving the heights of T1 or T2, Genisys is a very enjoyable movie and definitely superior to T3, plus you get to see Schwarzenegger's Terminator try to smile which is one of the scariest things you'll ever see.  Here's the trailer though THC suggests you not watch it if you are still planning to see the movie.

The film looked great apart from some clumsy CGI during a San Francisco chase scene late in the movie.  It's one of the best 3D films THC has seen; the imagery was seamless and never felt awkward or gimmicky.

With one exception the cast ranged from good to excellent.  Schwarzenegger's back in form doing a terrific job playing the T-800 at various ages and, as he says, he's "old, not obsolete" which is how THC likes to think of himself.  Sarah Connor's played by Emilia Clarke (from Game of Thrones) who looks somewhat like the original Sarah (Linda Hamilton) and does a good job., T1 (L), T2 (R)), Genisys)

Jason Clarke is appropriately creepy as John Connor, leader of the rebellion against the machines and JK Simmons wonderful as Detective O'Brien who first encountered the Terminator crew in the original 1984 film and meets up with them again in 2017.

The one dud among the lead actors is Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese, Connor's right hand man who is sent back in time from 2029 to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor.   He doesn't have the charisma and presence to overcome his lack of acting chops leaving a hole in the center of the story.  Michael Biehn, who played Reese in T1 as well as Sigourney Weaver's love interest in Aliens, another Cameron film, was much better.

The plot is very convoluted; my head was hurting by the end of the film, though it was not as convoluted as the excellent Memento which would have caused my head to explode if it lasted five minutes longer.  It involves multiple intertwined alternative timelines which means it can take awhile in some scenes to get your bearings.  Think of the movie screenplay as a giant Mobius Strip that occasionally intersects with the timelines of T1 and T2.  THC sort of understood it as he was watching but if you ask him to explain it right now he can't.

THC looked for a plot diagram like those that can be found for the film Inception here and here but was unable to locate any.  The best he could do was to find this interview with the screenwriters.

Bottom line - if they make a 6th Terminator and Arnold comes back THC will go see it.

And, by the way, this Internet of Things business - let's think twice about it.