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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Terminator: Genisys (2015)


In Khaleesi, we trust. And the Governator, too. I guess.

After finally defeating Skynet once and for all, John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends fellow soldier Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time to save his mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), from imminent death, courtesy of terminators sent from the future. However, when Reese arrives in 1984, he realizes that things have gone a bit awry; not only is Sarah totally understanding of why it is that Reese is here to find her, but she’s even brought around another terminator that’s supposedly on her side, a T-800 she refers to as “Pops” (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Now, the three must band together to ensure that they are able to stop Judgment Day of 2017 from happening, however, in order to do so, they’ll have to go through all sorts of crazy shifts and time-changes. While this may be an efficient way to stop the apocalypse from ever occurring, there’s also the fear that in the process, they’ll be running into all sorts of problems with local law enforcement, fellow T-800’s who want each and everyone dead, and another deadly terminator (Matt Smith) who sets his sights clear on screwing up each and everyone of Reese and Connor’s plans; something that Pops won’t let happen if he can help it.

Basically, there’s a whole lot of time-travelling going on in Genisys (misspelled, I know), but it’s surprisingly done so for a smart reason, even if the reason is a bit obvious. To get past the fact that T3 and Salvation were both pieces of garbage, the creators behind Genisys have made sure that their movie goes back in time to where the first began, change a few things around with that, and then jump all the way to the somewhat present day and woolah, it’s almost as if the third or fourth movie ever happened. We hardly ever get to go back to 1991 (when the second movie took place), but we don’t really need to because we already know that movie rules. Case closed.

Not naked? Boo.

Not naked? Boo.

Sadly, Genisys does not, in fact, “rule”, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the third and fourth combined.

Granted, that’s not saying much, but in a day and age where every sequel/remake/reboot seems like it’s so obviously just aiming for audience’s pockets with absolutely no shame whatsoever, it’s quite refreshing to get a blockbuster where there seems to be some sort of effort put into play. Sure, the movie definitely tries a bit too hard to make sense of itself, while at the same time, continuously shooting off more and more exposition, but it at least seems to be trying. Not to mention the fact that the movie sort of knows how goofy it’s premise can definitely get; many scenes here end with a character or two scoffing, “Oh, that totally makes sense”, in a sarcastic manner to give you the impression that the movie doesn’t want to take itself all that seriously.

A little seriously, definitely, but not too much so to where it’s turning people off by how unwilling it’s able to crack a smile and grin at itself. The jokes that these characters don’t always fly, and more often than not, feel like recycled gags that are thrown in to make a serious moment feel less of so, for no reason or another, but like I said before, at least there is some humor to be found. It’s all corny, mind you, but sometimes, there’s no problem with a little starch added to your meal. And speaking of the full meal, Genisys offers plenty of fun moments with its action-sequences.

After all, it is a summer blockbuster, so how could it not deliver on that front?

But like the two other movies before it, a lot of what bogs down a lot of the fun and excitement that can usually come from the action, is the endless need this movie feels to constantly hammer on and on about Skynet, what they’re capable of, what they’re up to, and just whom it is that’s working for them and calling all of the shots. Some of this is of course needed to create a villainous figure to identify with and root against, but the movie seems so hell-bent on just discussing the history of them and what they’ve got in-store, rather than doing a whole lot about it. Though they do eventually step up to the plate and fight the big baddies at Skynet, it’s after so much meaningless babble that it feels a little too late at times.

As with the first two movies of this franchise, everything worked best when James Cameron just kept his focus solely on the action between robots and humans. Anytime those movies focused on anything else, it was to help build characters and/or discuss what needed to be done next to keep the plot moving forward. It was hardly ever more difficult than that, however, Genisys makes it clear that they want to explain all that there is to explain about the mythology of this franchise and all of the players involved with it. Is this used as a way to inform new viewers? Or, is it a way to set-up more movies to come?

Talk about a face....lift.....

Talk about a face….lift…..

Because, oh yes, their definitely are more movies to come and honestly, I won’t be too upset when they come around. Don’t get me wrong, this movie isn’t terrific, but it still feels much like a Terminator movie, rather than just a dark, gritty and lifeless cash-grab, something that the last two movies before this did. Because from here on out, there’s so many paths this franchise can take and it’s something to look forward.

The only aspect that has me a little worried with this franchise continuing on to be a possible juggernaut, is the cast. Surprisingly, Jai Courtney, somebody who hasn’t wholly impressed me just yet, is the one who comes off as the most engaged as Kyle Reese. While he’s definitely the most human character of the bunch, there are still small moments where Courtney gets a chance to show off some of his charm. He’s still a little stiff, here and there, but for the most part, feels like he’s actually interested in giving this character something of a personality that isn’t laced with 80’s cheese, courtesy of Michael Biehn.

Everybody else, as much as I hate to admit it, is sort of going through the motions. A part of me wants to believe that this is because the script seems less interested in building any compelling personalities for these characters, and is more concerned with who is doing what where and at what time, but another part of me believes that maybe these actors didn’t all come fully ready to play. Okay, by now, it’s clear that Arnold Schwarzenegger is definitely just going through his same old moves again, and though he’s fine at it, it does seem to get a bit tiring now that he’s getting older. The CG is starting to show and the stunt-doubles are getting all the more recognizable; maybe it’s time to hang-up the leather jacket Arnold.

Just maybe.

Then, of course, there’s Emilia Clarke as the latest portrayal of Sarah Connor and she doesn’t fully fit in to the role quite well. Clarke has definitely proven that she can be a bit of a small-tempered bad-ass elsewhere, but here, she feels oddly-placed, as if she’s too young to play this sort of role, or too innocent. Which is especially weird to say, having seen her in all of Game of Thrones. And with Jason Clarke, as I’m sure you may know by now due to the incredibly idiotic trailers, his role as John Connor starts off simple, but then turns into something else completely and it’s a bit of a shame that Clarke isn’t given a chance to highlight any sort of emotion underneath it all.

But hey, at least J.K. Simmons is here and is funny. That’s all that counts, right?

Consensus: Neither terrific, nor a disaster, Terminator: Genisys works well with its action, and less with its nonsensical exposition.

6 / 10

"Something something, destroy Skynet, something something."

“Something something, destroy Skynet, something something.”

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

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12 responses to “Terminator: Genisys (2015)

  1. Mr Rumsey July 1, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Your review makes me want to check this out… just when I had convinced myself not too! I’m so borderline on this!

  2. Rodney Twelftree July 1, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Goddam this movie for not living up to expectations.

  3. MovieManJackson July 1, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    I’m actually not caught up with the franchise, but it sounds like I don’t need to be. Sounds like there is a bit more to like than I anticipated. Good review Dan.

    Also, I’m so in awe of how fast you get these up. I wish I could do more, but career calls unfortunately haha!

  4. Martin Richmond July 1, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    The general reception has been quite mixed, so it is nice to see a somewhat positive review! Good work dude!

  5. Mark Hobin July 1, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    This series should’ve stopped at T2. Great review though.

  6. Myerla July 1, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Even though I don’t think 3 is a bad film and 4 wasn’t the cinematic atrocity people say it is I wasn’t particularly sold by the trailers for this film…less so now because of the overall poor reception…still will see it though…

    Good review.

  7. Parlor of Horror July 1, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    I was having a tough time wrapping my head around an aging Terminator, but i’m sure they explain that in the film. It seems like it should be a decent film but will it hold up as time passes. I know I’m in the minority but I liked T3 quite a bit and don’t mind watching it when its on TV.

  8. ianthecool July 1, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Wow, that was a long review. Its better than 3 and 4? I men, those weren’t great movies, but I dont know if they were horrible either. Its too bad that you say Arnie is getting tiring, seeing him back may have been the only reason I would have wanted to watch this.

  9. lukebbtt July 2, 2015 at 5:32 am

    I have no idea what to expect from this one. Interested to see what Matt Smith gets up to.

  10. Jay July 3, 2015 at 4:12 am

    I’m sorry for all the nonsensical parts, but good review!

  11. Chris Evans July 5, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Nice review Dan, I actually enjoyed Genisys – shame it’s getting such a critical mauling.

  12. Hypersonic55 July 7, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Cool review yo, I thought the film was better than expected considering the reviews it got, however this was far from the return to form I had hoped for. As for the cast I liked Arnie most of all, I didn’t like Courtney that much, he just wasn’t all that engaging and Clarke felt miscast as Sarah. But other than that the film was fine, but just a bit meh, don’t think I’ll be running back to the cinema to see this one again.

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