I went to see Terminator Genisys over the weekend and, overall, I found it to be pretty good. There are a lot of negative reviews out there at the moment, mostly from critics, but it really wasn’t that horrible. The main thing that it has going against it is people’s preconceived notions that it will be bad. The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day are such incredible films that it’s easy to see why an audience wouldn’t think anything could possibly be as good, or even remotely close to as good, as they are. There are so many expectations that go along with films on this level of greatness. If I look at it as a comparison of those films, then yes, this is not a good film at all. However, if I look at it as an individual entity that takes some plot points from another movie, then it was actually a good piece of entertainment.
I’ve decided to do this review a little differently and list the elements that Terminator Genisys has going for it and those that are working against it. Please feel free to leave a comment about what you think it did well and what just did not work.
- The visual effects were spectacular; the facial replacements were spot on. There was so much attention to detail when they did the visual effects for the younger version of the Arnold Terminator that it was hard to believe that it wasn’t real. This is probably the best CG I’ve seen of a human being. Usually, you can tell that something you’re looking at isn’t quite right but it looked perfect here. This leads into my next point:
- They did a respectable job of paying homage to the first terminator. I watched the original within a day of watching Terminator Genisys and from the moment the T-800 (Arnie) showed up in 1984 until the T-1000 intercepts Kyle Reese, it’s virtually identical. There was so much attention to the small, seemingly inconsequential moments, like Kyle checking the size of his foot against the shoe and Arnie getting his clothes from the three punks. I half expected Bill Paxton to show up with his blue spiky hair.
- They were still able to make this movie original enough to warrant it being made while maintaining the integrity of the original. They were able to explain how the timelines were different without taking away from any pervious plot points. Everything, for the most part, made sense within the context of the world that has been created with the Terminator franchise (at least with the first two movies, and they’re the only ones that count anyways).
- I didn’t like Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor. I like Emilia Clarke and I know that she is capable of playing strong female characters, because she does it really well in Game of Thrones but I didn’t buy her as a hardened warrior. To be fair, she did have a lot to live up to. Linda Hamilton is and always will be the true Sarah Connor to me. Clarke looks too young and doesn’t have the ferocity needed in this role.
- The writing was not where it should have been. There were so many forced conversations where the only goal was to explain what was happening or the motivation of the characters. I understand that that is the purpose of most dialogue but it isn’t usually so blatantly obvious. For example, when Kyle Reese and John Connor catch up with each other on their way to a strategic meeting at the beginning of the movie and seem to been in a rush because the end of the world is nigh, they suddenly start talking about what they’ll do when the war is over. It isn’t the time or place and, if they’ve been friends for 12 years, you would have assumed that they would have had a conversation similar to this already. There were a lot of moments like this that felt forced and out of context.
- I found Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor’s budding romance to be incredibly awkward and uncomfortable. In all fairness, I find a lot of romantic scenes in movies to be uncomfortable but this movie took it to a whole other level. They were trying to create an electric chemistry between the two and it felt forced and fairly unnatural. It seemed like they were going to rip their clothes off at any moments and jump each other but we didn’t see this connection establish itself.
- There were moments where the film was trying too hard to be funny and the comedy fell flat. Perfect example of this is when Sarah explained that she’s trying to get Arnie to blend in so she teaches him to smile. It’s supposed to be a funny moment but it just isn’t. Again, it’s awkward and it doesn’t play the way it’s intended to. Most of the intended comedic moments are very similar to this.
- What was the thought process behind the spelling of Genisys?