I’ll be bad
released 2 NovembeR 2015 | 12 | Blu- ray 3D/ Blu- ray/ DVD
Director Alan Taylor
Cast Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, JK Simmons, Byung- hun Lee, Matt Smith
James Cameron may have described this fifth Terminator movie as a “renaissance”, saying he sees it as the third film in the series, but don’t get your hopes up. Calling Genisys a superior model to Rise Of The Machines and Salvation is hardly a ringing endorsement – and it’s debatable whether it’s even true.
Like the Alien saga, The Terminator is a franchise desperately clinging onto past glories, a fact Genisys tacitly acknowledges by shamelessly riffing on the classic original. Unfortunately, watching Sarah Connor ( Emilia Clarke) and an ageing Arnie- model Terminator interacting with the events of the 1984 movie – he was sent back to protect her when she was a kid; she now calls him “Pops” – feels more Forrest Gump than Back To The Future Part II. Even throwing a new liquid metal T- 1000 and Jai Courtney’s pumped- up Kyle Reese into the mix can’t make what happens here feel integral to Terminator mythology. If only this ’ 80s- set first act wasn’t the best bit of the movie…
Then the action jumps forward to 2017, and another Skynetshaped threat to humanity. It’s here things really start to unravel. The Terminator movies have always featured time travel as a plot device, without actually being about time travel. Here the story buckles under the weight of multiple timelines, a complete lack of logic, and the sense that the rules of the saga are being haphazardly rewritten before your eyes.
Even taking the tangle of a plot out of the equation, Genisys misses the target. The setpieces are competent without ever wowing, it’s impossible to believe Clarke and Courtney are the same characters Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn played in the first two movies, and the insistence on repeatedly recycling classic lines like “Come with me if you want to live” and “I’ll be back” gives the movie the feel of a bad catchphrase- based sitcom.
But all that pales into insignificance ( spoilers ahead!) next to the idiocy of giving away the movie’s big twist in the trailers. While John Connor’s turncoat fate is utterly ridiculous and implausible, it might have worked as a rug- pull reveal. Instead, it’s just one stupid moment among many. It’s a misstep akin to putting an arrow pointing at Keyser Soze on the poster for The Usual Suspects. If Skynet has any sense it’ll be travelling back in time pretty soon to stop this movie being made.
Extras The DVD features a “Family Dynamics” featurette ( 16 minutes) about recasting the lead roles. The Blu- ray versions add “Infiltration And Termination” ( 25 minutes), a behind- the- scenes look at filming locations, and “Upgrades” ( 15 minutes), which focuses on the visual effects. Richard Edwards
Alan Taylor wasn’t a fan of his twist being spoiled. “I certainly directed those scenes with the intention that no one would know.”
A franchise clinging onto past glories
Frank decided that next time he’d go for a spray tan.