End game in sight for Arnie

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film -

NOS­TAL­GIA is ram­pant at cine­mas with Mad Max: Fury Road, Juras­sic World and Ter­mi­na­tor Genisys res­ur­rect­ing beloved but dor­mant fran­chises to vary­ing lev­els of suc­cess.

Ter­mi­na­tor Genisys is by far the least suc­cess­ful of the re­cent restora­tions, us­ing its time-travel mythos to al­ter pop­u­lar char­ac­ters, their re­la­tion­ships and dy­nam­ics, and pile on tech­ni­cal mumbo jumbo to sub­due its au­di­ence.

In 2029, soldier Kyle Reese (Jai Court­ney) vol­un­teers to go back in time to 1984 to pro­tect Sarah Con­nor (Emilia Clarke) from a Ter­mi­na­tor (Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger) sent to kill her be­fore she gives birth to the fu­ture leader of the hu­man re­sis­tance in the war against ma­chines, John Con­nor (Jason Clarke).

When he ar­rives, Sarah is al­ready mil­i­tary-trained and with a T800 model in tow dubbed Pops (also Sch­warzeneg­ger), pre­par­ing for the one sent to kill her (con­trary to events in the orig­i­nal).

In de­vel­op­ments that make lit­tle sense, Reece be­gins to have mem­o­ries of an al­ter­nate child­hood on a farm (not the war-rav­aged waste­land he ex­pe­ri­enced), in­di­cat­ing there is a pos­si­ble al­ter­nate, war-free timeline, so he and Sarah jump ahead in time to 2017 (she has been busy build­ing a ma­chine) to stop Genisys, a pro­gram that prompts the war.

The trou­ble with the time-travel the­ory is that peo­ple can go back and forth in time and al­ter events, some­thing that the Ter­mi­na­tor se­ries is cling­ing to as a thinly veiled ex­cuse to keep re­vis­it­ing the well, to its detri­ment.

In do­ing so, char­ac­ters we grew to love are al­most unrecognisable. Sarah Con­nor’s arc from wait­ress to war­rior is wiped, lead­ing one to won­der why the mak­ers would want to be­tray what was al­ready es­tab­lished in the first two far­su­pe­rior en­tries.

With seem­ingly more time travel in its run­time than Back to the Fu­ture had in its en­tire se­ries, Ter­mi­na­tor Genisys be­comes a con­fus­ing bore; I could not even keep up.

I lost track of who had been where and when. This story has been twisted be­yond recog­ni­tion.

A few cute one-lin­ers (out of count­less at­tempts at good ones), an Arnie ver­sus Arnie show­down, recre­ations of scenes from the orig­i­nal film and some zippy ac­tion se­quences may sat­isfy fans, if they do not end up with a mi­graine from all the ex­po­si­tion.

Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger plays the Ter­mi­na­tor in Ter­mi­na­tor Genisys.

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