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Terminator: Genisys
Genre Sci-Fi
 
Review:

After a mesmerising movie poster, a marketing stunt where Arnold Schwarzenegger pranked people at Madame Tussard's in Hollywood and an endorsement from James Cameron that this film would be the actual third film in the series, there was much excitement and anticipation around the release of Terminator: Genisys.

This reboot starts in the future, where John Connor send Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother. When Reese arrives in 1984, nothing is as he expected.

The latest Terminator installation feels more in line with Cameron's vision for the original Terminator and T2. The soundtrack echoes the recurring theme, the special effects are excellent even though they're not quite the same as Stan Winston's classic animatronic models and it blends aspects from Cameron's films.

Alan Taylor is at the helm after directing Thor: The Dark World. Both Thor 2 and Terminator: Genisys are CGI heavy, action-intensive, feature dimension-hopping, light comedy and required some re-moulding, which made Taylor a suitable candidate for the role second time around. Unfortunately, it encounters similar problems.

Time travel films are usually difficult to follow and according to Alan Taylor there are 7 timelines in Terminator: Genisys. The time-jumping, new character mix and new Sarah Connor made this sequel a challenge and ultimately confusing. It's not discordant enough to derail the spectacle and overall entertainment value, but there's probably enough confusion to warrant a second viewing just to get a slightly better grip on the sequencing.

Schwarzenegger is no Tom Cruise... he's aged. The screenwriters have made it possible for the Terminator's flesh to age too, working it into his character, so that they're not too dependent on CGI. He plays himself across the ages with some wink-wink flair and a little oil from the story mechanics, although it was better when he was more central to the story. Amazingly enough, he managed to achieve the same shape he had for Terminator: Rise of the Machines 12 years earlier, but between him, a stunt double and the CGI versions, he seems restrained with only glimpses of former glory, despite his winning smile.

Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney make reasonable co-leads, although they seem a bit soft for the Terminator franchise. Clarke has a similar look to Linda Hamilton, but she's prettier and not nearly as tough and detached, without that air of lunacy. Jai Courtney is likable and similarly poised to Tom Hardy, but doesn't carry the same weight of performance. J.K. Simmons steps in for a humourous supporting role, while Jason Clarke takes on a difficult balancing act as John Connor.

Terminator: Genisys is overly ambitious, trying to work as a prequel, reboot and tribute. The casting isn't as solid as the actors in their own capacity and the timelines are more complicated to untangle than the jumble of wires behind your home entertainment system.

Genisys operates with flair within the original Terminator universe and while it has its issues, it still amounts to an enjoyable and mostly satisfying Terminator movie, landing in a similar flawed entertainment arena to Terminator: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation with the advantage of being more in tune with Cameron's vision.

The bottom line: Fun


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