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Triangle Downtowner Magazine

Movie Review: Terminator Genisys

Jul 03, 2015 10:57AM ● By Davis Johnson
    Full of intense action scenes and amazing special effects, Terminator Genisys aims to please. Paramount Pictures is looking to re-popularize the acclaimed franchise with its newest addition.

                                                     WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

    The film starts off in 2029 where John Connor (Jason Clarke) is rallying his troops for the final assault against Skynet, the computer program that wants to wipe out the entire human race. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) wishes to be the one leading the final charge with the Colorado team, but John tells him that Los Angeles is the real threat. The time machine is being held there and that when Colorado is conquered, a T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) will be sent back to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). Skynet falls, a T-800 is sent back in time, and Kyle Reese volunteers to save Sarah. So far, the storyline is consistent with the previous films, but it’s when Kyle is in the time machine that the storyline shifts. Just before Kyle goes into the past, an infiltration Terminator dubbed the T-5000 (Matt Smith) grabs John and says, “I came a very long way to stop you.” After that, Kyle is traveling through time, where he encounters a message from the year 2017 that reveals judgment day will be in 2017, not 1997.

    To add on to the shifting plot line, Sarah is not the mild mannered waitress Kyle was expecting to protect. Instead, she’s a hard as nails fighter who not only has already killed the evil T-800, but she knows who Kyle is and his objective. She’s the one protecting him in the beginning with the help of a different T-800 that Sarah dubbed ‘Pops’. Pops was sent back from the future to protect Sarah when she was just a little girl and basically raised her.

    Sarah and Pops have created their own time machine in order to go to 1997 and kill Skynet before it even comes online. Kyle interjects and explains what happened in the time loop. This is where the rules of time travel become even more complicated as Pops tries to explain alternate universes and memories that never happened. It’s layers upon layers of confusion with the added bonus that it’s all “theoretical.” After some convincing, they all agree to go to 2017, but Pops must ‘go the long way’ due to injuries from a previous fight against a T-1000. Before they part, Pops talks to Sarah and wants to know when she will tell Kyle that he is John’s father. This leads to a frustrated Sarah wondering if she will ever have control over her own life.

    After traveling, Kyle and Sarah wind up being arrested and hospitalized. While the two are breaking out of their handcuffs, Kyle tells Sarah about John and how the mysterious Terminator grabbed him. Within the next few moments, John walks through the door and says hello to his mother. After convincing the two of them he’s real, John leads them to the hospital parking lot where he explains that Skynet now goes by Genisys and is a trojan horse in a computer program that will soon be downloaded by the entire world. By this point Pops appears and shoots John. Instead of dying, John reveals that he was infected by the T-5000 and has become the ultimate weapon against humanity. Chaos ensues as the now Terminator John decides to kill his mother and former best friend/father. The trio must now figure out a way to kill John, and stop Genisys from going online.

    The movie goes through too much effort trying to explain itself and hope the audience follows along. It feels as though Emilia Clarke’s strong acting skills are being used to cover up the confusion of the movie in hopes that the audience will simply just go along with the film. What made the Terminator franchise standout so much has become a sort of cliché as time travel and evil robots have become overused in movies. The emphasis on Schwarzenegger’s age became a bit of an annoyance as the cast constantly mentioned it. One of the better points of the movie was the use of iconic lines from the previous films. There were several great comedic scenes, as well as a heartwarming moment between human and machine.

    Is this movie one for the ages? Probably not, but it’s still worth seeing on the silver screen. Personally, I feel they highly underused the great acting skills of several cast members and should be noticed in the eventual sequels.