Sunday, 22 November 2015

Terminator Genisys (2015)

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Terminating Correct Spelling

Director: Alan Taylor
Running Time: 126 Minutes
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, Lee Byung-hun, J.K Simmons


An hour and a half in the running time, there's a scene which accurately sums up the film. Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) escape a bus crash hurtling off a bridge, clinging onto the side of a bridge for dear life. This feels like an appropriate allegory, demonstrating how desperately this film is clinging for attention.

In a post-apocalyptic 2029, resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends back his trusted right-hand man Kyle Reese. His mission is to rescue Sarah Connor, whose survival will ensure John's birth, due to Kyle unknowingly being John's father. When he arrives in 1984, it's drastically changed from the original timeline. Sarah's not a scared waitress unaware of the future, ready for this day thanks to her protector, a Terminator she calls Pops. Their plan is to travel to 1997, destroy the company named Skynet in order to prevent the oncoming Judgement Day. But in this new timeline, the date is now 2017, when an operating system named Genisys goes online, syncing up all of the worlds technology.

What made The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day into success stories was how they displayed thrilling scenes of action, seamlessly combined with fantastic ideas of a technological uprising, the theme of free will vs destiny and a wonderfully developed backstory for the war taking place in the future. It's apparent that director Alan Taylor and screenwriters Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier have decided to forgo such elements, deciding what's more important is recreating the opening moments of the original.

There's a distinct lack of excitement within the fights, not helped by the constant use of CG. From the ships to the past Arnie, it's an addiction from which this film never recovers from. The plot is more complicated than it needs to be, as the screenwriters throw too many plots into the mix, leaving illogical reasoning to take up much of the time. If the machines knew where Kyle would appear in 1984, why not dispatch multiple to that singular location?

Dangling over a frightening green screen effect

What themes and backstory is included for the film is nothing notworthy, merely a copy and paste job of what's already been established by James Cameron. The time travel is made all the more muddlesome, while trying to be explained away with technical jargon. If only the script had as much work put into the plot as into making a reason to keep Arnie onscreen.

Despite it being 31 years since making his debut, Arnold Schwarzenegger remains an intimidating presence, for the most part. It's clear that, at 68 years of age, it may be time for Arnie to retire his most iconic role, which makes it a shame it couldn't have been in something of better substance. Despite playing the kick-ass heroine of the franchise's early entries, Emilia Clarke does nothing of interest, failing to show off her talents.

Jai Courtney puts forth one of the films more interesting performances, as he manages to act more robotic than the actors who actual portray the various terminators. He attempts to make up for it with a combination of snarky dialogue and shouting, but do you need to be told it doesn't work? His attempts at comradeship with an uninteresting Jason Clarke falls flat, while nothing resembles chemistry whenever the screen is shared with Clarke. Let's not even mention how J.K Simmons is wasted in a throwaway role.

It'd be more appropriate had the film been named Terminator Genitals, as it's a load of bollocks. The fifth instalment of the once popular franchise seems to be focused on bringing it to the modern day, as opposed to delivering good writing, an interesting plot or acting worth remembering. The result leaves Terminator Genisys as a soulless mess which slowly drains 2 hours of your life away.

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