When not considering comic book films, the summer of 2015 may very well be known as that of the franchise reboot.
First came Mad Max: Fury Road. Then the stomping carnivorous dinos of Jurassic World and now? He’s back in Terminator Genisys. For those who don’t recognize that, you’re obviously no fan of the Terminator fan. Considering what came after Terminator 2, no one could blame fans for not being pumped up for a re-imagining of director James Cameron’s creation. The movie opens tonight (June 30th) on screens.
Unfortunately, reason exists to temper the enthusiasm for this reboot that twists and mangles the Terminator timeline to produce its drama. While the story is as convoluted as trying to read congressional bills, that isn’t the primary problem.
Thatlays in the fact Emilia Clarke, The Mother of Dragons on Game of Thrones, has some very huge shoes to fill in the role of Sarah Connor. The part’s originator, Linda Hamilton, will not be known for having a prolific film career, but in the second film in the series, she created a female action star for the ages that may only be equaled Sigourney Weaver in Aliens.
Clarke’s Connor? Soft. Not Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man soft, but soft nevertheless. Perhaps she was written that way by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier or envisioned that way by director Alan Taylor. But while Taylor goes through a painstaking process [Photoshopping a young Schwarzenegger] and recreating the opening scenes of the original Terminator, things that fans will recognize, it’s a key moment when the timeline is turned on its heels.
When Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) is sent back in time to protect Connor, he finds a different lady. Although she’s supposed to be meek and weak, he encounters a woman who already has paramilitary training and takes no stuff from anyone – even him.
He also finds the original Terminator (Schwarzenegger), aged but still badass. It would seem that someone sent it back to protect and raise Connor from the age of nine. She calls him Pops and Pops can still kick some ass. And he certainly must do that.
As before, Skynet, the evil computer network attempting to exterminate humanity from the planet sends back Terminators to make Sarah’s life miserable. One of those creations comes as a huge surprise to her as she works with Pops and Reese across multiple time periods to prevent Skynet’s activation.
Throughout the adventure, director Taylor and his collaborators attempt to make a point regarding our connected society that doesn’t quite hit its mark.
That’s the primary problem with Terminator Genisys, it’s a noble effort that is sure to please plenty of the franchise’s fans, but it won’t generate the fervor of Jurassic World which has already sold $1 billion in tickets.
But you can bet Arnold will be back.
Movie: Terminator Genisys
Director: Alan Taylor
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Running time: 126 minutes
George’s rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and gunplay throughout, partial nudity and brief strong language
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com