Time travel is tricky business. When you change something, you do not know what else will be changed. Moreover, if you can go back once, why not go back again and do it until you get it right.
Terminator Genisys is the culmination of the Terminator storyline, though there is a closing teaser that suggests it may not be the end of the franchise. However, as far as Sarah and John Connor, Kyle Reese, and The Terminator / Guardian / Pops, the story is fairly well buttoned up. There is a lot of head bending time travel that can make it difficult to follow the story’s continuity, though it does become clear. I will not delve into the plot too much. From the title and poster you know it involves Terminators, SkyNet, and Schwarzenegger, and you really do not need to know more than that.
However, I will say the plot is a bit thicker than some action movies. I recently reviewed Avengers: Age of Ultron and Jurassic World, and pointed out their plots could be stated in one or two lines. The action is what makes those movies take two hours. In the case of Terminator Genisys, the plot requires a few paragraphs to define – who came back to what time to do what, and what twist took place that caused someone else to come back to a different time to correct the erroneously corrected. That said, it is an action movie with the little bits of plot sprinkled throughout.
Of the actors, I will say I enjoyed Arnold Schwarzenegger very much. His acting has greatly improved over the years. He developed The Terminator, though he has taken the character to another level in this movie. Emilia Clarke (Sarah Connor) did not work for me. I am aware she was reprising her role from the TV series. Still, she does not embody Sarah Connor for me. Strangely enough, she is too pretty – too sweet and demure in stature. She does not suggest the rough and tumble life that a person fleeing Terminators should. Additionally, she, Jai Courtney (Kyle Reese), and Jason Clarke (John Connor) had too many flat deliveries. Schwarzenegger may have been deadpan, the Terminator is supposed to be. The humans need to be more – human. J.K. Simmons (O’Brien) was a delight, and it was fun seeing Matt Smith (Dr. Who) as Alex.
The screenplay felt phoned in at times, as did the direction and editing. There were more continuity lapses than there should be for a big budget movie. The makeup crew was often heavy handed – not with the special effects makeup, but with the plain shot, human makeup. After a run for her life, Sarah should not have fresh rouge and eye shadow. Even the music felt phoned in. The production dropped its original composer, picked up Lorne Balfe, and had Hans Zimmer produce Balfe’s score. I like Zimmer’s scores, though this felt as if Zimmer was not involved at all. It even crawled down to the closing-credits-pop-rock-song. Why do that when you have the wonderful Terminator “beat beat baa-ba-baaa” to work with?
I cannot give Terminator Genisys high marks, though it is enjoyable, and worth seeing. The 3D effects are good. The special effects – well, I have been saying for some time now it is hard to blow special effects these days.
It is worth the ticket but if you need to save the bucks you will do fine if you wait for Redbox or Netflix. It is PG-13, so it is okay for the teens.