Directed by: Alan Taylor
Starring: Arnie, a pair of Clarkes, Jai Courtenay and a very frustrated JK Simmons
Terminator Genisys is not a terrible film. It’s also not a particularly good film. Which is a shame, because this has now probably killed off the franchise now. Well, that is until Skydance Productions realise the rights are expiring and rush out another poor effort.
Time travel films are one of five things:
1. Ridiculously simple – just time travel from one timeline to another (original Terminator)
2. Simple – creative use of minor aspects of timelines/paradoxes (Back to the Future)
3. Complex – not muddled and uses timelines/paradoxes logically (Timecrimes)
4. Unnecessarily complex – all over the show with timelines/paradoxes, mostly poorly written (most stuff)
Needless to say, this falls firmly into category 4 and chokes a franchise with essentially treating this as a retread of the original film crossed with the excellent TV Show The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Once you realise that it’s not a remake, it should be time to actually propel the story forward. Instead, it goes down the action tent-pole route of blowing shit up with a series of what are essentially “boss-fights” whilst the story depressingly catches up with it and takes a massive dump on the whole franchise. It’s one of those films where you cannot judge it on its own merits because it is clearly trying to be part of franchise canon. As a time-travel action film, it’s just about passable. Decent action etc.
But, as a Terminator film, it brings absolutely nothing new to the table – and this is simply because it refuses to leave the stories of the Connors and Reese as completed. For all its faults, at least Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines had a different angle when it came to who we met in the past. And again, Terminator Salvation kept everything in the future so as not to retread old ground. It really is just is rehash of the previous Sarah Connor focused material.
There are some neat ideas in there and the Genisys idea itself was one of them. It’s certainly not original, but had there been more focus on this then it could have had an element of social commentary about social media and inter-connectivity without even moralising over it. Yes, basically, it could have been a Black Mirror episode with Terminators. But no, its the Connors & Reese and a few new Terminator models – including one that seems to age.
It’s all a big mess, with John Connor turned into a Skynet slave Terminator in some attempt to bring a new angle to the franchise. It would have been so easy to take the Genisys idea and still produce an action tent-pole. Instead, it was a bunch of muddled ideas, too much time travel, the same old characters and all in all, a complete mess. Easily the worst film in the franchise.
Just leave the Connors alone now.