Resetting the Terminator franchise, to pretty much disregard the last 2, this 2015 feature succeeds in being entertaining and simultaneously bombards its viewer with constant carnage that the film could be viewed as a slick mess. Slick, but a mess nonetheless. It isn’t bad though, reset your brain to T-0ff and enjoy the action.
It’s 2029 and freedom leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) along with Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) make a huge stand against the robots and Skynet. Kyle goes back in time to try and stop a Terminator from killing Connor’s mum, Sarah (Emilia Clarke) to halt John’s existence. Back in 1984 Kyle is met by a less than waitress-ey Sarah along with apparently tamed Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who become a trio of fighters to halt a new hidden version of Skynet in 2017.
The story itself can be lost to the wind, dripping away like liquid metal to focus on the typical blockbuster attraction factor. The original 1984 movie that kick-started the robots versus human struggle still contained action but it had a clever core about tech terror and the thematic quality of a new war, whereas this plot by Patrick Lussier and Laeta Kalogridis attempts to put a modern spin on an 80’s classic by weaving in the past and bringing in a new scare of Skynet as an all encompassing hold on society, which like Google can be scarily accurate but doesn’t have much dramatic weight.
Is it also harsh to mark the film down for its god awful title, because why is it ever a shocker of a movie name. Gen-eye-sis as I will forever call it, is one part terrible spelling and one part thinking of itself as a rebirth for a run of films that needn’t have been reborn. Though in all honesty the moments where this movie cuts back into parts from the 1984 feature are well done, even if the actors are different, ol’ Arnie fighting 80’s Arnie more than makes up for the shakier bits.
Unexplained is where this Pops version of the T-800 model was sent from and by whom, but maybe that wasn’t necessary when helicopters are dancing around buildings and buses are flipped to end up dangling vertically on the Golden Gate Bridge. Poor San Francisco is having a right time in the movies at the moment. The Hollywood CGI fest isn’t spared and though it gets a bit much, it’s fun to watch and I admittedly enjoyed watching the film.
Nagging throughout the pull of possible spectacle and surprise is the lack of it. The film’s marketing department should hang it’s head in shame for spoiling so much of the movie in its trailers. I know trailers now give away nothing or everything but surely it’s not hard to balance that fine line, even trails that show something secretive aren’t as annoyingly spoilerific as the John Connor baddie robo reveal. That could have been a cool unveiling in the film but sadly it lessens the impact knowing it’s coming.
Emilia Clarke brings determined shade to her role as more warrior minded Sarah. She has that worried expression down for the fear of what might come and her eyes speak volumes as they do in ‘Game of Thrones’. A wonderful actress who runs alongside Jai and Arnie with believable capability. Jason Clarke as Emilia’s son, perfect name casting there, is brilliant as the leader and can flick to that dark layer in an instant. There’s a sneer and evil lurking on his face that he brings effortlessly. Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the films as if he never left from the 80’s, his static walking and almost blank expressions down to a T and his cheesy lines giving the film that comedy gold. Jai Courtney isn’t an overly interesting watch, he looks the action hero but there’s not much more to that. Matthew nee Matt Smith drops his sonic screwdriver and crops up briefly in a role that will surely expand and he gives it enough flicker of interest to keep you wanting more.
Already with two other planned outings, this genesis film isn’t as terrible as many are saying. It looks shiny and packs a effect laden punch, if you forget that the main narrative is a series of references, a bad serious thread and a muddle of other parts.