Not quite time to terminate the "Terminator" series

Aug. 1, 2015, 11:59 a.m. | By Benjamin Yokoyama | 6 years, 4 months ago

30 years after release of first "Terminator" film, Schwarzenegger still has it

Directed by Alan Taylor, "Terminator Genisys" is an action-packed film that brings the whole Terminator series together, for the most part, comprehensively. It hooks the viewer in with a new twist in the time-warped world of Skynet and its Terminator-killing machines. The movie tries to quickly catch the viewer up with the four previous Terminator films, but after a significant turn, an alternate future is created. At that point, the film becomes its own thrilling dystopia.

The film begins in the future with Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), the protagonist throughout the film, as a young boy in a broken world, trying to escape from Skynet. The technology company is trying to take over the post-nuclear world after Judgement Day, when Skynet killed billions of humans with its own nuclear power. Reese is saved by John Connor (Jason Clarke), the leader of the human resistance, and eventually Reese's father figure. The film fast-forwards years later-- Reese is grown and Connor plans on launching an offensive that will set down Skynet for good. The attack succeeds, but before being destroyed, Skynet is able to send a Terminator back to 1984 in an attempt to eradicate John by killing his mother, Sarah Connor.

Reese volunteers to go back in time, using the same machine as the Terminator, to protect Sarah Connor. While he is being sent back, he sees a member of the human resistance attack John Connor, which results in Reese being able to see an alternate future, in which he sees himself as a young boy. A message that he cannot understand is implanted in his mind: Genisys is Skynet.

In 1984, Reese is rescued by Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and her protector (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a remodeled Terminator who was sent from the future to protect her. Reese is surprised when Sarah knows all about her future, and with the messages he received while time traveling he convinces her that they must travel to the future to defeat Skynet before Judgement Day can occur.

The plot is unraveled quickly, but the viewer is given enough clues as to when and where the story is taking place. Having an alternate future would seem like a confusing idea, but the vastly different settings make it easy to tell. A smidge of comedy is brought by the Terminator, as he tries to learn human behavioral skills, such as an attempted smile to please Sarah.

The special effects were the one element that made the movie so thrilling. From an entire scene from a previous Terminator, with a young and extremely buff Arnold Schwarzenegger, to a bus hanging off the Golden Gate Bridge to the destruction of the four massive towers of Skynet headquarters, the movie is filled with creative and fantastic visual effects. The movie could, however, have been a bit less flashy--literally. At what seemed like every scene there were tons of gunshots or explosions. After learning that the Terminators can withstand heavy gunfire, the shots became very repetitive.

Jai Courtney and Emilia Clarke prove themselves as fantastic actors, capturing the confusion that both have while time traveling and their loyalty toward the John Connor they know as a savior. Jason Clarke portrays John Connor to perfection: a stubborn, mutilated man whose mind was twisted by Skynet. As a cyborg with only one weakness, he provides the perfect once-good antagonist. Of course, the film would not be a "Terminator" film without Schwarzenegger. Although aged, he is still capable of all the abilities he had previously both in the movie and as an actor.

Genisys being the fifth film in the Terminator franchise, director Alan Taylor had to live up to the expectations of the legendary director James Cameron, who directed the first two films. Taylor made the film very extravagant, with lots of attention to small details in visual and sound effects, as well as having tons of extras in many scenes. Taylor certainly impressed Cameron, who spoke highly of the film after seeing it.

"Terminator Genisys", although loud throughout, is an excellent thrill movie that will excite not only "Terminator" fans. The mysteries of time-jumping and alternate futures, along with the intense battle scenes and Schwarzenegger's fantastic acting, will have viewers drawn in from the start.

"Terminator Genisys" is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and gunplay throughout, partial nudity and brief strong language and is playing in theaters everywhere

Tags: Arnold Schwarzeneggar Emilia Clarke Alan Taylor Jai Courtney Jason Clarke Terminator Genisys

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