The 5th installment in the Terminator franchise has to be looked at as its own film. If we compare it to Terminator 2–one of the greatest sci-fi films ever–then we will be in for a let down. But if we acknowledge what it is for today’s society, it’s a really good movie.
In Terminator Genisys, we are faced with the post-apocalyptic world of 2029, where machines rule and humans attempt to defeat them. John Connor (Jason Clarke) prophetically sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time to 1983 in order to save his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), from a cyborg assassin. However, when Kyle goes back to 1983, Sarah already knows what’s been going on and the world is a lot different than the one that we saw lived out in the first Terminator film.
Even though the dialogue is painful during many scenes, the premise is exciting and well thought-out. For a movie about time travel, plot holes are usually inevitable. But Genisys avoids most of them by covering its tracks along the way. However, it does suffer from the age-old problem of time traveling too close to the time of the catastrophic event–thus making the film more suspenseful, but also making the characters’ task much more stressful. There were a few other minor head scratchers, but nothing that we haven’t already asked in the first two movies.
And we can’t forget about Arnold Schwarzenegger. This film is truly at its best when he’s on the screen. We’re always waiting for him to do or say something. His presence is just as strong now as it was almost 25 years ago.
As good as this movie is, I’m not sold on Emilia Clarke, who plays Sarah Connor. She’s not a bad actress, but she’s not a great one either. And that, combined with dialogue that’s too wordy and inattentive direction, makes her worse. Jai Courtney is a little better, but still suffers from similar issues.
Alan Taylor’s directing is good when it comes to interpreting the events in the script, but not as much with character decision. Sarah lives in 1983, yet she talks like she’s straight out of 2015. And the little things, when less would be more, end up making what would be a brilliant film into mere popcorn entertainment.
But popcorn entertainment isn’t a bad thing. Some of my favorite films fit into that category. It may not be the sort of movie that hardcore Terminator fans were waiting for, but honestly I think hardly anything would work for them.