Thursday, July 2, 2015

Terminator: Genisys - Movie Review

Terminator: Genisys is the latest chapter in the ongoing franchise created by James Cameron. This installment was directed by Alan Taylor who's previous work includes Thor: The Dark World, Game of Thrones, and Mad Men. The movie features an all star cast including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Courtney B. Vance, Byung-hun Lee, and Dayo Okeniyi.

The Story:
In a future where Skynet is about to wipe out humanity once and for all, John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends Kyle Reese (Courtney), his most trusted soldier, to protect his mom Sarah Conner (Emilia Clarke) and to change the fate of the world. When Reese reaches 1984, things are quite different from what he was told they would be and the young Ms. Conner may not be as helpless as originally thought.

The Review:
It's really great to see the Terminator franchise get back on it's feet after the last two movies were not very well received by critics. Personally, I enjoyed them although they were not nearly on the same level as James Cameron's first two films. While Alan Taylor has done some great work on Thrones and was spot on with The Dark World, I feel like Genisys just wasn't up to that same level of quality. There really is a lot going on and time travel is always a difficult concept to put on screen. There was more than a few times where, while the characters were trying to figure out where and when they needed to go, I just wanted to tell them to go back to ten minutes before the bad thing happened and fix it but of course, that wouldn't make for a very good movie.

The action and special effects in this movie were good, but I never felt like the bar was being raised in any area and I honestly feel like Terminator 2 was far superior even though it was made over two decades ago. I just never felt any real sense of danger or tension as the story just sort of breezed along. Everything looked great and effects shots were clean, there was just nothing special or eye popping about any of them. Hopefully future installments of the franchise (yes, there are plans for more) will raise the stakes and really give us the type of movie we've been hoping for since way back in 1991 when part 2 first came out.

When it comes to the casting of the film, there were some definite hits and misses. Of course, we all know Arnold is back and he delivered exactly what you figured he would and Emilia Clarke was pretty darn good taking over the role of Sarah Conner. She was a very believable bad ass is definitely a star on the rise. Jason Clarke and Jai Courtney, on the other hand, were a bit of a struggle to watch during most of their scenes. One of the early moments of the film features the two men having a discussion which basically sets up the plot of the entire movie. I really felt like I was watching two guys trying really hard to act instead of just being able to enjoy and engage with the characters themselves. To top it off, J.K. Simmons is given a very small role that really doesn't allow him to do much of anything so it was pretty much a waste having someone as talented as he is in the movie at all.

The Verdict:
Terminator: Genisys is a good movie. There are definitely things to pick apart although it was still an entertaining bit of summer movie action that also brings some fun nostalgia elements to the table. I have not seen the movie in 3D or IMAX so not able to offer any opinion there although I can't imagine how either added feature would do much to help the film out. This is a movie that shows up, does it's job, and walks away without really showing anything overly special or extraordinary. Good is definitely the best word I can use to describe it.


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