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This is a strange year for movies. The most anticipated movies, either those of which have opened or are yet to do so are predominantly based on old franchises. The movie playing schedules are littered with sequels, prequels, threequels and whatsthepointquels.
Thus far this year, it has lead to a couple of underwhelming experiences and one very big overwhelming experience. I’ll say straight off the bat that I walked in to Terminator Genisys with a strong sense of “why is this franchise being dredged up again”? The first two Terminator films were what they were and serviced the concept of technology taking over the world in a very original and compelling way. The second sequel whilst widely derided , was to my mind actually quite good and it ended the story arc in a satisfying matter but I was obviously in the minority with that thinking. Terminator Salvation was the next attempt at kick-starting a fresh take on the Terminator franchise and is one of a handful of films that I didn’t bother watching to the end.
[alert type=red ]Theoretically, a good way of determining if you enjoyed a movie or not would be to load up on the liquids about an hour before show time and if you forget that you actually need to go to the toilet, then the movie must have engaged you effectively enough.[/alert]
Genisys, directed by Alan Taylor, a director of Thor: The Dark World (2013), but whose previous work has focused mostly on TV series from Game of Thrones to Sex and the City, uses time and branching off into parallel time frames to seemingly disregard any Terminator movies made after Judgement Day (number two for the uninitiated). Use of time travel frees up the need to have any continuity and so Genisys puts forth one major spanner in the works for Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) when he is about to be sent back in time to do what was his job in the first Terminator, that of protecting Sarah Connor against the killer robot in the guise of a younger and tighter Arnold Schwartzeneger. With the magic of movie making, Arney is able to inhabit his younger self in this movie and set forth an alternate timeline that accommodates the obvious sequels that will come.
The first half of the movie seems to be in danger of running on T1 and T2 fumes but a couple of scenes refreshingly pull the rug from under your feet in terms of where you think this is going and gives the second half a good momentum with some great action sequences and the story almost making you settle into this new version of events, albeit with a few moments of clichery.
The whole thing could be interpreted as a sign of our times and what could come and what happens when our technology becomes intertwined to the point where our devices are talking behind our back. I don’t mind if my phone and my tablet are talking to each other so long as they don’t kill me. This is a big update on the original films and it drives the whole “machines taking over” a lot closer to home.
Theoretically, a good way of determining if you enjoyed a movie or not would be to load up on the liquids about an hour before show time and if you forget that you actually need to go to the toilet, then the movie must have engaged you effectively enough.
In light of the empty well of original ideas in movies these days, it’s no surprise that successful movies of yonder are brought up to date for better or worse. If an update can honour the spirit of the original and respect the fans that came the first time whilst exciting a new generation and bringing something new to the table, then it makes sense to press forward. Of course the bean counters only care about recouping costs and making enough to convince the powers that be of extending the franchise.
[alert type=red ]I don’t mind if my phone and my tablet are talking to each other so long as they don’t kill me.[/alert]
The ending monologue from Genisys makes it quite clear that anything is possible (ie standby for more sequels) and this is kind of irritating because Genisys wrapped things up (again) so further installments would just dilute the storyline.
Everyone in the cast services their roles effectively enough , especially the lovely Emilia Clarke who manages to hold her own in the role of Sarah Conner that was originally totally owned by Linda Hamilton. Arnold was Arnold, though the role requires to be wooden and emotionless so I guess he nailed it.
A couple of small points:
- There was some very shoehorned in humour that was just, no.
- See this in 2D as the 3D did absolutely nothing to enhance the experience and actually detracted from it. This movie takes place almost completely at night so the dulling effect of the 3D glasses was actually quite distracting at times.
With all this said and done, did I forget that I needed to go for a piss whilst watching Terminator Genisys?
Terminator Genisys premieres in Finland on June 26.