Terminator Genisys rehashes the old and renders itself obsolete. Ahhh. The Terminator franchise. When Arnie famously muttered “I’ll be back”, he wasn’t kidding. Three decades. Three “proper” films (sorry not sorry ‘Salvation’). And the eponymous T-800 still fights to protect Sarah Connor. Or kill her? Father her? Build a secret lair with her? Honestly, the franchise’s plot is so convoluted now, that any future instalments would contribute absolutely nothing to its paradoxical nature. Genisys being a perfect example. A rehash of ‘T2’. Y’know, the most successful entry. Kyle Reese is sent back in time to save Sarah Connor (again...) but ends up in an alternative timeline which sees Skynet masquerade its conception through an operating system known as Genisys.
Much like the title, the story makes no sense. Kyle is first sent back to 1984 so that both ‘The Terminator’ and ‘T2’ can be recreated with modern lifeless special effects. Scenes, such as the liquid T-1000 hunting down the protagonists, are presented again with no real reason other than to leech off of nostalgia. Except the constant barrage of narration, characterless personalities and chaotic splurge of visuals unsurprisingly hold no levity in comparison to the originals. The entire first half of Genisys is filled with this requirement for nostalgia and remained utterly pointless throughout, reminding you to watch the earlier films instead.
Then over the halfway mark, Kyle and Sarah are sent forward in time to 2017, which commences Genisys’ own story arc for the franchise. Unfortunately though, too late. Attentive hold has dissipated, leaving you wondering “why the hell is JK Simmons in this?” instead of being invested in the plot. Frustrating really, as the last forty minutes were surprisingly enjoyable. The visual effects were implemented well, sublime integration of sound mixing and shockingly developed an emotional attachment to the “old” terminator. I know right! Arnie’s awkward smiling actually paid off!
In contrast though, Courtney and “J” Clarke, whom both are renowned for monotonous performances, were emotionless. More emotionless than a frickin’ cyborg nosediving through helicopters and stuff! Poignant moments such as Kyle discovering that John is his son, should’ve exhumed a palpable connection. Alas, no chemistry was present. The same can be said for Courtney and “E” Clarke. The latter gave everything she could to elevate the script and emotionality of any scene, cementing herself as a highlight. The former? Nothing. Dead on arrival. Looks like a beefcake, smells like one too.
Genisys is subjectively better than the bleak cloud of depression that is ‘Salvation’, but that’s like comparing a digital watch to an analogue watch. Both perform the same task, yet one will acquire a personal preference. And yes, I just used a watch analogy to sum up this review.