Movie Review

Film Review: TERMINATOR GENISYS (2015): Not Quite a Time Loop

Arnold Schwarzenegger Jai Courtney Emilia Clarke Terminator Genisys

Terminator Genisys (2015) Film Review, a movie directed Alan Taylor, and starring Arnold Schwarzengger, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, Emilia ClarkeMatt Smith, J.K. Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Byung Hun Lee, Gregory Alan Williams, Bryant Prince, Teri Wyble, Courtney B. Vance, Michael Gladis, Sandrine Holt, Matt Smith, and Aaron V. Williamson.

I’m not going to waste your time by complaining about the franchise, the film rating, or ‘Arnuld’ being past his prime. Genisys is a story worthy of the big screen with an oft misunderstood paradoxical moral dilemma right at the heart of the show that will twist you and turn you out with an amped up, heavily armed, and CGI pumping philosophy more complex than the simplistic time-travel paradox.

Can one still survive if they travel back in time to kill a parent? Sarah Connor ( Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones) and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) come as close as they can to testing the hypothesis as the time traveling bait who are supposed to “mate” according to the Guardian aka “Pops”, a T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), to ensure that the key to saving the world from judgment day, John Connor’s (Jason Clarke) leadership, is secured in the fight against Skynet. Pops has been programmed to protect Sarah which winds up biting them in the arse when Kyle lands from the future to find Pops is also dedicated to protecting her. Kyle naturally winds up in a role reversal with Sarah when the 1984 environment isn’t quite what he expected and he has to gain his time traveling sea legs.

A T-1000 (Byung-hun Lee) of the likes Kyle has never seen before intercepts him in classic Terminator fashion and sets up the first real encounter a protagonist has with any of the Skynet army, but Kyle is helpful only by conveying the inciting incident. John Connor was attacked by some kind of terminator when Kyle was being transported back to save Sarah in the past.

Speculating over John’s fate, they don’t set a new course of action. John must be created and Sarah has to somehow inform Kyle of his real mission; to do the deed as John’s father. That’s the catch. But there’s a bigger one.

John Connor is the worthy and relentless villain they didn’t see coming.

The trailer “spoiled” this plot twist for many, but in reality, it’s really just the thrust of Skynet, now of nemesis proportions, as the goal must switch from preserving John to the true goal of the film; prevent Genisys, the operating system, from uploading with the trojan horse, Skynet, already built by Genisys the company in large part due to John, who Sarah and Kyle meet in 2017 only to be fooled for a brief encounter. John is something much worse than they have ever seen and would have fooled them, but he can’t hide from Pops and his terminator vision.

We aren’t really sure what John plans on doing with Sarah and Kyle. Would he kill them? Force them to join him? He’s faced with our paradox and hard pressed once Pops shows up and the thrust is made solid in the conflict. The film gained some speed in the beginning, but the third act is epic. The chase ensues and Pops’ ingenuity offers some anecdotal brilliance that comes in handy, as handy as he is up until the point when he can’t kill everyone because he is programmed to protect Sarah. Of course, this turns out to be the better option and makes the climax worthy of the intense build up.

If you truly enjoy high octane sci-fi action flicks, you will love this film despite the recycling of old concepts and old Arnold. It is everything I could have expected from the franchise with the updated creative destruction in mind. Naysayers are out there lying to you. See this movie.

Rating: 8/10

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About the author

Stephanie King

I am a meticulous writer. Story is my strong suit.

I do not waste time on political "critique" or paranoid "undertones" that might have been an inspiration to a story writer, but clearly are not a main or secondary theme.

I can identify high concept, main and sub theme(s), protagonists and antagonists, secondary character roles, the turning point, the key, the antagonist's story thrust, the spine, twelve sequences, the climax, the resolution, and most importantly, the goal of any film. I am aware of the act structure which can be from three to five acts, generally.

Aristotle elaborates in his Poetics on Plato's Republic on act structure.

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