“Terminator Genisys” Proves ‘I’ll Be Back’ Was A Threat, Not A Promise

By Scott Kurland

Film: Terminator Genisys
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Matt Smith, and J.K. Simmons
Rated: PG-13 (WHY!?!?! The others are R, why change?)
Director: Alan Taylor

      I have a theory on why “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Jurassic World” were so good. I think it is because the original filmmakers took part in the film's creation in some form. We all know George Miller wrote and painstakingly directed “Mad Max”, but did you know Spielberg was there for a majority of “Jurassic World”? Maybe that’s why it feels like a Spielberg flick. Even if you didn’t like either of these films, or you like “Mad Max” and hated “Jurassic World”, we can all admit it could have been worse. This week’s film “Terminator Genisys” is the clear example of a reboot going terribly awry. Let’s find out how awful it is shall we?

    “Terminator Genisys” starts in the future with the machines in charge, destroying everything we hold sacred...you know humanity. The human race has been enslaved by the machines. The future is bleak except one man, John Connor (Jason Clarke), is able to thwart the robot uprising. The end of the robot wars seems to be insight, until a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sent back to kill his mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) and prevent his birth. Connor recruits his right hand man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) to go back and save her. Yet, when he goes back Sarah is already save by her own terminator, a father figure she calls Pops (Arnold Schwarznegger). Now Kyle and Sarah must go to the future and prevent Skynet from launching a cloud system called Genisys. Can they do it or is there another terminator after them?

    This film is a mess. I don’t know how we go from being fed a fine feast like “Mad Max: Fury Road”, get a nice dessert like “Jurassic World”, only to be shoveled a steaming pile of Arnold. This film is not just bad, it is also poorly written. The people at fault are lazy writers Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier. If you combined their “writing” credits you get “Alexander”, “Pathfinder’, and “Drive Angry”. Yes, “Drive Angry”, a film where Nic Cages is having sex with a woman while firing two guns. That’s the type of writing we’re dealing with. The plot is ridiculous and full of holes, and they clearly have no idea how time travel works. Nor do they understand the effects that our leads would have on traveling through time periods. The script is the most important component to a good film, without a decent script you get stuff like this.

      The performances aren’t terrible, they aren’t good either. I know a film is bad when I say, “know who was really good in this film? Arnold Schwarzenegger.” I know I’m a hypocrite because I always say how much I love “Last Action Hero”, but Clarke, Clarke, and Courtney are so miscast that Arnold shines like he's Daniel Day-Lewis. Jason Clarke is amazing in almost everything he does like "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes". Emilia Clarke is wonderful as Daenrys Targaryen, but if this was the first time I saw her act, I would think " wow, she was a bad actress. Like Brigette Nielsen bad.

    Neither of the Clarkes are bad actors, so why are they bad here? Once again the script makes or breaks your film. Arnold has been around so long he knows how to convey emotion with a glance. Clarke and Clarke aren’t as seasoned. As for Courtney, I’m not normally a fan of his. I have stated several times I don’t like his performance in films like “I, Frankenstein” and “Divergent”. But this time it is not his fault, maybe he just keeps getting bad films that he hopes will be good. Sadly, everyone suffers this time especially Courtney.

     Director Alan Taylor knows he shouldn't take a film like this on. He directed a Marvel film before he made this one. How can you go from “Game Of Thrones” , “Thor: The Dark World”, and end up making “Terminator Genisys?” I see what he was trying to do, but the execution was so confusing. The pacing is all over the place, and I know Taylor was going for an 80s look to distinguish that time period. However, why didn’t he film this movie on film? If that is what he was going for, wouldn't shooting on film be the answer? This entire movie feels digital, and that feeling prevents any nostalgia from coming through. Taylor stated he wants this to feel like the film that should be after “T2: Judgement Day”, ok I buy that, so with that said Mr. Director “SHOOT ON FILM”. Sure film making with actual film is dying out because of digital, but honestly he would have gotten the look he wanted.

     “Terminator Genisys” is now part of a different trilogy of “Terminator” films. We have the good “Terminator” films , “Terminator” and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”. Now, we have the red headed step children trilogy of “Terminator" films, “Rise of The Machines”, “Salvation”, and “Genisys”. I’m trying to wrap my head around why they are so bad. Why are these films dooming a rather great series? I think I figured it out. It isn’t because Cameron didn’t direct them. I mean that doesn’t help,  but it isn’t the worst thing in the world. 

     I think these films tank because of the bad PR and marketing engrossing them. “Rise of The Machines” had writers who hated the original films and ignored the source material given to them. That isn't made up, they said that on the DVD commentary for "Terminator 3". “Salvation” is known for Christian Bale's giant tirade and break down on set. Now this leads me to one of my biggest pet peeves, trailers giving away the entire film. “Terminator Genisys” has a huge twist in the movie, that twist is given away in the trailer. (SPOILERS AHEAD: STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW. SKIP DOWN TO THE FINAL PARAGRAPH). The Twist: John Connor is the film's Terminator, they give it away in the trailer. I'l repeat that, they give away the films biggest plot twist IN THE TRAILER. If I didn’t know that twist going in, this film might have been a little better. Whoever cut that trailer together should be punished. The trailer also gives away the time travel inconsistencies. “Terminator Genisys” has two stigmas to overcome, bad writing and bad marketing. That might also be why it opened at number three this weekend, that is never a good sign. But if you know the film's plot twist would you really want to see the movie?

     “Terminator Genisys” is one of the worst films of the year. It isn’t “Entourage” bad, but it is still pretty rank. Maybe now they can finally let this film series die. I highly doubt it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in two more years we get another reboot. There are way too many better films playing right now. You should do yourself a favor and track them down. “Terminator Genisys” is one of the biggest disappointments of 2015. I really had high hopes when I saw the teaser trailer, but as soon as they leaked the entire movie in the second trailer I was out. Save your money and skip “Terminator Genisys”.


scott kurlandComment