Terminator Genisys

Starring: Jai Courtney, Emilia Clarke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, JK Simmons, Byung-hun Lee, Matt Smith, Dayo Okeniyi, Courtney B. Vance, Sandrine Holt
Directed By: Alan Taylor

There must be some scenes on a cutting room floor somewhere. Why was Courtney B. Vance in this? His role is on screen for maybe 15 seconds, and has like 2 lines. Matt Smith, also, was a miscast. I can tell you why, but there will be some spoilers below.

First off, good job on making a trailer for the film that doesn’t really tell you the actual plot, because there’s a pretty cool twist in here. I enjoyed it. Thanks for not ruining John Connor.

Since there are a few credited writers, I can only imagine how they tried to plot out the film.

“Arnold is old now. How did the Terminator age?”
“Oh, well, uh…. because it’s real skin… and it ages?”
“We’re gonna have to time travel to 1984 and 1997? That’s not hip. How do we make it hip?”
“Oh, well, alternate timelines… so how does 2017 sound?”

It seems like there are large sections of the plot that have nothing to do with the story, but rather because of necessity. I get it. Jai Courtney is better cast here as Kyle Reese than he was as the future of the Die Hard franchise, so that’s another good thing. Emilia Clarke does look a lot like Linda Hamilton, so, kudos there. And, I actually enjoyed the whole arc with Schwarzenegger as Pops. An aging terminator who has learned to adapt, and has one mission. To keep Sarah Connor alive. Much the same way a father would for his own daughter. The CGI flashbacks looked a little silly, but pretty good. It looked more realistic than when they did it for Terminator Salvation.

I suppose I’m confused why Matt Smith was even in this. From the minute you see him in the crowd, you’re like “Matt Smith, wait, what?” and you know that he HAS to have more to do. So, he spoils the surprise. I would have gone with an unknown actor. That would have been more surprising. Also, what was up with JK Simmons’s character? He entered the film and I thought he’d have something big to do, but he really just helps them out of a situation when they were about to be helped out by Pops anyway. It was a little redundant. It was a nice call back to bring him into the film, but do something with it. Have him help out more, or do something important. He kinda just… existed. And again, I don’t know why someone cast Courtney B Vance in a role that existed for less than a minute, but whatever.

The problem with Terminator Genisys isn’t that the film itself is bad. It’s a fairly entertaining film. It just happens to be in a film where the first two films are considered classics, and frequently in Top 100 lists of all time. ALL TIME. When you have a film in your franchise that is considered one of the best of all time, the bar is just so high. I actually liked this more than Terminator 3. I think it’s a decent resolution to the series. It’s not a fantastic film, or groundbreaking, but it had a few nice surprises I didn’t see coming, and it humanized Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator.

Arnold has had a good year but no one has noticed. He’s been acting his face off this year. This is a new Arnold. New and improved. I’m excited to see where he goes with this. I hope he gets to keep showing off his new found range.

As far as whether you should see Terminator Genisys, I think the critics are wrong. I think its a fun film with some good special effects that warrant watching on the big screen. Critics don’t always get it right.

FINAL GRADE: B

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