So last week I wrote about how The Terminator is still an excellent film and totally holds up, and in the process of doing so I spoke of how bad the reviews of Terminator: Genisys are. Well, my Partner in Crime, Andy, told me that he saw the movie and thought that the critics were all very unfair to the film, and that it was actually much better than they are saying. Well, I just had to see if he was speaking the truth, so I took some time to go and catch a matinee of Terminator: Genisys.
Long story short, the movie’s not good. Don’t get me wrong, it did some things pretty well, but on the whole the movie is firmly in the bad category. The things it did right kept it from being truly dismal, though.
For example, the recreations that they did from the original Terminator were well done, so I have to give them props for that. Also, I thought that the relationship between Pops and Sarah was handled well. She saw him as a father figure, he regarded her as the subject of his programming that he had to protect, though they throw in hints that he actually does have something resembling feelings deep down in his metal chest, but it’s never explicit. At the end, when he says to Kyle to “protect my Sarah,” I even felt a little tug on the old heart strings.
Emilia Clarke did a serviceable job as Sarah Connor, though nobody really can stack up to Linda Hamilton’s portrayal. Lena Headey did a pretty good job on The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but still wasn’t quite there. I do wish that in the film Sarah would have had her 1980’s haircut, especially as they went through so much trouble to recreate the period, but other than that, Emilia Clarke was an acceptable Sarah.
I also really enjoyed the war scenes at the beginning. The futuristic battle against Skynet was really cool, though I was annoyed by all the machines shutting down when the Skynet mainframe was destroyed. That trope can go right to hell. It makes some sense as they’re machines, but I mean, the Terminators function when they’re sent back in time, so they wouldn’t all shut down if they’re cut off from the main computer, right? I dunno, it’s a small gripe but it still bugged me. Not as much as it did in Avengers, but it did.
And as I’ve started talking about things that bugged me, I may as well talk about the bad in the movie. First and foremost, there was practically zero tension in this film. I almost never felt that any of the main characters were in real danger, and that’s a major problem. It doesn’t help when just about all of the action scenes were done using a hefty amount of computer animation, and it also doesn’t help when two of your characters are unstoppable murder robots. I mean, when they’re fighting and throwing each other through walls, you’re thinking to yourself “this should be interesting to watch, but it’s not. Why is this so boring?” The worst action scene is the helicopter chase. Oh my god that scene was terrible. Two CG helicopters zipping around the city and flying low through traffic and catching fire and having bullets blast through them, and it all looked like a ridiculous cartoon. I can legitimately say that I hated that scene.
Also, why does Evil John Connor not just kill them outright when he first meets them? He wants to convert them? Why? What would that accomplish? Can’t he do that against their will, anyways? Because he got turned against his will, so it would stand to reason that others could be turned in that same manner, right? I dunno, Terminators used to just murder you, no muss no fuss, and this just seemed…out of character for Skynet. Don’t get me wrong, having John Connor be a Terminator would be smart for Skynet, but having Evil John Connor behave the way he did in this movie is absolutely counter-productive for Skynet. Dumb dumb dumb.
Then we have Jai Courtney. I would put a picture of him here, but I hate this man’s face so much I don’t even want to feature it. Did you see the poster up above? There’s a reason his stupid mug is way off in the background. Even the advertising people know what a waste he is. He was absolutely cast wrong in this movie and whoever decided he was the right fit should feel ashamed of themselves. The man has zero charisma and whenever he was on screen the movie got that much more boring. Having just seen Michael Biehn in the original makes Courtney’s performance all the worse, too. Michael Biehn had energy and real pathos. Jai Courtney is a black hole of personality, all the energy gets sucked out of every scene that he’s in. And there was ZERO chemistry between his Kyle Reese and Clarke’s Sarah Connor. It was so sad to watch.
There were other things that I disliked about the film, but those are definitely the major ones. This is not a good movie, and had I not paid a discounted price, I probably would’ve been upset. It’s definitely not worth full price. You’re better off re-watching the original Terminator, as it still holds up incredibly well, and is miles better than Terminator: Genisys. Also, one more for the road: fuck Jai Courtney.