With Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Byung-hun Lee, Michael Gladis, Sandrine Holt, Matt Smith
Written by Laeta Kalorgridis, Patrick Lussier (based on characters created by James Cameron)
Directed by Alan Taylor
(see below for details on winning Terminatryx: Genisys string bags)
I'm old enough to have been around for the theatrical release of James Cameron's original Terminator in 1984 - but too young at the time for the 18 age restriction - yet, just like the 21 restricted Blue Velvet, Angel Heart and Full Metal Jacket, I was tall enough to get into the cinema for these without any overzealous ushers or box office attendants calling me out on not being old enough to gaze upon these 'damaging' cinematic creations! Yes, South Africa had an age restriction for movies that 20 year olds couldn't watch…! - but you could join the army at 16 and kill people - go figure… The drive-in was a good place to see movies (you craved but was too young), by hiding in the car's trunk or under the blankets on the back seat! (as I did with my folks, forcing them to go see Scarface with me in that way). But, I digress.
My insatiable love of movies was at quite a high in the mid-'80s, and while loving all cinema flavours, my particular affection for Horror and Sci-Fi was then already well solidified. The Terminator was a revelation of classic '80s action style (setting a new standard), Brad Fiedel's timeless theme tune enough to get the excitement building.
Besides being instrumental in launching the macho action hero career of Arnold Schwarzenegger (along with Conan The Barbarian), over the last 30 years this classic movie spawned several sequels like the definitive follow-up Judgement Day, the 3rd and less impressive Rise Of The Machines (with a female Terminator), the Christian Bale starring Salvation, and TV series The Sarah Connor Chronicles (which I've never been inspired to catch up on).
This new installment is the first in a new trilogy set to continue the legacy, with Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke in the role of Connor, the woman who gives birth to the saviour of mankind (whom the machines tried to snuff out in the first movie in order to change the course of history).
The initial time travel scenario of the T-101 cybernetic warrior sent back in time from the apocalyptic future to eliminate Sarah in 1984, and resistance fighter Kyle Reese hot on his metal heels to protect her (and unknowingly fathering John), seemed open and shut, but since the mythology got re-tweaked in the various sequels, all manner of possibilities have been opened in a time traveling pandora's box.
(Many will get into serious geek discussions of the time travel logic, its various pros, cons and viability, inaccuracies and clashes - but I mean, really, don't sweat it, it's a frickin' movie!).
It goes without saying that a Terminator flick without Arnold Schwarzenegger is no Terminator at all - even if he just pops up for one scene and murmurs: "I'll be back!". But this time round you get him in a double dose, as the head-jumbling time travel to & fro takes on a new dimension. In the future when the resistance takes over the Cyberdine headquarters where the T-101 (and Reese) is sent back in time, things go awry - the events from the first Terminator being altered and sent in a brand new direction. Here Reese arrives and Sarah is well aware of the dangers, well trained and accompanied by a protective Terminator she dubbed Pops. A new mission has them now jumping from the '80s forward in time to prevent Judgement Day (on 29 August, 1997, when Cyberdine Systems' conscious machines destroyed humanity, a few survivors rising to fight back). This happened due to the new Genisys on-line programme amalgamating the world's net connectivity, setting the scene for the full take-over of the machines.
Naturally it is a big budget special FX spectacle, the CGI team having their work cut out for them in recreating a more youthful Schwarzenegger - battling his older self! (the outer flesh of the cyborgs aging just like that of humans). They did a hell of a job, and if you didn't know Arnie at all, you'd have thought it was a real person.
On seeing one of the trailers it felt like it was going to be somewhat of a remake, but while this is true in the sense of many scenes from the first movie perfectly recreated for the period Reese went back to save Sarah - it is now altered with elements like another liquid T-1000 on their trail.
There has now been as many John Connors as there has been Terminator movies, this time round portrayed by Zero Dark Thirty’s Jason Clarke – no relation to Emilia Clarke portraying his mother Sarah Connor here(!). John’s character is also steered in a surprising new direction. While she actually has some features hinting at that of Linda Hamilton, Emilia’s diminutive stature and childlike face didn’t always convince me she is a tough warrior here. (And while these things never bother me, she does look better as a blonde in Game Of Thrones).
Since the first two movies, Terminator creator James Cameron dropped from the franchise radar (occupying himself with mammoth projects like Titanic, Avatar, underwater documentaries and breaking records diving to the bottom of the ocean in high tech subs) - Not sure what percentage of the box office earnings he gets, but Cameron does approve of this new chapter. Will be cool to see him returning to get back into this new journey of his modest- to low budget creation of the mid-'80s.
Exciting entertainment in 2D, 3D or Imax.
I watched this in 2D, and for a while now I've grown weary of the 3D gimmick, not adding enough to enhance it for me, so seeing it without 3D specs was just fine with me.
Do you live in South Africa and want to win a Terminator: Genisys drawstring-bag (courtesy of UIP)? Head to the Flamedrop competition page.
4 / A
- Paul Blom
- A -
all the Terminator