Terminator Genisys was Action-Packed, Convoluted, and Dissapointing
Directed by: Alan Taylor
Written by: Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier
Based on Characters by: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Lee Byung-hun, J. K. Simmons
Running time: 126 minutes
PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence and gunplay throughout, partial nudity and brief language
Constructing a plot based around time travel is a dangerous thing, balancing the inevitable paradox, plot-holes, and multiple timelines is reason enough to stay away. After watching Terminator Genisys I believe that task was insurmountable for screenwriters Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier, and director Alan Taylor. This film quickly became an unfocused lumbering beast overflowing with action, riddled with plot holes, villains, alternate timelines, and missed opportunities. The story was difficult to follow at times, when it made sense it was entertaining and interesting, at the end, when it all fell apart, it was simply frustrating, but perhaps more frustrating than the way the story fell apart, was the way Matt Smith was egregiously under used. Perhaps the best part of the film was how ironically self-aware it became, unfortunately this started to give it a more satirical feel than I believe Alan Taylor intended to impart upon this movie. Terminator Genisys is empty cinematic calories, it may be entertaining, for many, but it is ultimately unsatisfying. I honestly think many die-hard fans of the Terminator series will walk away a touch disappointed with the result. It has neither the compelling narrative, nor the logical escalation of action of the first or second films, which is a shame because this did have the potential to jump-start a dying franchise.
When John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance against Skynet, sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), from a Terminator assassin, an unexpected turn of events creates an altered timeline. Instead of a scared waitress, Sarah is a skilled fighter and has a Terminator guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger) by her side. Faced with unlikely allies and dangerous new enemies, Reese sets out on an unexpected new mission: reset the future. – courtesy Paramount Pictures
As a fan of Doctor Who I am not only familiar with the pitfalls of a plot based in time travel, I am painfully aware of the fact that time travel is among the worst plot devices to work around. If you aren’t careful it becomes a hydra of timelines and plot holes. Shows like Doctor Who solve this problem by embracing the hydra and saying it all is a little wibbly wobbly timey wimey. How you don’t want to handle it is by having Arnold Schwarzenegger try to explain quantum theories involving time travel and multiple time streams as a way of simply dismissing the Swiss cheese plot that was just introduced by filling with more holes. The structure of this film was so carelessly constructed it will collapse with the slightest amount of scrutiny. I am not a fan of the Terminator series, but I can at least recognize that the first two films are good, if not great films that deserve much better sequels than have been delivered to date. Judging from this latest entry, this is one film franchise that will perpetually be back, whether we want it or not.