Posted by: bayarali | October 19, 2015

Terminator Genisys (BYReviews)

I started watching Terminator Google, sorry I mean to say Terminator Genisys, a bit reluctant. We are all familiar with the prequel/sequel wave of movies that hurt the industry like a virus, but the fact that I realised that I cannot pinpoint whether this movie is a prequel or a sequel made it more intriguing to me. And the truth is, once you start to ask yourself this kind of questions, is when you also start to not enjoy the movie.

Yes, enjoying the movie is the key thing you need to keep in mind. I started off by trying to figure out who was from what timeline,  or what the impact is on the previous movies (i.e. T1 and T2 – the rest are irrelevant), I started to analyse the easter eggs cleverly placed especially in Arnold’s performance, but then again, all of these things are only important if you are a continuity die hard fan like me. Otherwise, just focus on the role play, the action scenes and on Arnold.

Take the Marvel Cinematic Universe for example. What they are pulling off is a very consistent – first of its kind – continuity plan over at least 3 Phases on the big screens and on TV, that started in 2008 and so far lasts until 2019. The Terminator franchise was a mess compared to this. Terminator 3 and Terminator Salvation screwed up big time, not in destroying the aforementioned continuity, but rather in not being pleasurably tied into it. The writers seemed visibly afraid of touching the established lore. Arnold’s CG cameo in Salvation was at least totally uncalled for, done with the sole purpose of cashing in on his traditional fans (and done so whilst Arnold was Governor).

Terminator Genisys has the balls to fuck with ALL of the Terminator history. I was hurt and disappointed that everything I knew was no longer valid. Actually, Genisys is bullying all of us, by going to the other extreme compared to T3 and TS. “How dare they?” I asked myself. Terminator Genisys was not done so that anyone can watch it. If you have not (recently) seen T1 and T2, then you lost a lot of the meaning of the movie. It makes it altogether that difficult to review the movie without spoilers. But in the spirit of what I do on my Facebook page, BYReviews, I will only disclose the spoilers that are not critical to the plot and that are meant to make the readers more curious to see the movie if they wish so (what I call “positive spoilers”).

What bothered me, for example, was that Terminator 2 was not only changed, but disregarded in its entirety. They actually discuss visiting the T2 timeline but then just pass on it. A T1000 is inserted into the movie, when it was completely unnecessary to do so as he did not play an important role in the plot, not to mention that its presence is not explained. We are also deprived of knowing how and why the grandpa Terminator was sent to Sarah Connor when she was a kid. To me, that is a huge plot hole, because that is the single actual fact that led to all the changes from the original movies. All in all, the timeline is very complicated, with some things that are left unexplained because it would mostly hurt the movie if they did explain them.

But the movie is a lot of fun. Arnold steps back wonderfully into the role that made him one of the biggest superstars in Hollywood, the one role that was perfectly created for him and him alone. At some point you can see his real age when he walks, but we the viewers assume that the machine just needs some oiling.  We have a lot of action scenes similar to those that we loved in the original movies, though we also have some new ideas that kinda ruined the whole experience for me, like the helicopter chase and the bus crash. I actually prefer the T3 crane chase to these two. Digital Arnold is well done, but I give credit to the fact that he was naked (the physics of clothes are much more difficult to render). Emilia Clarke did a good job, considering she was stepping in for a bad ass Linda Hamilton (doing push-ups in the mental hospital cell had been awesome!) and I love that she has taken on such a diverse role compared to her Game of Thrones one.

Yes, it does hurt that they change everything we knew. I still think this movie was not necessary. Some franchises are better left alone. On the other hand, I cannot help but focus on the impermanence of time, on the relativity of the past. I somehow drift to spiritual thoughts that we should live in the present, which is something I cannot say about Kyle Reese. Then, I decide to take Terminator as a buddhist sand mandala that you build over years (in this case decades) and then destroy in in 2 hours just to remind yourself that everything is temporary and that we all just the same are born and turn into dust. I’m not sure that the producers counted on such a reaction from their audience, though.

Bonus: The Skynet-person looks awfully german. I wonder if it’s on purpose.

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