Monday, July 6, 2015

Terminator: Genisys

I had the privilege of seeing Terminator:  Genisys last weekend. I've followed the Terminator franchise since I was 12 years old. My favorite has always been Terminator 2, Terminator 3 was a little weak, but I loved the 2008 Fox TV show Terminator:  The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

In this episode, Sarah Connor is played by Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones); John Connor is played by Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty); Kyle Reese - Jai Courney (Divergent); and Arnold Schwarzeneggar is the familiar "T-800." 

Emilia Clarke gave a really convincing performance as Sarah Connor. She had the mannerisms down and she even looks a little like Linda Hamilton.

By now everyone knows the story of Terminator:  the future is overrun by machines. Man has engineered his demise, but we have one last hope in John Connor, the leader of the resistance, the last bastion of humanity; a cyborg gets sent back in time to kill the future mother of the leader of the resistance. Sarah Connor is saved by Kyle Reese, also sent back from the future, (and the unwitting father of John Connor), thus completing the paradox. Each film basically builds on the this story line. The machines try multiple times to kill the Connor family, targeting Sarah Connor first, then John Connor himself, then Kyle Reese, all to no avail:  humans-4; machines-0.

In this episode, the T-800 is sent to kill Sarah Connor, but a healthy plot twist is introduced. Another Terminator is sent prior, targeting Sarah Connor at age 9, and she is of course rescued by a T-800. This is where the film gets interesting. When Kyle Reese arrives in 1984 he is totally unprepared for just how prepared Sarah Connor was, and the fact that she was expecting him.

The historic Terminator timeline is blown right off the hinges. The prior story is completely overwritten, but elements of the previous timelines are still evident; scenes from the original Terminator are revisited and shown from a completely different perspective. There was one scene that I caught and found particularly interesting. It was a scene where Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor jump forward in time to 1997, and end up in the middle of LA traffic. Most people don't know this, but this scene is a nod to Terminator:  The Sarah Connor Chronicles. However, in the series, it's Sarah Connor (Lena Heady), John Connor (Thomas Dekker) and their terminator which they named Cameron (Summer Glau) (most likely after Terminator creator James Cameron). Although the scenes differ, and none of the other movies acknowledge the events that occurred in Terminator:  The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I couldn't help but to draw that as a possible conclusion. I would be a really nice gesture to string all the different versions of the story together.

I think the thing I like the most about this film was the deviation from the previous timeline. This anomaly allowed greater range of dimension. It blew the predictability right out of the water, and really got you thinking about where the story could go. Altogether it made you really think about the concept of time. This is the kind of film that I enjoy the most:  a film that really makes you think while you're watching instead of spoiling the whole story by revealing it too soon.

IMDb only gives this film 7.1 stars, but give it 9, and highly recommend it!