Picking on Terminator Genisys

Okay I’ve picked on Terminator Genisys quite a bit, mostly because I love the franchise and was very disappointed in the movie while appreciating some really good choices they made – almost as if it had been made by a committee.

Today’s rant will be filled with the spoilers I normally never discuss so DO NOT READ this until you have seen the film unless you just don’t care about spoilers.

Terminator Genisys hurts my brain so much, I have to publish these questions. It is okay to have a few things unanswered but you can’t build a movie out of a question mark. As my modern brethren would say, WTF?

SUPER SPOILER ALERT

* Who sent a T-1000 Terminator back in time to kill Sarah Connor as a little girl?

* Who sent an Arnold Terminator back in time to save Sarah Connor as a little girl? This is deliberately obfuscated in the movie.

* How did an Arnold Terminator manage to defeat a T-1000 by himself?

* How did either know to intercept the little girl at a summer home?

* Why does Arnold fight Arnold risking injury when they can just take him out with a sniper shot?

* Who sent the T-1000 to intercept Kyle Reese and how did they know the precise spot and time to do so? Why didn’t the T-1000 just kill him on the spot?

* Why do people float when going back through time while Terminators have to squat?

* If the embodiment of SkyNet can infect John Connor AND kill absolutely every soldier with him with ease, why did it not do so before the destruction of SkyNet? Clearly it had no problems with infiltration.

* Why did SkyNet only activate the one Arnold Terminator to go back in time while John Connor is attacking? Clearly there are dozens that could have been activated to defend the time machine or destroy it after the first went through.

* If they can construct a time machine in 1984 using essentially stone knives and bearskins then why can’t John manage it in 2017?

* If you know that you give birth to the literal savior of humanity in 1984/85, why would you turn your back on that and jump forward in time to try and stop judgment day? It seems to me that you would at least want to birth the messiah at the right time prior to jumping.

* If you know that Genisys/Skynet is going online on a particular day, why would you jump to less than two days prior instead of say a year before to plan things out? John showed up three years before.

* If Arnold was on the work crew for the Genisys location and built in a safe room keyed to Sarah’s biometrics, why didn’t he simply sabotage Genisys then?

* Why wouldn’t John or Genisys know that the safe room was keyed to Sarah Connor and change the locks?

* If Genisys can arbitrarily speed up its development from hours to just fifteen minutes, why not just make itself ready then?

* Doesn’t the post-credits sequence negate the entire ending of the movie? Doesn’t it mean that Genisys is just fine?

* If Genisys is just fine, doesn’t that mean that the moment it connects with the internet, judgement day takes place?

I have plenty of other unanswerable questions but I believe that it is time to let this go

/rantmodeoff

Jurassic World vs. Terminator Genisys – Battle of the Dinosaurs

Jurassic World

What makes Jurassic World so much better than Terminator Genisys? They have the same strengths. Both come from beloved franchises. Both have well chosen callbacks to their original picture. Both have wonderful special effects and a great setting. Each imagines they have a strong female protagonist.

They have the same weaknesses. Both are well past their sell-by date. Both are heavily dependent on those same special effects. Both invest far too much time setting up their future sequels. Neither actually has a strong female protagonist. In fact, Jurassic World, the better of the two, smacks of misogyny but I digress.

Terminator Genisys

 

* In my elder daughter’s words, “duh. dinosaurs eating people.”

* Jurassic World’s action sequences are much better. My wife found them to be genuinely scary. We had to go a second time so she could she what she missed and she still peered through her fingers.

* Terminator Genisys is the fifth film in an old series and is a continuation of that, even if it does ignore almost everything after the second film. Jurassic World pretends to be a sequel but ignores the the second and third films and is essentially a reboot. It even apes specific plot points and character beats from the first film.

* Arnold Schwarzenegger is inextricably linked with the Terminator franchise and since leaving office, he has consistently shown that he is no longer a box office draw (sorry Maya). Chris Pratt, on the other hand, is rapidly rising to become king of the box office.

* While Jurassic World drops a lot of exposition on us to set up the sequel(s), Terminator Genisys never explains where more than one Terminator comes from. Perhaps this is to be explained in future films but Genisys’ box office may be lackluster enough to prevent that. Both features leave several character’s fates indeterminate but only Genisys has you going, “what the..huh..” That is, if you even bother to think of it.

*Umm dinosaurs!

Terminator Genisys Terminated!

Along with umm very few people, I got to see Terminator Genisys last week.

Terminator Genisys

 

Terminator Genisys (2015) РRated PG-13

John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, but when he arrives in 1984, nothing is as he expected it to be.”

Terminator Genisys is such a missed opportunity. Overall this film is a dud, which is not terribly unexpected.

Parts of Terminator Genisys are simply brilliant. The movie replays two key scenes from the first movie and they are remade in exacting detail with completely different outcomes. Heck, the punk played by Bill Paxton briefly in the 1984 original, here even looks like him in 2015. That is of course quite strange as Emilia Clarke looks nothing like Linda Hamilton and Jai Courtney looks nothing like Michael Biehn. The ideas behind and the orchestration of these two scenes are wonderful.

The central plot twist is also quite intelligent. Hilariously, the trailer gives it away completely, an unintentional revisiting of the Terminator 2 fiasco.

So what is wrong with Genisys? Pretty much everything else.

First, it suffers from Buffy syndrome. Every season the UBG (ultimate bad guy) had to be bigger and badder until, in season five, Buffy had to fight an actual deity. In The Terminator, Sarah Connor had to run from an unstoppable killing machine that could imitate anyone’s voice. In Terminator 2, Sarah and John Connor had to face a newer model of unstoppable killing machine that could perfectly imitate anyone it touched and was made of liquid metal while trying to stop judgement day aka the apocalypse.

The lackluster Terminator 3 had John Connor trying to stop judgement day again, this time facing off against a Terminator that could do all of the things the one in 2 could PLUS control machines. The utterly humorless and Arnold-less Terminator Salvation abandoned the formula to tell a story of post-apocalyptic John Connor. Terminator Genisys tries to up the UBG but how do you top T3’s Terminatrix? The short answer is that they don’t.

The main acting is rather unconvincing. Emilia, who is fantastic, both tough and vulnerable, as Daenerys in Game of Thrones cannot seem to manage either here, in spite of being directed by Alan Taylor in half a dozen GoT episodes. Jai Courtney, the poor man’s Bruce Willis, is a pretty boy with very little screen presence. Jason Clarke is a decent actor but also lacks presence. J.K. Simmons is quite good in his limited role. Matt Smith is fine in what amounts to a glorified cameo.

Arnold, central to all the Terminator movies except Salvation, is just fine here even though he has aged considerably since the 1984 original. They did a good job of crafting the screenplay around his aging. When the original Arnold Terminator is shown, they did some wonderful mapping on an excellent body double. Arnold gets the three biggest laughs of the film – all based around his inability to smile. Sadly, those are pretty much the only laughs.

The action sequences are appropriately noisy but honestly James Cameron, who directed the first two films, was a master of action cinema. Alan Taylor is no James Cameron. As he did in Thor: Dark World, it always feels as if Taylor is sucking the life out of a franchise. The action scenes remind me of Transformers, where you can see that a lot of money and effort went into them but they aren’t actually exciting. I’d posit that I have reached CGI overload but the scenes in Jurassic World are quite suspenseful.

Terminator Genisys also spends way too much time reinventing the wheel and too much effort in setting up the sequel. There is one brief post-credits scene. Thankfully they put it just after credits start so you don’t need to sit through all of them.

Terminator Genisys will only appeal to hardcore fans of the franchise and even then they will likely be disappointed. I know I was.

Lots of FREE Movies at the Theater – Jurassic World

Vudu

Haven’t shelled out the bucks for Jurassic World yet? Buy one of the original three films on Vudu ($9.99) and score a FREE ticket ($7 Fandango promo code) to Jurassic World (offer ends 6/26).

Avengers Age of Ultron

Wal-Mart still has specially marked boxes of Eggos that will score you a FREE movie ticket. Ignore the Avengers: Age of Ultron packaging – the FREE ticket is good for any movie. Wal-Mart also has an endcap with varios movie moneys attached to DVDs and Blu-Rays.

Jurassic World

I’m not sure how long this offer will last but Amazon is offering the Jurassic World Premiere Pack for $29.99 and you will a $15 Fandango promo code to see Jurassic World, the original Jurassic Park in digital format, and the pre-order for the Blu-Ray combo pack of Jurassic World.

Regal doesn’t understand what BOGO is supposed to mean. They currently have a Father’s Day promotion where if you buy someone (that someone can be you) a $50 gift card, they will send you, the buyer, an additional $10 gift card.

FREE movie tickets for Terminator Genisys have started popping up on Blu-Rays in Target. Unfortunately list on the Blu-Rays is a little high at the moment ($14.99 and up). Expect those prices to come down when they get featured in an ad at the end of June.

2015 Woohoo!

Wow! I cannot believe how many marvelous things I am looking forward to in 2015. The year is apt because all of the returning movie franchises make me feel like I’m fifteen again.

The top ten TV series I am looking forward to in 2015:

1. Game of Thrones Season 5

2. The Walking Dead Season 6 (and rest of 5)

3. Daredevil (Netflix so yay for Day 1 binge)

4. Penny Dreadful Season 2

5. Westworld (HBO)

6. Mad Men Final Season

7. Ash vs. Evil Dead (the return of Bruce Campbell)

8. Agent Carter (in spite of being disappointed with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

9. Doctor Who

10. Sherlock

The movies were very hard to winnow down and there are dozens that I am looking forward to. The top ten 2015 movies I am most looking forward to are:

1. The Avengers Age of Ultron (Joss Whedon is amazing)

2. Star Wars – The Force Awakens (ditto J.J. Abrams)

3. Terminator Genisys (afraid of this but I love the franchise)
4. Jurassic World (you had me at dinosaurs)
5. Spectre (Christoph Waltz as Blofeld? Yes, please)
6. Crimson Peak (Guillermo del Toro returns to horror)
7. Ant Man (troubled history but official Marvel)
8. The Fantastic Four (rebooting after two terrible movies)
9. The Hunger Games Mockingjay p.2 (looking forward to seeing how this ends)
10. San Andreas (I’m a sucker for disaster movies)

2015 – Squee! or Sequelitis

Hollywood loves Marc. Well, Hollywood loves 50 year old Marc’s money and is willing to give him what he wanted when he was 15. Certainly I can hear critics bemoaning the lack of originality in 2015’s film slate but I am seriously excited.

Avengers Age of Ultron

I am looking forward to the conclusion of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy (it seems more his than Tolkien’s at this point). I am not however excited by it. This holiday season has seen the release of trailers for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, and Star Wars Episode 7. I am VERY excited about all three of these. In fact by this time next year, I would expect to own the first two on Blu-ray and be just a short time from seeing the third in theaters.

Jurassic World

As if all of this were not enough of reliving my childhood, we get a brand new Mad Max film in May, a new Terminator film in July, and yet still another James Bond movie in November (this one with Christoph Waltz as Blofeld!). With these and others, my movie theater bill is going to be terrible next year.

Star Wars Force Awakens

On the other hand, I can see where original ideas may be completely squeezed out. In addition to the above, we have the following numbered sequels releasing next year: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Woman in Black 2, Taken 3, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Furious 7, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Pitch Perfect 2, Insidious 3, Ted 2, Sinister 2, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon II, Hotel Transylvania 2, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 2, Kung Fu Panda 3, Mission Impossible V, and Resident Evil 6.

Unnumbered sequels, continuations, remakes, and reboots include (but are certainly not limited to): Cinderella (live action), Paranormal Activitiy: The Ghost Dimension, Divergent: Insurgent, Entourage, The Transporter Legacy (without Statham boo!), Magic Mike XXL, Minions, Pan, Poltergeist, Point Break, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, Hitman Agent 47, London Has Fallen (sequel to Olympus Has Fallen), The Jungle Book, Vacation, Peanuts, and an untitled Friday the 13th sequel.

All of this makes 2015 exciting to me for the sheer comfort of returning to my childhood. I am sure there will be some original delights, diamonds in the rough but, regardless, I will be satisfied with all the bright, shiny things.