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?


* 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


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.