It’s difficult to wrap my head around this one. As someone who still has fond memories watching Terminator 2 in the theaters, back as a kid in elementary school, I have a certain fondness for this entire franchise, and unlike a lot of people I even liked Salvation (though like most people, I really hated Terminator 3. Terrible.)
Genisys is definitely not a horrible movie. It’s way better than T3. However, the problems are numerous; from a needlessly complicated plot to scenes that have obviously been written in only so we can have yet another previous Terminator movie reference thrown in, at certain times it I wasn’t sure if this movie is trying to be a parody of itself, or trying to take itself seriously. I do know that about half way in I just stopped caring about the plot making sense and just went with it; even that was a challenge at some points.
Here are a few examples (spoilers) of moments that took me out of the movie.
– In the future, we have syncing!
In the year 2017, everyone is super excited about the Genisys app that’s coming out in a few days. Genisys, which is really Skynet in disguise, is said to have the capability of linking in every device a user has, instantly sharing data between them. You know, wouldn’t it be cool if I took some shots with my iPhone, then that would automatically get uploaded to my other devices, such as my iPad or my desktop…wouldn’t that be great? Too bad we have to wait until 2017 for that…except we don’t, and can do that now. This didn’t prevent a random guy in the movie to say that he’s super excited about this app that does what we can do now, and that he’s preordered it so he doesn’t have to wait in line. Wait in line?! Do the writers of this movie even own smartphones? Who waits in line for mobile apps? This whole thing felt like early 90’s movies that included computers in their plots, and were obviously written by people who don’t know anything about computers.
– Throw the Arnold model terminator into liquid metal and he becomes a liquid metal terminator that decides to appear old for reasons of not wanting to render young Arnold again.
So, they did explain that the polymimetic alloy (the stuff liquid Terminators are made of) that appears later in the movie isn’t programmed, as they don’t have the CPU’s or some such explanation. Later on Arnold gets pretty much destroyed and his broken body falls into the alloy. I guess his shut down CPU sinking to the bottom of the liquid metal pool was enough to upload his programming to the alloy or…oh, never mind. I can’t pretend this isn’t dumb.
– Sarah Connor / Kyle Reese are terrible.
Well, maybe not terrible but the acting certainly wasn’t great. The actors had zero chemistry between them, and them inevitably falling in love in the end felt forced and artificial.
– Terminators aren’t scary anymore.
Yes, I said it. In Terminator 1 we were scared of the Terminator. He was a relentless killing machine. In Terminator 2, Arnold lost some edge due to becoming a good Terminator, but the liquid metal one was menacing enough to this not being much of a problem. Even the terrible, terrible Terminator 3 movie had a somewhat menacing, if nonsensical lady Terminator (liquid metal over a skeleton seemed like a downgrade to only liquid metal). In Genisys, nothing was really scary. The modified John Connor never felt like a real threat to me. The “pops” Arnold model effectively became a comedic relief character. There’s also the “evil” Arnold model that may have been menacing if it survived for more than a few minutes. The same goes for the liquid metal Terminator that is dispatched with great speed and efficiency.
Gone are the days of desperate running from a nearly invincible foe. Now everything’s just slapstick humor mixed with action and violence.
I will say it’s still better than Terminator 3 (then again, almost everything is, and I’m not just talking about movies but everything), and I did kind of enjoy the first part of the movie that takes place in the future, during a final resistance assault on Skynet. It was all enjoyable until Dr. Who decided to intervene, though it’s hardly Matt Smith’s fault.