Granger on Movies: ‘Terminator Genisys’
Fairfield Citizen film critic Susan Granger reviews the new movie, “Terminator Genisys:”
“I’m old — not obsolete,” proclaims Arnold Schwarzenegger’s monosyllabic cyborg, as the sci-fi fantasy franchise continues.
It begins in 2029, when John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance, sends Sgt. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). Unexpectedly, the timeline fractures, so Kyle lands in Los Angeles in an altered version of the past, complicating his mission to re-set the future.
The aging, re-programmed T-800 (Arnold) has become Sarah’s avuncular protector, turning her into a hardnosed warrior. She’s devoted to him, calling him “Pops.” But they’re up against another, more sophisticated killing machine, T-1000 (Korean star Byung-hun Lee), consisting of menacing, malleably mutating, metallic goo — and it’s even more lethal.
Now, the impending Judgment Day, when Skynet goes rogue, isn’t 1997 but 2017, when Skynet plans to take over the world, utilizing a nefarious operating system called Genisys that coordinates everyone’s portable communication devices.
You may need a flow chart to follow this confusing, fragmented plot, complete with gibberish dialogue and bizarre flashbacks to future events, scripted by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier, directed by Alan Taylor, based on James Cameron’s original concept.
Since Taylor directed several “Game of Thrones” TV episodes, he cleverly cast Emilia Clarke (a.k.a. Daenerys, mother-of-dragons) as Sarah Connor, the role originated by Linda Hamilton. She has an easy camaraderie with Arnold. Unfortunately, Australian actor Jai Courtney’s Reese, when clothed, turns out to be a rather bland and uninteresting fellow.
In an obvious appeal to video gamers, there’s lots of digital spectacle and staged destruction. One of the most memorable scenes has the then-37-year-old Austrian bodybuilder fighting the now-67-year-old ex-governor, courtesy of CGI.
And J.K. Simmons surfaces for comic relief, playing an alcoholic, yet determined L.A.P.D. detective who has spent three decades trying to unravel the Terminator mystery.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Terminator Genisys” is a tangled, transecting 7, proving time travel is a tricky thing.
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