Embrace The Glorious Nonsense: A Review of ‘Terminator: Genisys’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - June 30, 2015
Embrace The Glorious Nonsense: A Review of ‘Terminator: Genisys’

Many things in life are hard to appreciate upon their initial flourish, and sometimes it can take a minute or two for things to genuinely sink in, so that they can be appreciated.  Terminator: Genisys is not the kind of thing that one would traditionally call a ‘good movie’ but it is so damn bat shit crazy that you can’t help but appreciate it as it goes for the gusto in the tradition of some of the more entertaining pieces of science fiction out there today.

The war with the machines is almost at an end and all that is left is for the leader of the resistance; John Connor (Jason Clarke) to send Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time to save his mother Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and protect the future of the human race, however things have changed and the timeline has fractured.  With Reese now in 1984, things aren’t happening quite as he expected them to and Sarah Connor along with the Guardian (aka Pops) are now protecting him as the date for judgement day has shifted and this new team has to travel through time and face a myriad of new enemies as Skynet is evolving and fighting to come into existence no matter what anyone has to say about it.


Like any good time traveling movie, Terminator: Genisys barely makes any sense as it throws out almost all the rules from the first movies and makes it up as it goes along, but in the process it actually ends up being a fair amount of fun, provided you detach yourself from everything that came before this one.

With director Alan Taylor taking the helm, we get someone with a solid eye for storytelling and for action.  It isn’t high concept or particularly stunning but he embraces the visuals motifs of the franchise and knows how to get from Point A to Point B with little to no grief.  The 3D is kind of pointless but he provides us a fair bit of full on action and mayhem in between the occasional bit of story and character development.  The script from Patrick Lussier and Laeta Kalgoridis throws it all out the window with the simple yet genius plot twisted of a fractured timeline and everything is slightly different.  We don’t know why she has a Terminator that is protecting her and for the first half of the movie was as an audience are just genuinely confused at what the hell is going on.  But here is the catch, we are supposed to be, we’ve gone in expecting one thing, but are getting something ever so slightly different.  It doesn’t try to be serious or respect the originals, it goes for over the top action gusto and it kind of works.  Sure there are some laughable moments that we aren’t supposed to laugh at and logic holes that we could drive a truck through, but it isn’t going for the dark and grim type of storytelling that we are used to and it shifts it’s focus reasonably well thanks to a solid ensemble cast.

terminator-genisys-franchise-paradox-parody-trailerEmilia Clarke actually does a half way decent job of stepping into the badass shoes of Sarah Connor.  She’s already a warrior, but tired and weary of the world just wanting to figure out a way to be a woman in a world where her only interpersonal relationship has been with a cyborg.  Arnold gives us some variation on the prototypical Terminator that he has been playing allowing for the characters accumulated experience to shine through.  Jai Courtney is a little stiff as Kyle Reese and ends up being the weaker link in this three person dynamic but Jason Clarke shifts the perceived role of John Connor to some fun and interesting places while JK Simmons, Matt Smith and Courtney B Vance round out the ensemble and to a man the entire cast buys into the nature of the story.

This was never meant to be another chapter in the epically serious franchise that we grew up with, Terminator: Genisys is simply a $200 million piece of gonzo action nonsense, turn off your brain and just ride the wave of the crazy that unfolds in front of you.

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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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