Terminator Genisys

The Terminator series was created by James Cameron and Gale Ann Hurd. It encompassed stories from films, comics, novels and other sources concerning battles between Skynet, a malevolently intelligent computer network, and John Connor's human resistance movement, which is trying to wrest control of the planet from the army of machines that do Skynet's bidding.

The first movie, The Terminator, was released in October 1984. It had a budget of $6.4 million and box office returns were a staggering $78.4 million. It was the movie that truly brought Arnold Schwarzenegger to the public's notice and made him into an action superstar. It was a wonderful piece of cinema, successfully blending horror and science fiction with a certain amount of real world grit creating a movie-going experience that was both exhilarating and terrifying. The plot revolved around Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), mother of John, who spends most of the film running from an emotionless cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) that has been sent from the future to kill her and thus prevent the birth of her son. She is aided in her struggle by Kyle Reese, a battle hardened human also from the future.

The success of that first low-budget cinematic outing gave rise to three more films, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and Terminator Salvation, and burned the Terminator brand into the public consciousness. None of these sequels was as good as the original.

However, the Hollywood establishment must have felt that there was an appetite for more because now we have Terminator Genisys, but aside from the special effects it fails to revitalize the franchise.

While the 1984 film dealt with time travel in a simple way and made the central paradox that underpinned the film easy to understand, the screenwriters for Terminator Genisys have made the time travel aspect of the movie needlessly complicated, have given the central characters horrendous dialogue, and turned what was once a very powerful and frightening film into a confusing and unnecessarily fluffy production.

Emilia Clarke, who so effectively played Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, stars in the role of Sarah Connor, that is, the version that Linda Hamilton played so well in Terminator 2, a heavily armed Amazon dedicated to demolishing Skynet's cyborg minions and preserving the human race. At least this is the character that Clarke would have portrayed if she played her role convincingly. Unfortunately she fails to do so, partially because she just looks too young for the role.

Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard, Divergent, Jack Reacher) blandly plays Kyle Reese, the soldier who in The Terminator played a central role in protecting Sarah Connor. Courtney takes a character that is angst-ridden, isolated and brutal and turns him into the kind of clueless hunk that might appear in a romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock, a character who does not belong in this film.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, trying desperately to boast his flagging film career, appears once again as the Terminator. His is a comedic role; however, it is baffling how a killer robot can be seen as comedic relief.

This is not a great movie. To truly enjoy the Terminator experience, watch The Terminator or Terminator 2.  Beyond the special effects, Terminator Genisys isn't worth your time.