Big Screen :: Terminator: Genisys

July 3rd 2015

big screen arnie terminator

I have complained about confusing time-travel plot lines before, but Terminator: Genisys wins all the prizes.

I walked out of this movie with the biggest paradox-induced headache – not just because it’s ridiculously complicated, but it sets up impossible scenarios that it doesn’t even try to explain. It made me angry.

The basic plot is the same as parts one, two and three: people from the future go back in time to stop something from happening. The movie’s one good idea is to open by re-staging scenes from the first film shot-for-shot, then mixing it up. Kyle Reese goes back in time to stop a Terminator from murdering Sarah Connor, except everything is different now. Why? The movie doesn’t say. It’s a new timeline; we’ll explain later… oops, out of time. Don’t worry about it!

See, the problem here is that the film has been reverse-engineered.

There needs to be another Terminator movie because… money. It needs to star Arnie even though he is now very, very old. And it needs to have the liquid metal T1000 for advertising reasons. This set of conditions is impossible for a screenwriter to achieve, so the movie just fudges it.

Instead of being a naive waitress, Sarah Connor is a badass that has been raised by a Terminator… why? The movie presents this as a mystery, but never bothers to solve it. Then there is an Asian T1000 in 1984 – not sure how that happened! It’s probably best not to think about it. The reason these anomalies are left mysterious is because it would be impossible to satisfactorily explain them in any way that still respects the first two movies (which are the only ones that anyone cares about), let alone numbers three and four.

I don’t even know if Terminator:Genisys actually acknowledges that parts three and four exist, because I am pretty sure the events that took place in them make this film impossible.

But I should shut up about this because my paradox headache is coming back.

The movie wants you to just go along with all this bullshit, but that was impossible for me. And even if you could, this is a fairly terrible film anyway. The action is OK, but the presence of far too much bad CGI irritated me, and the climax is just back to blowing up an office building, which is pretty boring. Not only that, but the casting is horrible. Jai Courtney makes no impression whatsoever as Kyle Reese. Emilia Clarke, aka Daenerys from Game Of Thrones, does an utterly unconvincing impression of Linda Hamilton’s iconic badass Sarah Connor from Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

big screen sarah connor terminator


And Jason Clarke is not much better as John Connor. I’ll give J.K. Simmons a pass, but only because he gets to utter the immortal line, “Goddamn time-travelling robots!”

The only one having any fun is Arnie.

Putting aside the problems I have with turning the iconic death machine into a cuddly grandpa figure, Schwarzenegger actually manages to tease a few laughs and some genuine emotion out of an otherwise super dumb movie. This old haggard robot programmed to protect Sarah Connor by any means necessary was the thing that I was dreading most about this movie, but it turned out pretty great. He was kind of sweet – too bad about the rest of it.


Get Big Screen podcasts



Big Screen :: Tomorrowland

Big Screen :: Mad Max: Fury Road

Big Screen :: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Little Screen :: Winter Film Guide



Read more from FBi Radio