Rental Review - Terminator Genisys

Terminator Genisys (2015), PG-13, 126 minutes - Yes, they are still making Terminator films.  Despite the fact that they haven't been able to recapture the franchise's magic in the time since 1991's Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Terminator Genisys now marks fifth film in the franchise.

Genisys begins in line with the story we all know: in a war torn future where Skynet has all but taken over, John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to the early 1980's in order to protect his mother Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) from a Terminator attack.  But when Reese arrives, things are not as he expects.  Sarah is already aware of the existence of Terminators.  Not only that, but she is collaborating with one she calls 'Pops' (Arnold Schwarzenegger).  This allows for a bit of role reversal as Sarah drops the 'come with me if you want to live' line as they attempt to evade a T-1000 (Byung-hun Lee).

With all of the time travel and attempts at changing history throughout the Terminator franchise, continuity can be a little convoluted and confusing, but the gist of Genisys is that from the future Skynet sent a Terminator even further back in time in an attempt to kill Sarah Connor prior to the events of the first film.  In doing so, an alternate timeline was created, one in which Skynet doesn't come online on Judgement Day, but instead is launched years later as a global wi-fi operating system called Genisys.  This allows the film to play with franchise continuity, presenting the question 'what would happen if humanity's savior turned out to be a Terminator himself?'.

I feel that comparing it to the first two films (which is virtually impossible not to do), diminishes Genisys because of its altering some of the continuity that has always been considered cannon.  I know, I know, technically it doesn't ret-con anything, but instead presents another possible timeline.  Die-hard Terminator fans may have a bit of a hard time accepting new faces in old, familiar roles (I know I did and I don't consider myself a hard core fan).  On its own merit Terminator Genisys isn't a bad sci-fi/action flick.  You'll likely find it more enjoyable if you can make that distinction from the get-go.  Despite its showing an alternate timeline Terminator Genisys is still very continuity heavy, so at least a passing knowledge of the first two Terminator films would help drastically when watching this film.


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