Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Terminator Genisys

Well, I'm sure you've read some reviews by now. A lot of them make this movie look dull at best or terrible at worst. The truth is that it is not either of those. This movie has done exactly no more and no less than what Jurassic World has done. It's taken a rather old and tired franchise and gave it a bit of a kick in the ass. 

Granted, this is not a perfect movie. It's not the first or second movie. Those two are indeed close to perfect, at least as far as this franchise is concerned. But does this new movie trump the so-bad-it's-good third one? Yes. Does it trump the forgettable Terminator Salvation? Yes. 

Critics might not like this movie, but audiences will. Why? Well, Arnold is back. That really shouldn't be a big boost because his career has certainly seen better days, but this franchise is his bread and butter and it is good to see him use the red eyes once again. It's been long enough since the third one so it's worth giving him another shot.

The second reason for audiences to enjoy this movie? This is a movie that feels like it was built on the backs of the first two films. When I watched a James Cameron interview after getting home from this movie and I heard him say that he thought of this as the "third" film in the series I silently agreed with him. 

This movie works. Not 100% of the time, but it works. 

My gripes?

1) More could have been done with J.K. Simmons. Simmons is a fantastic actor and he was given a minor role that seemed destined for something greater, but that something didn't materialize. I suppose the sequel to this movie could do that for him, but as of now I think it's a huge failure to not give him something better to work with. 

2) The marketing for this film thus far has sucked. Why the hell they spoiled the whole plot twist in the trailer is beyond me. It's ridiculous. The people in the marketing business for this one are fucking stupid. But if you've managed to avoid the trailer then please continue to do so until you've seen the movie. 

3) Lee Byung-hun is barely in this film. I mostly watched this one because I figured he'd be a badass villain and he was, but he didn't get quite the screen time I thought he was going to get. If Mr. Lee is looking for this movie to be his breakthrough into American cinema he'll have to try his luck again. 

4) Some of the time travel hijinks should have been handled with a bit more clarity. Writing was a little sloppy on that front. I'm a little confused on some points and I rarely get confused during movies with complicated stories. This one felt maybe a bit more complicated than it should have been while also being a bit less adventurous than it could have been. Given the story, I'm surprised I just said that. 

5) This one could have been completely awesome, but it fell ever so slightly short of the mark because it felt like it was trying to hard to be crowd pleaser for fans of the franchise. The dialog was a bit too "Arnold movie style" and at this point I'll be fine if I never hear the phrases "Come with me if you want to live" or "Get out" or "I'll be back" ever again. I'm actually surprised "Hasta la vista, baby" wasn't used. However, what's wrong with this movie's dialog also works in spite of itself sometimes because... well, fuck it, it's an Arnold movie. But it still could have been better on the dialog front. 

6) I also wasn't sure of the actors that portrayed Sarah Connor or Kyle Reese. Time will tell, of course, but my initial impressions of them were that they came off vanilla. No different than any of the other characters, really. Which is exactly what they are not supposed to be. 

That being said, this movie is a success. It isn't wholly original, but it does kick ass. It's got some great action sequences. The fight between Young Arnold Terminator and Old Arnold Terminator is probably the biggest fanboy moment of the movie. That was pretty awesome. 

More than anything else, this movie was legitimately entertaining for the entire length of the movie. I wasn't even sure what was going to happen. Part of that was confusion, but the other part (the larger part) was the exhilaration and just being in the moment. I was being wowed. 

But if this isn't the most successful and best of the "fifth films" in any franchise then I don't know what is. I'll take it. I'm not sure if I should feel too hyped up about the prospect of two more movies in this vein, but there's potential here. And I'm talking about more than just a cash-grab but just how much of that will actually be realized is up to other powers to decide. 

So... "really good but not quite great" sounds like a good rating to me after first viewing. 

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