Terminator Genisys will (and has) no doubt pissed off plenty of fans but taking emotion out of it, I actually didn’t think it was awful. The action scenes, albeit generic at times, were at least well shot, and the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Guardian was welcome. In spite of those, it’s at least a passable and entertaining flick.
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Paramount | PG13 – 125 min. – $31.99 | June 12, 2018
Date Published: 06/01/2018 | Author: The Movieman
The studio provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
** Portions of this was copied over from the 3D Blu-ray review
with adjustments to the features and video sections. **
THE MOVIE — 3.0/5
Note: This review contains SPOILERS about the plot, even more than what the trailers revealed, so readers beware.
I’m not sure there’s any messier of a franchise than that of Terminator. Through several re-casts and a confusing movie timeline (as I think the “Sarah Connor Chronicles” are not cannon), this has been maligned and mismanaged dating back to 2003’s Terminator 3 which, from what I recall, was a rather generic action flick followed several years later by Terminator Salvation which had even more issues from the script and focus.
Through Paramount (previous incarnations were distributed by Orion, TriStar and Warner Bros.), six years later they’ve gone back to the well with Terminator Genisys which attempts to reboot/recon the series and although this incarnation is hardly perfect, I actually found it to be somewhat entertaining – more so than Jurassic World – if only to see the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger (non-CGI’d) who all these years later still oozes charisma and charm despite (or perhaps because) playing an android.
Note #2: Again, turn away now as I reveal MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS.
The year is 2029 and the war between man and machine wages on but victory for the resistance, led by John Connor (JASON CLARKE), is within reach. With an incursion in Colorado to take out Skynet central under way (and done off screen), Connor and his right-hand man, Kyle Reese (JAI COURTNEY), set out to stop Skynet from sending back a T-800 in time but are too late. So, as we saw in The Terminator, John sends Reese back to protect his mother but as he’s sent back, Connor is attacked by a new form of machine, which we later discover is Skynet incarnate (MATT SMITH), which in turn sends a ripple in time.
Because of this, Reese is sent to a different 1984, one where Guardian (ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER) and Sarah Connor (EMILIA CLARKE) are already working together, as he saved Sarah 10 years prior, in anticipation for Reese’s arrival, and for Reese’s part, he receives new memories. Also waiting for him is the T-1000 (BYUNG-HUN LEE) and the fight is on, well, mainly Reese running and getting rescued by Sarah who utters the classic line, “Come with me if you want to live” (as seen in every friggin’ trailer). They manage to escape and Reese gets caught up on exactly what’s going on, not to mention trying to understand how the Terminator is a good guy and is there to help.
Their plan is, initially, to go to 1997 – the year Skynet became self-aware – but thanks to Reese’s alternate memories, he realizes they must go to the year 2017 to stop Skynet, under the name of the Genisys operating system, which is set to go wide, as a Trojan horse, to the masses, interconnecting everybody.
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to Terminator Genisys: the good is it is better than Terminator 3 and Terminator Salvation and not that far removed from the 1984 original, The Terminator. The bad news is, the previous two installments were hardly noteworthy (though I enjoyed T3) and with Salvation, just plain bad even though it looks good. That, along with action scenes that are not terribly memorable, and some questionable visual effects work.
Personally, I don’t have an emotional stake in this franchise so take that into consideration when I say Genisys actually isn’t a terrible movie and its moments. Despite what others have said, I didn’t take issue with the casting. Both Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney are perfectly satisfactory in their respective roles though I’m sure there were better candidates out there. Jason Clarke is fine as John Connor albeit during his “inspirational” speech early on, he seemed to be channeling Christian Bale…
However, the biggest reason this film works, in spite of its flaws, is because of Arnold Schwarzenegger who oozes charm and charisma that was sorely missing from Terminator Salvation and although some of the jokes might be laying it thick (like his intentionally creepy/awkward grin), it was nice comedic relief that worked. Though he’s no longer the box office draw he once was, he returns to his iconic role so well and makes up for the other lacking elements.
Alan Taylor takes over directing duties following the footsteps of Jonathan Mostow (T3) and McG (TS) and frankly, it looks good and the pacing is brisk but like his predecessors, I’m not sure it’s anything remarkable. On the plus side, the action scenes were well done even when some of the visual effects were a bit wonky such as the helicopter chase sequence when one chopper flies through a ball of fire or the bus bridge chase as it flips end over end. Outside of the effects, though, I found the action thrilling.
I also kind of commend, even if it is confusing, the writers — Laeta Kalogridis (Alexander, Shutter Island) and Patrick Lussier (Dracula 2000, Dracula II & III, Drive Angry) — retconing/refreshing a franchise that had so lost its way. That being said, Terminator Genisys understandably has its detractors but considering I have zero investment beyond the sheer entertainment value, I don’t share the same issues as some. Of course, Terminator 2: Judgment Day is still easily the best (and one of the best sci-fi flicks of all-time), but with this messy series, Genisys was at least passable entertainment.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.75/5
This release comes with a glossy slip cover, inside of which is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. The third disc with features I’m pretty certain was once included in Best Buy’s exclusive release.
Disc 1 (4K UHD):
Disc 2 (BD):
Infiltration and Termination (25:29; HD) looks at filming in New Orleans and San Francisco and provides more BTS footage and interviews primarily with the filmmakers as they talk about how NO doubled for 1980s Los Angeles as well as some locations for the future war and Griffith Park Observatory sequences.
Upgrades: VFX of Terminator Genisys (15:07; HD) breaks down the effects work used in the film.
Disc 3 (BD):
Battle on the Bridge: Multi-Angle Scene Breakdown (10:05; HD) – Here you can watch one of the key action sequences with the Pre-Viz, On the Set and Pre-Viz/Final Film Composite.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
|The 4K is presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 2160p high-definition transfer. For the most part, it is a fine looking transfer, detail is sharp throughout and despite being a darkly lit movie more often than not, thanks to the HDR, colors to shine through such as when the T-800 is set on fire or even a little thing like his red eye. All of that said, is it a big upgrade over the Blu-ray? I’m not so sure. No doubt there is an improvement, so I won’t say you won’t be disappointed.|
AUDIO – 5.0/5
|Terminator Genisys is the latest release to receive the Dolby Atmos track and like the others, it sounds fantastic. Beyond the action scenes, which there are numerous that utilize each and every channel, the few quieter moments also sound nice with clear dialogue levels not to mention Lorne Balfe’s score which makes use of the front and rear channels fairly well.|
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, Terminator Genisys will (and has) no doubt pissed off plenty of fans but taking emotion out of it, I actually didn’t think it was awful. The action scenes, albeit generic at times, were at least well shot, and the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Guardian was welcome and helped overshadow some of the shortcomings. In spite of those, it’s at least a passable and entertaining flick, though don’t go in expecting much.
The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.