‘Terminator Genesys’ – Cautionary Revelations

12A, Paramount and Skydance

Feel-better Rating Heypressto Feel-better rating icon 3 out of 5

It is 2029, some years after Skynet, the automated defense system designed to protect the Earth, turned on the human habitants. A handful of survivors led by John Connor (Jason Clarke, Malcolm, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) attack Skynet and uncover a time machine. Moments before their arrival it has sent robot model T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back to 1984 to kill John’s mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones) before he is born.

Connor’s right hand man Reese (Jai Courtney, McClane Jr, A Good Day to Die Hard) volunteers to pursue the robot and protect Sarah. On his time transition he witnesses an attack on John and picks up memories of his revised childhood, growing up in a world without the human-hunting machines. The most important of his visions is of an iPad–type tablet with a countdown to the release of a new application: Genesys, which will be used in the future to trigger the apocalyptic effects of Skynet.

In 1984 Reese arrives to be confronted by three punks and a homicidal reception committee. Skynet’s assassin T-800 is soon dispatched by Sarah and her Guardian (Schwarzenegger), a modified T-800 whom she has dubbed Pops, but the pair and Reese are soon pursued by a T-1000 (Byung-hun Lee, Han Cho Bai, Red 2) a liquid shape-shifting machine with a mission to eradicate Reese and Sarah.

Overcoming the upgraded killing machine, Reese and Sarah travel forward in time using a cobbled together time travel device similar to Skynet’s. Together with Pops they must prevent the release of Skynet’s progenitor Genesys masquerading as an operating system to unite all the user’s devices. Unbeknownst to the three heroes, Skynet has become self aware, activates its defense systems and as it develops the countdown reduces. In a race against the clock they must risk all in order to save the future of the world.

Terminator Genesys is a thrilling ride, with spectacular use of the CGI but as always it is Schwarzenegger that gives the film its heart. Arnie’s one-liners and intense stare reassure the audience that, in spite of insuperable odds, the day will be won. It took some getting used to seeing Emilia Clarke filling Linda Hamilton’s shoes as Sarah Connor but all in all it was a convincing performance. Byung-hun Lee is fear inspiring as the steely-eyed T-1000. Yes, there are holes in the plot but writing partners Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier together with director Alan Taylor deliver an entertaining 72 minutes in which action is balanced with quieter moments when the audience can catch their breath.

At nearly 68 years of age Schwarzenegger reminds the viewers that he, his generation and Pops are ‘old but not obsolete’. Terminator Genesys reaffirms the message that right will ultimately prevail; a few good persons and true can preserve what is best about the human species.

Clearly concerns about misuse of technology make this a cautionary tale. Our hunger for the next new thing, witnessed by crowds queuing round the block for the release of the latest product from Apple (of which I am an avid user) for example, could be leave us open to products that are not necessarily the best new thing. Awareness of this can help us protect ourselves and encourage legislation that does likewise.

Only 8 people occupied Screen 4 at the local multiplex, in and around the VIP seats for the matinee. However most schools have yet to break up and next wave of young ticket holders arriving as I left would have filled the auditorium. My movie buddy’s 10-year-old nephew rated it, ‘great, with Arnie and explosions!’ His uncle was equally enthusiastic. This Terminator did not hold the attention of the three children in the back row throughout the performance but they appeared satisfied.

With pyrotechnics, flashes of wit, chases, skeletal robots, morphing machines, ingenuity, narrow escapes, a familiar face, a weird family reunion, and the fatal effects of magnetism, Terminator Genesys is worth the price of the ticket even for a VIP seat.

Terminator Genesys does function as a stand-alone story for those who have yet to sample the previous Terminator films but has some historical nods for those in the know. Sit through the credits to see the opening for the sequel. The Terminator franchise seems as indestructible as Arnie. In his words: ‘I’ll be back’.

About the Author Chartreuse

Chartreuse is a freelance writer, editor, photographer and promotional videographer. She has written a feel-better film review column for Heath & Happiness Magazine, and is the owner of Heypressto. Chartreuse’ greatest inspiration is Abraham-Hicks. Her favourite quote is ‘You can be, do or have anything you want’.

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