Movie review: Looking forward to Terminator? Take a time capsule instead

Movie review: Looking forward to Terminator? Take a time capsule instead

By PAYEL MAJUMDAR | | 4 July, 2015
Terminator: Genisys
Director: Alan Taylor
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke

The first thing that bothered me before I had even entered the hall was how "genisys" was spelt in this film's title: why on earth would someone do this? Sadly, the mystery remains unsolved in this game-changing Terminator not-reboot that may or may not have solved other mysteries for die-hard fans. Will the world decide sometime into the future that they are bored of present spellings and syntax and mxi thgins upp? God forbid. Just keep the spellings intact.

In Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the world has already been dismantled and assembled back for what it was worth; we have time travelled till 2029 where the machines have taken over, how are things going to work out anew? Well, in video games and franchise movies, you get as many chances as you want to get the ending you like. So here we decided to give Terminator a fourth chance, and what a bad idea it was. We ended up right in the middle of bots vs soppy humans in 3D throwing trucks, indistinguishable parts of metal trawlers, bus brakes, blowing up buildings, cars, trains, crashing into glass... till it becomes very easy to zone out and dream about floating around above all that mess...where were we?

Schwarzenegger ages strangely in the film from invincible Terminator with the tight-skinned pectorals who always comes and blows up the bad guys when needed, to "Pops", rapidly ageing, emotionally-stunted father bot with cracking knees and shaking hands. Arnie the bot even reminds you (in what might be seen as an aside by the actor to his fan base) that he may be old, but he isn't obsolete.

This is Arnie's most stony-faced act yet, and the one joke that he's been given in the film (that gets repeated at least a dozen times) does nothing to improve the situation. (For the record, he is asked to smile, and manages a Sheldon Cooper version of a grin.)

As the film begins, we are transported right into the middle of action. Omniscient defence surveillance network Skynet is about to take control of the entire world and eliminate mankind from the surface of the Earth. Again. Like sprawling fan fiction, we find out that this time, one of the key characters has turned over to the dark side, and become part machine himself. I'm not even going to get into where-have-we-heard-this-before (Superman Returns, Men in Black II, Transformers: Revolution of the Fallen to get you started) when it comes to apocalypse disaster films, but even for the convoluted Terminator franchise universe, the plot gets further confused, until only mega fans are able to entangle it enough to make sense of everything that has happened till now.

Emilia Clarke is the one glimmering hope in the film, immensely entertaining as the spunky heroine of this apocalypse drama, reminding us of Lara Croft in places.

If Emilia Clarke can be a good Khaleesi, she can make a decent Sarah Connor, owning her shrapnel guns and using them with ease. She has a chemistry going with Schwarzenegger "Pops" Terminator, sent to her as a nine-year-old to protect her. Terminator: Genisys (that spelling is killing me) has Clarke going all giggly about her stony-faced dad (not much different from the cowboy prototype in a Western) who does not seem to reconcile with Kyle Reese, the man she is supposed to fall in love with and produce her future son, who will rescue mankind, something we already know from the previous Terminator films. This time over, however, the goal is to end the war before it begins — Reese and Connor time travel back and forth from the past to the future in their rush to achieve this.

Do I still recommend you watch this film? Only if you haven't grown weary of Schwarzenegger's repeated Terminator films, and the same story spun a hundred different ways. You could play SKYNET: Rampage instead with that time. 

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