Directed by: Alan Taylor Written by: Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier Based on Characters Created by: James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd Cinematography by: Kramer Morgenthau Music by: Lorne Balfe
Premise: Kyle Reese volunteers to go back in time to save John Connor's mother. She is being targeted by Skynet to stop John Connor from being born and leading the resistance after Judgement Day. Reese thinks he knows what he's walking into, but from the moment he appears in 1984, nothing goes as planned, and Sarah Connor might not actually need his help at all. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his role as model T-800. Arnold looks like he had a ton of fun doing it, too. Fun that translates rather well for the audience, thus increasing our enjoyment. Emilia Clarke was great as Sarah Connor - tough as nails and then some. (The fan geek in me thinks it is somewhat cool that she and Lena Headey are both in Game of Thrones - especially since Lena Headey has also played Sarah Connor!) Jason Clarke did some great bits as John Connor. Jai Courtney was fun to watch as Kyle, as the latter realizes everything he believes is not turning out to be quite like he expected. The fact he has to share Sarah with Pops doesn't go over well either. lol. J.K. Simmons added a nice bit of flavor as O'Brien as well as adding a layer to the time travel bits.
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Lots of cool tech both in the future and in 2017. We see Judgement Day happen at the opening recap. Skynet's takeover in those first moments and the view of San Francisco taking a hit looked fantastic. (Have you noticed how poor San Francisco has been the site for all sorts of disasters lately? Is San Francisco taking over the role of "Tokyo"? :P)
The terminator units look as good as ever and then some. Great seeing a bunch of them walking around at once. :) There's a new terminator type we're introduced to during the film, which is very cool. Heck, we even see the best way to actually get rid of a T-1000! All the hardware was fabulous.
Explosions, gun fire from a ton of different types of weapons, shotgun blasts, car chases, helicopter chases (that's new!), crashes, and more. The scene with the bus flipping makes total sense once put in context (seems the cause has actually made one do so in real life). And I have to say that when it is hanging on the edge, they took that old ploy in a somewhat different presentation and it worked great.
They also did a good job recreating several scenes from the original "Terminator" - though they didn't keep anyone with eighties hairstyles. Heh heh.
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: While the commercials gave some bits away, there are plenty of other fun surprises that weren't revealed in the previews. Yay!
They start us out with the story as we've always known it, then it takes a twist. (I cannot help myself here. I didn't realize/remember that Matt Smith was in this film. So when I saw him standing there right as they send Kyle Reese back in time all I could think of was "The Doctor has come to watch a major nexus in space/time!" Bwahahaha.)
The main thing most of the Terminator films have in common is playing with time travel. In several ways, what they're trying to do here mirrors plot lines somewhat explored in the "Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles" - artificial intelligence developing outside of Skynet and possibly emotions as well, the ties that bind family, fate, and more.
The only major plot issue I found had to do with the countdown to the release of Genisys (was so glad to find out it wasn't just a typo but a brand!). Normal marketing people would not put out a count down to a release for something that wasn't actually working yet. So that suffered a little, especially when they use it as a 'now running out of time' excuse but it won't intrude until way down the film - so try to ignore it.
Reese gets hit by a car (or it could have been Sarah - hard to tell) but neither seemed to suffer much from it. I'd expect that from a T-800 (and he does!), but not a human. The souped up CAT scan machine was also a surprise, but I could have missed something about that one during the insane chaos at the hospital.
There were a ton of small, funny moments throughout the film - most of them centering on Pops. They were a ton of fun! The silent amo loading testosterone filled throwdown was too funny! I also loved the subtle cues that Pops AI had been developing some skills of its own in the emotion department.
Lots of other subtle touches for Sarah and Reese with regards to combat. Her destruction of plans on her way out, Reese grabbing the bag of guns during the bus escape, little details the two kept track of and they were there if we looked. Nice.
(As an aside - I am betting the person responsible for the deleted files in Pops is Pops Mark II - you'll understand when you get there. Heh heh)
Make sure to sit through part of the credits!!!!
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Awesome T-800 and T-1000 FU! Need I say more? The whole hospital sequence is a total blast once things get going there. Lots of action, action, action!
5) Music - Total Thumbs Up: Lorne Balfe does a good job of inserting bits of the original Terminator theme and other bits (by Brad Fiedel) while also adding in his own background music. The music department also did a nice job of using music appropriate for the time periods of 1984 and 2017.
Conclusion: If you've enjoyed the other works in the "Terminator" franchise, you should love this new addition. Lots of great robot/android action! Make sure to stay for an extra scene during the credits. The cycle is always a changing, but it does not end. Heh heh
Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)