Sunday 21 January 2018

7 reasons to watch Terminator Genisys - despite the negative reviews

Emilia Clarke in Terminator Genisys
Emilia Clarke in Terminator Genisys
Ed Power

Ed Power

Terminator Genisys is released this weekend and the reviews are…not great. Critics have dismissed the movie as a triumph of explosions and CGI over storytelling and responded coolly to a time-travel plot that ties itself in knots with, they claim, little dramatic pay-off.


Not that this will dissuade devotees of James Cameron's killer-robots-from-the-future franchise from flocking to cinemas. To whet the appetites of fanboys (and girls), we've decided to look on the bright-side and are focusing only on the positives of Genisys. Granted, the film isn't perfect – however, it is scrappy and fast-moving and its heart is assuredly in the right place.

1: There are no irritating characters

Genisys is the first Terminator since the 1984 original not to suffer from irritating actor syndrome. As a slappable pre-teen John Connor with boy band hair, Edward Furlong very nearly ruined T2:Judgement Day. Meanwhile, Claire Danes' disdain for the source material was writ large across her features throughout 2003's underrated Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. And Christian Bale's humour-bypass method acting was a deal breaker in Terminator Salvation – you ended up willing the machines to win simply to wipe the scowl from his face.


2: It Makes You Want to Watch the first Terminator Again

As it went along, the Terminator franchise lost sight of what made the original so special – its grungy mix of thriller pacing and lo-fi special effects. Genisys director Alan Taylor understands why the first movie worked – and goes back to the source with his sequel. The storyline explicitly references James Cameron's classic, its frenetic tempo echoing T1's energy and underdog attitude.


3: It Features Arnie’s Best Post-Governator Performance

DG terminator 2.jpg
Arnie in the new Terminator Genisys trailer

Since returning from politics, Arnold has not exactly enhanced his status as king of the action movie. His comeback films have been sluggish and under-whelming – nostalgia-binges that sought to coast on the reputation of their star. In Genisys Schwarzenegger assuredly has his mojo back. Playing a clapped out T-800 terminator, he puts in a performance laden with poignancy and dry humour.


4: And There's A Good Explanation For Why He’s Old

By the time of Rise Of The Machines, Schwarzenegger's age was an issue – how could he convincingly portray a gleaming destructo-droid from far future when his brows were more wrinkled than a crinkled crisp packet? Genisys plausibly explains his physical decline – because T-800s wear real human skin over their exoskeletons, they age just like regular people.


5: Emilia Clarke isn’t Terrible

Time warp: Emilia Clarke is Sarah Connor in the new 'Terminator'

Going into Genisys the Game of Thrones actress had two things working against her. First, Linda Hamilton was the definitive Sarah Connor in Terminators One and Two. Meanwhile, Clarke's Game of Thrones co-star Lena Headey was pretty great in the role in the criminally short-lived Sarah Connor Chronicles television series. Could the Mother of Dragons approximate the damaged sass her predecessors brought to the part? In the main, she doesn't try and instead concentrates on rocking a bad ass pony-tail and exchanging buddy-movie zingers with Arnold. Here's the surprise – mostly it works. Even her American accent hangs together.


6: The Music Is Great

Terminator wouldn't be Terminator without that relentless, clanging soundtrack – and Genisys deploys the original refrain with aplomb. Even when the storyline veers towards high concept ludicrousness, the audience is at all times aware it is watching a Terminator movie.


7: James Cameron Loves It

The director of the first two Terminators has made little secret of his dissatisfaction with movies three and four. He mostly adores Genisys – in an unsought endorsement, he came out swinging for the latest entry in the series, “If you like the Terminator films, you’re going to like this movie," he said – a simple, succinct thumbs up from someone who, when it comes to time travelling killer robots, knows of what they speak.

Terminator Genisys review - Arnie's back with a bang in winning sequel

Why Terminator: Genisys should be the end of the line for time travel  

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