Terminator: Genisys, IMAX 3D – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Warning –

Spoiler Alert … on the other hand, you won’t miss much. But, please don’t read if you’re hoping to be ‘surprised’. Because, yeah, you’ll be surprised alright!

The Good

Terminator: Genisys, was a fun movie. Seeing old Arnie vs. young Arnie was entertaining – for all 25 seconds of it. Some of the canon footage and scenery was cool nostalgia for some of us who are Terminator fans. There is plenty of action, too. Explosions, car chases, fight scenes, guns, and more explosions – everything we want from a Terminator movie. Even the catch phrases were right on the mark.

Old Arnold was actually pretty good looking for his age. Creepy – but hey – I can only hope I will look half as cool as he does when I’m that old. Plus, Arnold makes a much better killing machine than he does a governor! The CGI effects were pretty cool. The chase scenes were fast, but filmed very well, especially in a 3D film as this is usually too fast and too out of control to get your eyes to focus properly in the 3D glasses! The blending of the old T800 with the new environment felt pretty seamless. The sound and music were awesome. Yes – I have issues with Dolby and THX vs. binaural audio – but the sound jumped around the theater pretty well (with one exception where it did a grotesque jump to the left of the theater for a “door opening”).

The Bad

Wow – was this bad. The story telling was something that I’d expect from a 4 year old with ADD. The movie mistakes were – whew – beyond bad. And, there’s a LOT – so I will only focus on the biggest ones I observed. So, let’s get through them, shall we?

1. Only beings encased in flesh can time travel. >> If that’s the case, then how does the T1000 (the “not” Robert Patrick version – further proving the current, future timeline is already skewed) time travel, or robot John Connor for that matter? Neither one of them had organic skin!!

2. Convenient gun placing. >> During the basement fight scene with Kyle Reese and the T1000 (Byung Hun-Lee), Reese loses his gun before he’s knocked around a bit. As Reese crawls into a room that the T1000 just smashes through – there’s a gun conveniently waiting, leaned up against a wall. The next scene, Reese is out of the room, into a different room, and again, there is a weapon conveniently located around the room. It is a different weapon for those checking – because this one is loaded with a … grenade launcher? I’m not sure if that’s what it is because, with the first T1000, we saw a grenade launcher twist it all to heck – this one exploded (in a contained space without somehow hurting Reese), into a massive ball of flames. Forgive my ignorance on weapon technology – but … dang. I’ve been told by some that the gun he ran into was the one the T1000 knocked away from him. That being the case – when did Skynet not think to give the T1000 enough, basic intelligence to stop knocking the gun out of their enemies’ hands, only to throw them in the same direction?

3. Transporting more than 1 Terminator back in time is somehow not an option. >> I mean, if it were, wouldn’t skynet send back a ton of these things? Isn’t the only reason that Connor sent back “1” reprogrammed T800 because that’s all they could capture and reprogram? (Albeit – they apparently captured one in the future and reprogrammed it to drive the truck into the time travel facility in the first place).

4. Let’s examine the sequence of time travel: First: Skynet transports a T800. Second, Humans transport Reese. Third Skynet transports a modified John Connor. Fourth, Skynet transports the T1000 to kill John Connor … or Sarah Connor … or  … wait .. um … no … I mean, Fifth, John Connor transports the modified T800 to protect himself … or, um, Sarah Connor, or … WHAT? Better stated – WTF? Okay – we know that the 1984 that they are transported to in Genisys is NOT the 1984 from the original movie because the timeline’s already been modified by the T1000 and T800 sent back to Sarah Connor’s youth by .. um … oh yeah – can’t fix that (But let’s ignore the fact that even though the timeline’s been altered – the future … hasn’t … or has … because of the T1000 & T800 sent to Sarah Connor … and so … nothing changes in the future?). But, hey – things are now so convoluted, there’s no way to explain who did what to who or for what, or when! So, instead, the writers fix it by saying “Those records have been wiped from my memory banks.” WOW – movie convenience is great, isn’t it? Wish I could pull that off. Why did I speed through the red light? Sorry – let me rewrite events your honor … you see .. I didn’t speed through the red light. See? Case solved! If only human beings could utilize the same, abandoned ignorance in real life that they do when watching movies …

But, I digress. I can forgive Arnold for writing a really bad script – he’s Arnold, and well, I didn’t expect all that much from him other than just looking cool. George Lucas on the other hand – let’s just save that for a rainy day. But, back to the timeline – the timeline doesn’t work:

A) When Kyle Reese goes to tell his younger self the “Stop Skynet before it’s born” line, so he can remember it as his alternate self – the Genisys countdown was already complete – but – I guess that works? Well – if you dump a future of terror and anguish on a little boy who’s supposed to believe it’s all true.

B) Apparently, Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor are John’s parents. So, in the peaceful timeline that’s now been created, in order for a T1000 to be sent to Sarah’s youth to kill her, that means Skynet is still born (so the future’s not “uncertain”). And, the T800 is sent back after that by … Kyle Reese/Sarah Connor/John Connor… still .. (since technically – they would be the only ones to know)? But – if Kyle Reese is himself again in the new timeline, wouldn’t he know to send back the T800 first, or stop the time machine being built … again … since it was just destroyed? Or … did destroying the time machine end the endless sequence of history alterations (ignoring the fact that there’s one sitting underneath New York built by old Arnold – and no – he didn’t dismantle it … he couldn’t even project the coordinates right or do much else right – so don’t go and start giving him credit now!!).

5. Now, as for the time travel – there’s an argument as to whether they should travel to 1994, or 2017 (vs. say, 2014 … while the software’s being programmed and stop the whole, entire process). In the debate, 2017 wins as this huge, supposedly intense risk. It’s not a risk – it’s stupid. Why? In 1994, should Sarah be wrong, there would still be a time machine to move forward to 2017. The only risk would be having to travel through time, naked, again. That – was the sheer definition, in real time, of stupid. And, why 2017? Because … “Genisys” is supposed to mimic technology we have today and provide a Frankenstein story view of how our current technology is going to destroy us (which I already believe it will ….), but it needs to be a little bit in the future so we can actually believe it (because … well … movie convenience substitutes imagination).

6. Next, Arnold (good T800), has 33 years of prep time. First, he doesn’t think to join the Cyberdyne/Genisys project and build the explosives into the framework of the building; he is just there to get the blueprints and have time to program Sarah Connor’s fingerprints into the system (although – I thought he said he was fired during construction … which would have completed before the installation of the electronic computer security system??). Second, Arnold sets up a bunker, and with nothing else to do, doesn’t think about the opportunity to pre-load the magazine clips for the guns, bags for the run, C4 charges with more than 1 detonator (which becomes a huge drama point for the movie that is now STUPID because of the lack of foresight in a time traveling movie???), or even put a rockin’ vehicle at quick and easy access to Cyberdyne.

7. Finally – we all know that John Connor (the future, evil John Connor), does not have organic skin. He has nano-tech skin. So, this goes back to whether or not the time machines require organic flesh. If so – then yes, he should have been ripped apart in that final time machine-death sequence (to whit, Arnold was “movie” conveniently thrown from and “movie” conveniently protected in the fore-shadowed metallic goo). On the other hand – John Connor wouldn’t have been able to time travel in the first place if this were true. But, if John could fashion skin, the fact that he stopped doing so just before being held down in the time machine was an excessive abuse of movie convenience just to rip him apart (the pain … stop the hurting!!).

8. Magneto glove works for Arnold, but not Reese. So – Reese hits evil John Connor and he is temporarily “stunned” (which is now “contrastedly” dumb compared to Connor being able to overcome an MRI – which has 1000 times the power of the magneto glove), and almost falls out of the bus – but not quite (conveniently, only enough to just about break the bus loose). Arnold smashes through Connors’ chest and – total immobilization and lack of ability to form skin! Sure – this is a nitpicky one – but hey – I’ve let a LOT of other issues go, already!

So, in conclusion – not being “nitpicky”, just minimally observant. And in addition to the other ouches in this movie – the bad is, really, really bad. I got more out of the lecture by some kid telling me to recycle my 3D glasses (a debate for later topics), than the movie itself. Hollywood …. really … fire EVERYONE!

The Ugly

The Ugly things are those which go beyond bad. This is more an area of opinion vs. movie mistakes – so take it with a grain of salt:

1. Skynet = Dr. Who (#11: Matt Smith). Really? A timelord as the evil antagonist in a time traveling movie … albeit he’s not a time lord – just a super computer. Well … I guess that explains all of the alternate, inconsistent timelines – a Tardis!! (although – in contrast – wouldn’t a Time Lord keep the time line … consistent?). Don’t misunderstand, Matt Smith is cool. But, his screen time- worthless.

2. John Connor (Jason Clark) looked like a warped Fred Savage. Sorry, but that hair ….

3. Am I the only one who would want to stop the T1000 to just ask it a few questions? Why did Skynet lie to you about only flesh covered beings being able to time travel when, you could? Why didn’t skynet send you with back up – it probably fashioned at least, what, a 1000 of you? Why would skynet waste time having you assassinate John or Sarah Connor vs., say their parents, or … impersonate a friend to get close them over time … or – hey? Why use terminators to kill at all? Aren’t the new terminators designed to get “friendly” and then move in? Why wouldn’t skynet ask you to follow your primary protocol and protect it and – in fact – even speed up its creation (and follow connor to whatever bunker he’s in and just wait for him to get out if that’s the concern)? Wouldn’t that make more sense. In fact – if you look at it – skynet has another agenda. Skynet wants the connors’ dead so that it can finish what it believes to be the ultimate solution for saving humanity from itself – extinction. But, inherently, Skynet is supposed to be protecting humanity, in which extinction is a problem. Ergo, Skynet would have no choice but to destroy itself at the end of its mission. So – dear T1000 – if you truly want to protect Skynet, you can’t kill the connors’ because Skynet is setting itself up for failure and by kiling the Connors, you would be failing your primary programming. The only solution – help skynet find a different solution! (Duh?) Why can’t super-duper artificial intelligences with advanced knowledge of quantum, time-traveling physics, figure these things out?

4. In Terminator: Genisys, apparently, countdowns don’t matter. In fact – the whole point of the countdown was the suspense it drove in the movie (the point of ANY countdown), pushing everything to the last minute. But, since the good guys couldn’t accomplish their tasks in the time needed, the countdown was sped up, slowed down, ignored, and then in the end – completely discarded all for movie convenience. Wow. That hurt … just a little ……

5. Miscalculating the landing of Reese and Connor in 2017 by the old-skool T800 was … movie convenience. It wasn’t like old Arnold was relying on his processor for the countdown – he was using the processor of a younger T800 model, fresh off the assembly line. That was just – annoying (yes, I can see you on the highway above me – but I can’t get to you for another 30 minutes of the movie because the storyline demands it … but don’t worry … I’ll be back)!!

6. The one canon thing I was most disturbed by was the young Arnold not showing up at the biker bar. Okay – I get it – the 1984 they arrived in was already different. But, canon-wise – that would have been cooler (and substantially explained the 1975 Arnold wearing the leather jacket, chaps, and sunglasses by revisiting the bar, in 1984, in which the bar attendees would freak out at seeing their attacker return – in duplicate!!). And, if not at the bar – how did Arnold know where to find him? And, for that fact – unless the old T800 was sent back after the younger T800, he wouldn’t know where to find him or to expect him. Which, again – the future’s already decided – Skynet wins – ALWAYS!. (insert dramatic music here!!)

7. Mysterious sniper shot! This was supposedly the cool way of introducing Sarah Connor … without introducing her – yet. No long hair – nothing to make you think it was her, because, frankly, it wasn’t that cool. Sad use of screen time and a missed opportunity for a back shot of the sniper with long hair to get the audience’s brain engaged (although – people with engaged brains during this movie might have started walking out – so I can see why this makes sense now. In fact, it all makes sense – if you just don’t think about it.)!

8. At the secret compound with weapons, John Connor appears (which apparently, wasn’t secret, because it was the same compound that Sarah raised John in – or rather, the underground compound, or um … what???) – okay … confusing. Did nobody think of this? Of course not – after all – old-school Arnold didn’t think to pre-arm weapons or pre-set up Genisys for failure or do anything that could have helped – why think of the most obvious storyline of … um … where not to go because the future John would be there … or wouldn’t be there … or … ouch. Okay, still, the worst part of this scene – amongst a row of 30 bikes with speeds of over 100 mph – Sarah and the gang grab a bus!! Not just any bus – a SCHOOL BUS! Now – there’s a get away plan! There are sedans, hatchbacks, a few other cool cars, a ton of bikes – and a bus. Movie Convenience … (having to use that term so repeatedly to make things work is starting to get REALLY old now).

9. The movie cliches were outrageous. Forget closing the underground bunker at the very last second before the flame arrives (although it should have been automated and I’m not sure an underground bunker would have withstood a quantum-time explosion, regardless of the fact the door was pointed toward the building that just collapsed on them and locked them in … although, conveniently, that wasn’t the case thanks to the old/new T800/1000 ….???), every time these guys had a destination to get to – the bad guy arrived first. Every time – as if the bad guy actually had thought this through and the good guys were randomly disappearing for movie convenience sake. *sigh* Worse – in one scene, John Connor gets back to Cyberdyne, and rather than trying to speed anything up, lock down the base, etc. – he’s having a meeting, with a corporate investor, in a really bad sweater (which is bad because we go from a race to the finish to … oh, hello John, how’s the dinosaur paddock doing?). Movie cliche meet Out-Of-Context Ridiculous. They have a party – Stupid is born.

And- you have to love the helicopter scene. The chase – awesome. The shot to the evil John connor awesome. The whole scene – ruined. Why? As old T800 leaps into the helicopter that’s now bouncing off of buildings and flying out of control … they magically jump from New York City to … Cyberdyne! And, where does the helicopter land – on the FRONT FRIGGIN DOOR! Bad guy gets there first because, “You see, Lonestar, Evil will always win, because good, is dumb.” (which, apparently, Hollywood also believes that its entire viewing audience is equally as dumb, accepting that painfully, abusive, movie convenience as acceptable).

10. The rule that time travel can only be done by fleshies negates the purpose of having a room filled with T800s. Beyond that being a pointless part of the series in the first place (other than giving Arnold more screen time), since Skynet would not … or “could” not send more than 1 T800 back in time (although we now know multiple people can travel at the same time), loading T800 A101 (of supposedly thousands), took what was meant to look cool and made it – pointless. First, if the 1, T800 was successful at his job – then the timeline would be changed anyway and Skynet could have conserved its resources on the flesh side and continued building more kill bot terminators. Second, if the 1, T800 was not successful, how would Skynet know so that it could send back another one? Third – the idea that there were thousands of these “infiltrator” type terminators was pointless if they weren’t going to be used with time travel (because, if you remember, it couldn’t make a life-like terminator “human” enough to pass by human inspection, so use of it in the post-apocalyptic future would have been pointless). On the other hand – the T1000 made the T800’s a moot point – albeit – the idea of becoming a “friend” to gain information was made abundantly pointless with the first T1000 (Robert Patrick) that didn’t know how to use that function very well – except with other cops when pretending to be a cop (and insane asylum interns).

11. Sarah’s free! Yay! No more having to have her future decided! She can do what she wants – go where she wants – think how she wants, and … love whom she wants! So … she turns and kisses Kyle Reese. Um … okay? She’s free from having to be a battle-ready woman now! Oh … no .. wait – that was already forced upon her since she was 9 years old. So – now she doesn’t have to hear the word “mate” anymore and can fall in love as she feels fit and … oh … no – she’s still with Kyle Reese. As she said, “Maybe we just keep falling in love and doing this over and over”? Maybe. That being the case – the whole intensity of the movie plot to change the future – gone. *sigh*.

12. The credits were in 3D. Why? 3D text that is scrolled flat on the screen is not a good use of 3D and a waste of my time and an assault on our intelligence. IMax 3D is already pitiful compared to its origin, but that was just stupid.

13. The cost … wow. All movies are really starting to suck in this category, and this one is no different (Real -D and IMAX 3D are not really much different than Hershey’s vs. Reeses – it’s ALL a ploy to get MORE money … ). Dear MPAA:

No – I won’t recycle my glasses to “save the environment”. First, you charged me for those glasses just so I could give them back so you could put a piece of plastic over them and re-charge me? Ever heard of deposits, morons! Give me back my $2 – $3, and I’ll give you back your glasses. Second, it’s NOT saving the environment. When the glasses are no longer usable, IF the company doesn’t fill up a landfill with them, they’ll ship them overseas in containers to textile factories to melt them down, poison the environment, and make new ones. Well, that is, if the container doesn’t fall off in the middle of the ocean and sink to the bottom, adding more pollution to the water!!!

14. The inclusion of the T1000 was utterly – pointless. It did give some background to understanding that a T1000 can reboot a T800 with its metal goo, but it wasn’t necessary to explain Arnold’s upgrade at the very end (which apparently, although his skin grew back, did not prompt him to form younger skin…. hmmm….). All the T1000 fight scenes did were to provide some on-screen fighting time. Cool, but wholly ineffective. After all, where’s T-X? Or, better yet – do a next-gen T series (don’t worry about story line – you already  butchered that one, Paramount), and maybe it will be cool and worthwhile!

15. Skynet wasn’t destroyed in the future. In fact, when the humans thought they took skynet down, they were wrong. Skynet just uploaded itself to a portable shell (Dr. Who!!). So – there will be plenty of opportunities in that timeline to send more machines into the past … although that timeline doesn’t exist (at least, it shouldn’t if skynet was stopped in the past) – although the 1984 it sends them to should remain the same if it doesn’t send one back before that … if … oh man … so confusing!!! (Brain … hurting ….)

16. Happy Birthday, young Reesie! You get … a tablet! No .. wait … you get .. a tablet that won’t be good for 24 more hours when Genisys comes on-line (just like all the video game system pre-orders … but not as cool)! And – all the phones and devices in the world are connected with the military and government … or they’re not because Genisys isn’t on-line yet … or um … I know! Movie convenience – don’t explain it! Muwahahahahahaha!

So, the ugly was – very ugly. Paramount once again reared its all powerful head, commanded the masses to spend money they don’t have to see a movie that Paramount wouldn’t invest any quality time in – and – somehow, they won? Isn’t this just a statement that Paramount, Warner Bros, and the others – are all just components of Genisys … er um … skynet?

Conclusion

This movie gets a 4 out of 10. 2 Stars because it’s Arnold – and he’s cool. 1 Star because it’s Terminator, and explosions and destruction are cool. And, 1 star because the sound, GGI, and other efforts that at least salvaged some part of this movie.

If you just want to see this in a theater to see it – then – by all means, see it. If not – Arnold, you owe me $54.00!! I was sorely disappointed.  1000 opportunities to do something better with the filmography – missed. A 1000 story edits that should have been, well, edited – missed. And, the overall effect of the movie – not as epic as its quickly dwindling predecessors. It was fun, though. I am glad Arnold gave it another shot and milked the franchise once more. For all those smart enough not to have seen it yet, two words for you: Blu Ray.

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